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Buckeye Native 001
Dec 20, 2008, 4:43 AM
My dad works for the city of Mesa and my mom works in Mesa and will be manning a booth, so needless to say I'll be hanging out around the Mesa end of the line (EVIT, I think?) and hopefully catch a ride from there to Christown and back.

Grand Funk Railroad will be doing a concert in Mesa to celebrate the event...Yay?

HooverDam
Dec 20, 2008, 5:02 AM
Also, I was thinking, perhaps we should preemptively coordinate all of our photos. Im sure we'll all be bringing cameras and snapping away, and making a zillion threads about it seems silly. Maybe the day of someone can make 1 thread for the big day and we can link to it and/or copy it in the main photo forum?

EDIT: A few more LRT articles from AZCentral:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/traffic/lightrail/articles/2008/12/19/20081219tr-railbiz1220.html

Tempe program steers light rail riders to local businesses
by Dianna M. Náñez - Dec. 19, 2008 09:29 AM
The Arizona Republic
During the past three years of Tempe's light-rail construction, David Johnson had one goal-make sure the family flower shop his grandmother founded 81 years ago survived the slowed sales that resulted from the construction blocking streets, re-routing traffic and spurring customers to avoid the area.

Next week's light-rail grand opening is a celebration for Watson's Flowers, located along the rail line that spans from Tempe on Apache Boulevard into Mesa. Johnson's Tempe family business weathered the estimated 20-percent loss in sales while the rail line was being built. He is now counting on the regional-transportation system's ability to drive new customers to the area.

To help promote business, Johnson is participating in the Tempe Rail Rewards program on Dec. 29 and 30. Tempe is marketing the program, which allows the public to download a Rail Rewards card. Once they have signatures or stamps from 10 businesses along the rail line, they are eligible to enter a drawing to win prizes.



Johnson said he appreciates the support Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix and Metro light rail offered businesses during construction.

Tempe, he said, provided free banners and "open-during-construction" signs. He was asked to participate in several light-rail marketing promotions, such as Rail Rewards.

Johnson said businesses that survived the construction had to outline creative business plans, tighten their budgets and count on plain luck.

Johnson inherited his shop in 1976 from his mother Eva Watson. She inherited it from her mother, Irene Watson, shortly after World War II. He said he had too much invested in Watson's to give up.

"I wasn't going down without a fight," he said. "My grandmother sold rose bushes for 25 cents to open this store. She would've come back to haunt me if I had."

Johnson now manages the store with his wife Pam and sons Nathan and Jacob. The family analyzed their business when light rail started. They found that a score of their longtime Tempe and west Mesa customers had moved to east Mesa and Gilbert. So the family took a three-year lease on a second store in Gilbert, hoping to maintain those customers during construction by providing a closer location and routing them away from the traffic nightmare.

"Between the Gilbert store and ours, we broke even. We made it," he said.

Ken Cook and Norton Goff co-own V.I.P. Auto Sales in Mesa, less than a mile from Watson's, on Main Street near Dobson Road. Had it not been for a loyal customer base, Cook said he would not have stayed afloat during the estimated 30 percent drop in sales his store saw during construction. He also doubled his advertising budget.

"I'm happy to see it finally done," he said. "It's great for Mesa and the Valley. I'm hopeful people riding it (light rail) will stop in."

V.I.P. is on the border of where Tempe light rail ends. Cook said he is happy to sign patrons' Rewards card.

Many businesses along the light rail line experienced declining sales once construction started.

Marcelita Salas said Texanos on Apache Boulevard near Rural Road, the Tempe family business of her mother and father, Eloisa and Joel Martinez, took nearly a 50 percent hit in sales after construction. She said the Rewards program is a good thing, but that it will take a lot more support from local customers and cities to help stores along light rail survive.

"I hope it works out. But with the economy, we're worried," she said.

Yucatecan Imports owner Clay Poulson said he also hopes his shop on Mill Avenue near light-rail's Third Street station will see more business.

"Our city's transportation is so behind. We should've had it 40 years ago," he said. "I think it will bring tourists from Phoenix onto Mill."

Mike Istanbul who owns Café Istanbul, a restaurant and market on Apache near Dorsey Lane, said the light-rail line reminds him of the trains near his home in Beirut, Lebanon. He said he is grateful to Tempe for marketing light-rail businesses.

"(The trains) remind me of my country," he said. "I love it. Five years we've been open, we've waited for this moment (light-rail opening). I'm excited."

To celebrate light rail's launch, on Dec. 27 Istanbul is hosting free appetizers outside his shop and on Dec. 29 from 5 a.m. to about 9 a.m. he is offering free coffee, baklava and pastries.

http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/lightrailblog/41721
How Long Will Opening Day Lines Be?

Metro held a media briefing this morning to discuss the grand opening of the light rail system one week from Saturday. But one of the biggest questions — how long you'll have to wait to ride the train on opening weekend — is stil a mystery.

Metro officials say there's no way to predict how long the waits will be, largely because they're not sure how many people are going to show up. The estimate is 75,000 to 100,000 people on Saturday, with about the same amount expected on Sunday. If it rains, Metro expects the numbers to fall sharply.

If it's sunny, though, it seems that some riders could be standing in line for hours. The longest waits are expecfted at the end-of-line stations — 19th Avenue and Montebello in Phoenix, and Sycamore and Main in Mesa. Other busy stations will include 3rd Street and Washington, where Phoenix is hosting its party; Veterans Way and College, where Tempe is hosting its party; and 44th Street and Washington, where Sky Harbor International Airport will celebrate the launch of its free airport connection shuttle. Other stations may have shorter waits.

All told, there are 12 parties along the line. Riders are expected to be found waiting at all 28 stations.

Metro will limit the number of people who can board each train so that the train can pick up passengers at each stop, said Hillary Foose, a Metro spokeswoman. She said the number of people allowed to board would vary by station.

Something else to keep in mind: Your train ride on opening day may be a one-way ticket. Riders will be forced to get off the train at the end of the line. Rather than wait in another line for a return trip, riders will probably want to take advantage of the free shuttle buses Metro is making available for the grand opening. They'll have local buses that mirror the light rail route, with stops at each station, as well as an express bus that will take you to the opposite end of the 20-mile route.

Trains start running at 10 a.m. on Dec. 27.

PHX NATIVE 929
Dec 20, 2008, 6:07 AM
From the East Valley Trib:

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/page/flash?h=580&w=800&file=light_rail/light_rail.swf

exit2lef
Dec 20, 2008, 1:20 PM
Sort of related...has anyone here ever been to Portland's? Im thinking of maybe having lunch there on Saturday since there is a stop right there. Is it any good? Anything recommended on the menu?

I like it, but I haven't been back recently enough to have specific recommendations. It's on my list of restaurants to blog about. Since you won't be driving there, enjoy some wine. They have a nice selection.

HX_Guy
Dec 20, 2008, 7:49 PM
We'll check it out...they have patio seating which will be awesome when the trains pass by. :D

On another subject, the chances look slim for the Civic Park art piece to be installed by next weekend, unless they get moving on it ASAP. It's a shame to not have that up, I think it would have really wowed people. I guess there is still hope, I can't imagine it taking more then 2 days or so to have it installed.

AZ KID
Dec 20, 2008, 8:28 PM
yeah i only wish.... the only recent permit for the park is...

Permit# OSE-08027654 Issue Date 12/17/08 Expires 12/17/10
Permit Description SOLAR PANELS ON THE ROOF
Project 07-4769 CIVIC SPACE PARK

Pretty cool though

Upward
Dec 21, 2008, 7:02 AM
I am in town for Christmas and will be riding the light rail on the 27th!

HooverDam
Dec 21, 2008, 10:03 AM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/12/21/20081221lrail-bigpicture1221.html

Transit's success hinges on access to trains, buses
2 comments by Glen Creno - Dec. 21, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
When light rail debuts Saturday, tens of thousands are expected to check out the sleek silver trains at a host of parties scattered about the Valley.

Many will experience their first ride on public transit. Others will discover a new way to get to a game or event downtown.

But light rail's long-term value doesn't rely on novelty appeal. Its success depends on persuading Valley residents to make a fundamental lifestyle change, convincing them they can move around the city without a car.

The trick is selling drivers on the idea that they can hop from bus to train to bus quickly across the city. To do that, planners say, light rail must mesh seamlessly with the bus system and commuter rail planned for the future. If not, commuters will still jump in the car and fight it out on the freeways.

Many of those expected to start taking light rail will be new to public transportation. Planners hope these new riders will like the train, stick with it and embrace the public bus system, too. Metro expects an estimated 25 percent increase in transit ridership by 2020.

Eric Anderson, transportation director for the Maricopa Association of Governments, believes Metro will give public transportation an image makeover. He said transit in the past 10 to 20 years has been regarded as a social service, a travel lifeline for low-income people who can't afford a car.

Now, he said, transit systems are targeting riders who have the choice whether to drive or ride.

"You have to use a market approach to transit service," he said. "You have to be more competitive in terms of service and frequency to provide better options than the private automobile."

Integration and expansion
There has been a big effort to integrate light rail into the region's public-transportation system. Some bus service was eliminated. Some routes were changed so buses stopped at, or near, the new train stations. And a new bus service, Valley Metrolink, will connect the Mesa end of the rail line to Superstition Springs Center.

The changes were designed to make it easier to move from bus to train, extending the reach of the light-rail service.

The $1.4 billion light-rail system, which now runs 20 miles from central Phoenix through Tempe to west Mesa, has an advantage over buses. Riding the train will mean avoiding most traffic jams and spending less time waiting at stations.

Light rail is expected to be more efficient than the main bus route it replaces, the Red Line. In October, the Red Line counted 11,000 boardings a day. Light rail is forecast to rack up an estimated 26,000 boardings a day initially and 50,000 a day by 2020.

Future expansions are expected to boost light rail's appeal. Preliminary construction work has started on the northwest extension, which lengthens the 19th Avenue section of the line.

Other extensions are being evaluated, but they won't necessarily become new rail lines. A key part of the evaluation is an analysis to determine whether rail or buses should serve the routes. Those extensions would run through south Tempe and east Mesa, west into Glendale and along Interstate 10, and to the Paradise Valley Mall area.

Planners say future rail extensions must be carefully examined to prove that their potential for attracting passengers is worth the investment.

"Each one of these projects can be significantly different in terms of its costs, in terms of its ridership attraction," said Wulf Grote, Metro's director of project development. "The density, the land use around the line, can really make a difference. . . . While you say light rail is a good answer in one corridor, it may not pan out in a different one because the demand isn't there."

The 20-mile line that opens Saturday was paid for with local, regional and federal money. Any expansions would tap the same sources.

Ultimately, planners hope that light rail will become part of a public-transportation network that seamlessly connects to other rail and bus services.

Metro is among several organizations planning a commuter-rail line from Wickenburg into downtown Phoenix.

"The really successful (commuter rail) systems," said Kevin Wallace, manager of the Maricopa Association of Government's transit program, "are the ones that have good connections with the rest of the transit system."

Growing popularity
Other cities' transit systems got a boost from light rail. They say commuters warm up to rail once they see it and ride it.

The Lynx light-rail line in Charlotte, N.C., averaged more than 16,000 daily trips during the week in its first year, almost twice the projection of 9,100.

The Charlotte Area Transit System, which runs the area's trains and buses, said high gas prices and the light-rail system, which opened near the end of last year, contribute to the growing popularity of the entire transit system.

In Houston, 41 percent of passengers on the city's transit system started using public transportation because of light rail, according to a 2007 passenger survey. Houston Metro said commuters who don't use transit are more willing to start if they can use a train. They see trains as a "premium-quality" method of travel.

The Hiawatha light-rail line that serves the Twin Cities area in Minnesota opened in 2004. It exceeded its 2020 projection of 25,000 average weekday ridership in the first year. For this year, the figure will be about 37,000, said Bob Gibbons, director of customer services for Metro Transit in Minnesota.

The Hiawatha connects downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and Mall of America. Gibbons said light rail has reduced traffic around the airport and has provided an impetus for people to use the train on weekends.

The transit agency is planning to add rapid-transit buses and commuter rail to its matrix of travel options. Its existing bus system already has changed from being a central hub with service extending outward to a cross-town system that relies on the light-rail line to distribute riders.

Gibbons said, "The day that it opened, other communities were saying, 'Where do we get ours?' "

Its so freakin' frustrating that everyone knows the most important thing with transit is easy access to stations that are near where people live and work, yet Metro is hell bent on running the majority of future extensions down freeways. Never mind that this kills all TOD opportunities, means people will only use it for about 4 hours of the day, and means a huge chunk of people will choose to just keep driving (because people don't want to take a bus down to the freeway, get off and transfer to LRT). I really hope the initially line spurs a lot of TOD and maybe 'they' will realize its important to keep the lines on city streets.

EDIT: A few more LRT articles:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/12/22/20081222lrail-hours1222.html
Bar crowd has tip for light rail: Later runs
by Megan Finnerty - Dec. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Unless happy hour is your idea of a late night, the trains of Metro light rail will not help you get home from the bars.

While many Valley residents approved light-rail plans assuming the trains would run after last call, restaurant, club and bar patrons will have to find alternate ways to get home safely.

The $1.4 billion, 20-mile light-rail line launches Saturday. Starting Monday, the last trains on most nights will leave their stations in Phoenix and Mesa at 11 p.m., finishing their journeys around 11:45 - long before last call at 2 a.m. Trains begin service again at 4:40 a.m.

The timing has some bar owners apoplectic.

"Absolutely ludicrous," said David Wimberley, owner of the George and Dragon English Restaurant and Pub along Central Avenue. "What's the point of having it?

"This is just going to hurt the economy," he said. "That's tax money the city is going to lose. We spend all these millions of dollars on this bloody light rail, but nobody can use the bloody thing!"

Though the forecasting models Metro used to create the schedule were developed six or seven years ago, they say the plans are the best they can do.

Hours were set to coordinate with bus schedules and peak ridership forecasts, according to Hillary Foose, spokeswoman for Metro light rail. Metro also set the schedule to allow at least three hours for maintenance.

Metro officials said hours of operation are similar to light-rail systems in other Western cities, such as Dallas. In Salt Lake City, on the other hand, it runs late on Friday and Saturday nights, past 1 a.m.

"We're the first to admit, this doesn't take into account the current marketplace, the current attitude about public transport, the current rising bus-ridership numbers, the fact that there's an ASU campus downtown," Foose said.

Schedules will be adjusted to accommodate special events. For example, trains throughout New Year's Eve will run until 3 a.m.

For many, a light-rail system that doesn't get people home after last call isn't what they thought they were paying for, particularly in a state with aggressive DUI laws.

Phoenix's Russ Perry, 25, is excited to take the train to his graphic-design business on Tempe's Mill Avenue but says he thinks light rail's hours are otherwise ridiculous.

"If the state really wants to fight drunk driving, then they should build that into the public transportation plan," he said. "They're shutting it at a time when most people are only getting to the bars. It's like building an eight-lane highway and only opening two lanes."

Tempe's Baron Gordon of the AlphaMonster art collective was disappointed because the crowds at his art/dance night at Bar Smith in downtown Phoenix just start to build after 11 p.m., which is considered normal for most clubs.

Foose says Metro is open to extending the hours on Fridays and Saturdays, depending on how many people ride the trains late at night. But as a system funded by tax dollars, trains will run when the most people will benefit, she said.

Metro light rail is working to accommodate more than 300 civic and sports events in Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe, and it will run trains later or more frequently. Also, Metro managers are coordinating with venues such as Chase Field, US Airways Center and Wells Fargo Arena to make sure trains run when the events begin and end.

Bill Smith owns two restaurants with nightlife crowds, as well as two popular lunchtime spots in downtown Phoenix. He says people must be able to get to and from downtown safely and easily.

The owner of Bar Smith and Stoudemire's says that at least through May, the trains should run until 3 a.m. He suggests seeking sponsorship to pay for keeping the trains running later.

"If we don't give that a try right off the bat, we're shooting ourselves in the foot to have the chance for a real downtown," he said.

Alex Cuozzo is general manager at Hanny's, an upscale restaurant and bar in downtown Phoenix. He said he was looking to light rail to help address the lack of nearby parking.

"Parking is actually a big obstacle downtown. Especially when there's an event, forget it," he said. "We lose business on those nights because people know there's going to be no place to park, so they don't bother."

Justin Contre, marketing manager for Macayo's Mexican Restaurants, says that the hours are fine for both of his locations that are adjacent to light rail.

"Light rail works out really well for us because it brings customers right to our door," he said, adding, "and while it may not help our late-night drinkers, we are anticipating increased traffic during our happy hour."

Ericka Espino, state executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said that her organization would like to see hours for light rail extended. Still, she understands that the train really is about commuting.

"It just solidifies the need for people to make a plan before they go out," she said. "People need to be responsible . . . for themselves."

It is certainly ridiculous that they haven't extended the hours for the weekends, maybe theyll change it down the line so to speak. I really hope they keep it open later for All Star weekend.

CEO prepares to launch light rail system:
Public-transit trains to debut amid high hopes for success
by Casey Newton - Dec. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

After more than 35 years in public transit, Rick Simonetta is preparing to tackle a job he has never done before: Manage the launch of a transit system he built from scratch.

As CEO of Metro light rail, Simonetta has overseen every aspect of the system's construction. On the eve of the light-rail opening, we asked him about the system.

Light rail is about to open in Phoenix. How are you feeling?

Well, we're very excited about finally finishing this project. I've been here five years now, and there hasn't been a day or a week that hasn't just been full of excitement. Sometimes, it's the kind of excitement that you don't really want.

When I first came on board, a number of people saw the date I had set for completion - Dec. 27, 2008 - and they said, no way in the world is it ever going to be done by then. But here we are, and we're feeling pretty good about it. There are details we're trying to get right.

Our goal is perfection. We'll probably fall a little short of that.

What are you doing in anticipation for the grand opening?

I'm the emcee for two events. So the consultants and our own PR consultants are working with me to make sure I can transition from my normal role into being an emcee who's entertaining. That's a big challenge for me. I've got to develop a personality.

So you're having people write jokes?

Well, we talked about whether we should write jokes. I didn't know any clean ones, so I couldn't contribute much.

In the summer, gasoline prices were so high that people assumed Metro ridership would be through the roof. Now that prices have fallen so far, do you expect lower ridership than 26,000 a day?

I look at what's happening to currently operating transit systems: Ridership has probably slipped a little from those high peaks last spring and summer. Vehicle miles traveled are still down from normal standards. Most of those riders are staying on public transportation.

How do the lower gasoline prices affect the use of light rail?

It's going to make it a little tougher to get brand-new riders. Hopefully, people are going to have a good experience on the opening weekend (Dec. 27-28), and the first time they give it a try, everyone will see what light rail has to offer.

I suspect we're going to beat the 26,000 number by the end of the year. And gasoline prices are not guaranteed to stay low. We could have swings of back up over $4 (a gallon), and who knows how quickly that could happen.

mgmAZCO
Dec 22, 2008, 4:35 PM
I'm glad this system is about to debut...but 11pm as the last train out? That's ridiculous if you ask me. I really hope they reconsider the hours on the weekends. Not just for 'the drunks' but for people who'd like to see a show, grab some drinks afterwards, and enjoy downtown.

HX_Guy
Dec 22, 2008, 4:44 PM
I think they are looking at it from a logic point of view when it comes to the hours.

Let's me honest...there are not a lot of people that live within walking distance of a light rail station. Most people will take a bus or drive to a park and ride station to take the light rail, do you agree? So then I'm guessing they figure if a) the buses are no longer running that late and b) you drove to a park/ride which means you can't drive home drunk...then how beneficial is it to have that late night service available?

It is a bit strange that during the weekend service starts at 5am vs 4:40am, yet it still ends at 11pm. Shouldn't it end at 11:20pm? I don't know, but the more I think about it, the more it does make sense to run it later on the weekend, even if it just comes once every 30 minutes.

mgmAZCO
Dec 22, 2008, 4:59 PM
Good point, most people don't live within walking distance of a station. However, I've been on the last train out of Union Station in Denver after the bars close. It's loaded with drunks, and sad to say, I'd rather have them driving a mile or two from the light rail stop than 10 or 15 miles from downtown to their house. It's almost the lesser of two evils.

Even if you have a designated driver, it's just nice not driving downtown and dealing with parking and the hassles. Later hours would benefit the business owners and would add to downtowns appeal. They should change the new slogan to "Destination Phoenix (Limited Hours)".

exit2lef
Dec 22, 2008, 5:38 PM
Thankfully, the limited hours of service can be changed if minds change and funds become available. To hear some of the knuckle-dragger commenters on AZ Central tell it, the limited hours are another reason why light rail is a bad idea entirely. In other words, they hate light rail but want to see it run longer hours. Impeccable logic.

HX_Guy
Dec 22, 2008, 6:14 PM
The people who reply on AZCenter are nuts. It must be the same people that search out these stories and no matter what it's about, they post something negative about it.

Pertaining to the light rail...they always rant that no one will use it, yet now they say the hours are not long enough. They should be happy about that since it would be a shame for the trains to just run empty and waste money, no?

mgmAZCO
Dec 22, 2008, 7:52 PM
Yeah, the comments on AZCentral are always negative. You would think I would just ignore them, but I'm always curious as to what people have to say. They just need to accept that it has been built, and it's going to be beneficial...no use fueling any more negativity.

These are probably the same people who voted down ValTrans twenty years ago. Imagine if that infrastrure had been put in place back then? I don't know if I like elevated trains all that much...but it certainly could have changed the face of transportation in the Valley for the better.

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 22, 2008, 8:07 PM
Its not just transit/lite rail. The posters on almost all AZ Central stories are batfuck insane.

Good for laughs, though.

HX_Guy
Dec 22, 2008, 9:40 PM
You know, I've been looking at the whole late night thing as a thing for drunk drivers only but the more I think about it, the more I see it wouldn't only benefit them.

Take this scenario for example...

My and the gf go to Hanny's one night. Usually street parking can't be found, so we park in the $10 lot behind Hanny's. Say neither of us gets drunk, but would still like to stay till 12:00am or 1:00am. I could see wanting to drive to the Central/Camelback park and ride, leaving the car there, and taking the train into downtown.
Not only would the cost be 1/2 (two 2 ways tickets = $5 vs $10 for parking behind Hanny's) but I like doing the "city thing" and riding the train.

I guess this scenario won't be able to play out with the hours they have set.

HooverDam
Dec 23, 2008, 12:58 AM
^Exactly! I dont drink and neither does my GF, but I still want it to run later for that exact reason. Plus I want to be able to ride from my place to say the art museum, then hop back on and ride to dinner somewhere, and then maybe hop back on and go to dessert somewhere else and then hop back on and ride all the way back to Tempe, but unless I start my night out at 4pm, I can't really do that.

I think asking Metro to extend the hours for 2 nights out of the week (Fri/Sat) really isn't too much to ask.

HX_Guy
Dec 23, 2008, 1:15 AM
They should cut Sunday thru Thursday hours back from 12am to 11pm and add those additional hours to Friday and Saturday. The schedule would look something like this...

Sunday: 5:00am - 11:00pm
Monday: 4:40am - 11:00pm
Tuesday: 4:40am - 11:00pm
Thursday: 4:40am - 11:00pm
Friday: 4:40am - 2:30am
Saturday: 5:00am - 2:30am

That was the total number of hours is operational stays the same, therefore the cost should stay the same and really during the week, how many people will be on after 11pm?

gymratmanaz
Dec 23, 2008, 1:30 AM
HX, send that to the powers that be. It makes too much sense!!!

PHX31
Dec 23, 2008, 1:48 AM
There's still absolutely no reason to begin service on Sat or Sun mornings anytime before 6... even 7 really. I'm sure there are some people that need to ride a bus or light rail that early on those days, but overall there are very few people. Just looking at the lack of vehicular traffic should be a tip off.

I'd do:

Sunday: 7:00am - 12:00pm
Monday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Tuesday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Thursday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Friday: 4:40am - 2:30am
Saturday: 7:00am - 2:30am

gymratmanaz
Dec 23, 2008, 2:35 AM
wonder if the talk about this among us and in the papers might be getting to the powers that be.....? Would they make a change?

HX_Guy
Dec 23, 2008, 2:42 AM
I wrote an email, doubt it will go anywhere as I imagine they have people at least this smart that they would figure out similar schedules with cutting hours here and adding them there.

llamaorama
Dec 23, 2008, 2:46 AM
Why not Night Owl buses? I think a quite a few cities run bus routes parallel to rail lines after they close for the night? I think that would be a better idea personally. When you think about it, if a train only has a few passengers on it, then its inefficient, both energy and cost wise.

As for the news site, it's not just a local phenomenon, for some reason newspaper web sites are always full of weirdos..

blm3034L!fe
Dec 23, 2008, 3:22 AM
PHX Guys I am freezing my gonads off up here, what has the average tempature been down there over the past month or two? Just curious. Thanks.

HooverDam
Dec 23, 2008, 3:53 AM
PHX Guys I am freezing my gonads off up here, what has the average tempature been down there over the past month or two? Just curious. Thanks.

Its been very cold here the last week or so, highs in the low 60s, lots of rain. Past month or two though, in the mid 70s.

EDIT: And to make sure this post has something to do with the thread topic, according to Weather.com there's a 0% chance of perception on Saturday! Though it will be colder than a witches titty by Phoenix standards, high of 56, low of 37.

AZ KID
Dec 23, 2008, 5:30 AM
That is cold but honestly the only thing i trust weather.com with is temperature. When it comes to chance of rain they really dont know what they are talking about.. just last week on wednesday they said there was 100 percent chance of rain in the afternoon and a 30 percent chance of rain in the mourning. Of course it rained the entire mourning and was practically sunny the entire afternoon. If they cant get 100 percent right what can they?

NorthScottsdale
Dec 23, 2008, 7:01 AM
i think the later hours would be beneficial to everyone. Also think of it this way, take a taxi to a train station and take the train downtown. Its a lot cheaper than taking a taxi all the way from tempe to downtown phoenix. That trip would cost you about 30 bucks. I've done it many times and thats about the norm, about 20 or 30 bucks. a two mile taxi ride to the nearest train station would be about 5 bucks..

P.S. if you want accurate weather go to www.wrh.noaa.gov/psr its the national weather service website. thats where i get my weather its the best source

HX_Guy
Dec 23, 2008, 8:26 AM
The trains seems to be running pretty regular service...I drove by 3 of them between McDowell and Bethany Home tonight. They also have the stations all ready to go with maps up and such.

PhxPavilion
Dec 23, 2008, 8:33 AM
It appears like they are slowly moving closer to the train every 10 minutes promise. Only four days to go.

HX_Guy
Dec 23, 2008, 8:37 AM
I fully expect the trains to be very prompt, no reason they can't be within 1-2 minutes on time. If I remember correctly, the scrollling prompts at each station are even supposed to display how long until the next train is due.

PHX31
Dec 23, 2008, 2:48 PM
one thing that is bothering me, and I don't know why... They constructed a new turn-out bus bay on eastbound Thomas Road about 200 feet from the intersection with Central. The old bus stop (which is one of the full-on benches/shade type) was about 50 feet from Central on Thomas Rd, but it didn't have a bus turn-out, so if the bus had to wait at the stop to load/unload (which happened a lot - it is the Green Line), cars in the far right lane would become backed up into Central, sometimes blocking traffic.

Problem is, they haven't moved the bus stop to the new location with the bus bay/turn out. They're still using the old one with the brand new bus bay just sitting there all nice and finished and unused. The new stop/turn out was constructed at least 1-2 months ago, I figured all they had to do was move the benches down the sidewalk 100 feet and be done with it. I can't imagine they won't do this before light rail opens, because there'd be nothing worse that a bus backing up traffic across the light rail line, making the entire train sit there and wait. I can't believe they forgot about this bus stop, maybe they'll be out there sometime this week checking everything over one last time (doubt it due to Xmas).

Anyway, I hope there aren't a ton of little things like this that they are forgetting... those METRO engineers need to be out there making a punchlist, or at least making sure everything on their punchlist was completed by the contractor.

blm3034L!fe
Dec 23, 2008, 6:06 PM
Its been very cold here the last week or so, highs in the low 60s, lots of rain. Past month or two though, in the mid 70s.

EDIT: And to make sure this post has something to do with the thread topic, according to Weather.com there's a 0% chance of perception on Saturday! Though it will be colder than a witches titty by Phoenix standards, high of 56, low of 37.

Yeah sorry I meant for my original question to be on PHX Development Thread, sorry guys.

And that 56/37 is cold for PHX DAYAM! Although our highs are in the mid to high 20's lately so avoid Colorado right now, it's cold-burr... Although the midwest and north are freakin BITTER COLD, so you guys still have it pretty good. Shit I need a winter home in PHX! :haha:

exit2lef
Dec 23, 2008, 8:14 PM
one thing that is bothering me, and I don't know why... They constructed a new turn-out bus bay on eastbound Thomas Road about 200 feet from the intersection with Central. The old bus stop (which is one of the full-on benches/shade type) was about 50 feet from Central on Thomas Rd, but it didn't have a bus turn-out, so if the bus had to wait at the stop to load/unload (which happened a lot - it is the Green Line), cars in the far right lane would become backed up into Central, sometimes blocking traffic.

Problem is, they haven't moved the bus stop to the new location with the bus bay/turn out. They're still using the old one with the brand new bus bay just sitting there all nice and finished and unused. The new stop/turn out was constructed at least 1-2 months ago, I figured all they had to do was move the benches down the sidewalk 100 feet and be done with it. I can't imagine they won't do this before light rail opens, because there'd be nothing worse that a bus backing up traffic across the light rail line, making the entire train sit there and wait. I can't believe they forgot about this bus stop, maybe they'll be out there sometime this week checking everything over one last time (doubt it due to Xmas).

Anyway, I hope there aren't a ton of little things like this that they are forgetting... those METRO engineers need to be out there making a punchlist, or at least making sure everything on their punchlist was completed by the contractor.

This morning I saw workers putting the finishing touches on the new transit center at 44th St. & Washington. I think there are a lot of little items that are being pursued in order to get everything in order for December 29 when bus schedules change to align with light rail.

glynnjamin
Dec 23, 2008, 11:20 PM
I'd do:

Sunday: 7:00am - 12:00pm
Monday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Tuesday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Thursday: 4:40am - 12:00pm
Friday: 4:40am - 2:30am
Saturday: 7:00am - 2:30am

Some of us would like to be able to go to church without driving...if the thing starts at 7am, it wouldn't be at my place till 740 and I would be late for church...oh well, I guess just won't go.

I'm not really sure why the rail needs to KEEP running between 12 and 2. Why can't there just be one run that starts at 2am on each end and ends at 3 on the other end. One swoop to pick up all of the drunks. It is just 2 trains, one run, on Fri night (Sat. morning) and Saturday night (sunday morning). The train can just swoop in and pick everyone up after the bars close. I'd sacrifice an hour on Sat. and Sun. morning (rail could start at 7) to have an extra run at night. Business owners would be happy because people would be stuck till closing time. :-)

PhxPavilion
Dec 24, 2008, 9:15 AM
At the very least they should run until 1 or 2 am on Friday and Saturday.

glynnjamin
Dec 24, 2008, 7:42 PM
Went to Target today at Christown...

The workers were doing all sorts of stuff to the transit center, getting it ready for the 27th. I can't wait!

Also, idk if anyone else saw this, but there was an article on AZCentral's mobile site about Todd McFarlane selling special limited edition light rail shirts at a couple stops along the LRT on Saturday. They are $20 and can be found at the United Way tents...the only two stops I remember it saying was the 19th ave/Montebello stop and the 3rd and Jefferson stop. Anyways, McFarlane does some pretty cool stuff so I'm gonna go check it out. Plus, the money goes to the United Way!

HooverDam
Dec 24, 2008, 9:03 PM
The workers were doing all sorts of stuff to the transit center, getting it ready for the 27th. I can't wait!


Theres a transit center at 19th/Montebello? Or do you just mean like the Park and Ride?

EDIT: I guess Im not sure which thing youre referring to, I havent looked closely around that areas LRT station in a while. In my mind I guess I think of a transit center as something like Tempes transit center (http://www.tempe.gov/greenprograms/transitcenter.htm) which is an indoor area where you can buy tickets, store a bike, potentially has retail and has office space for transit related agencies.

Im assuming 19th/Ave and Montebello just has like the Sycamore/Main St stop has which is a big parking lot, with an outdoor plaza type thing with a bunch more of the shade sails where you can wait in the shade for a bus. Is that what you are referring to?

glynnjamin
Dec 25, 2008, 8:48 AM
Theres a transit center at 19th/Montebello? Or do you just mean like the Park and Ride?

Are they not calling that a transit center? I thought that was the new buzz word for places where you transferred from bus to LRT...

exit2lef
Dec 25, 2008, 2:22 PM
Are they not calling that a transit center? I thought that was the new buzz word for places where you transferred from bus to LRT...

Transit center is the correct term. Tempe's new facility is exceptional in its use of indoor spaces, but most transit centers -- both existing (MetroCenter, PV Mall, etc.) and new (Central / Camelback, 44th St. / Washington, etc.) -- are completely outdoors.

http://www.valleymetro.org/bus/transit_centers/

HooverDam
Dec 25, 2008, 3:15 PM
Im sitting here trying to sleep on my mothers couch at her house waiting for everyone to wake up and partake in Santas bounty, and found this interesting (but nothing really new) piece on the LRT on AZCentral:


http://www.azcentral.com/news/traffic/lightrail/articles/2008/12/25/20081225lrail-designer1225.html
Light rail provided unique challenges for lead designer
Hot summer climate stoked innovations in trains, colors to reflect sunlight, dry heat
Dec. 25, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
John Swanson, vehicle program manager for Metro light rail, oversaw the design of the light-rail train. Before coming to Phoenix, he developed light-rail vehicles in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. He spoke with Ron Sanzone of The Republic about his first North American design. He talked about how the cars were designed to handle the Valley's extreme heat and the unique challenges of designing trains in America.

Q: What effect did the Valley's climate have on the train's design?

A: Phoenix's climate is like nowhere else light rail is running. If there was nothing else people had to be, it was cool. While a lot of other vehicles put 13 or 14 tons of air conditioning in a car, we put 25. . . . We also have tinted glass, reflective film in the windows, and insulation in the car. There are a lot of steps taken to keep it as cool as possible. The light color schemes, the light reflective paint - so we get a lot of heat reflected.

We actually had a full-climate chamber test done in Japan. Normally, this is done in extreme cold conditions, but in our case it's the opposite. We had to bring the vehicle into the climate chamber test where the temperatures could reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Some things were difficult to do because electronic components don't like it above 120 degrees.

Q: What was most challenging about designing the train?

A: There was a lot of education. When you sit down with a client and people who have been doing this in the industry a long time, a lot of people are bringing the baggage of what they've done before with them. . . . In North America, design has not exactly been what you'd call state of the art or progressive. It has always been 10 years behind what Europe has been doing. North American design is real conservative and often based on traditional heavy-rail experience. People bring to the table what they've seen in the past, so they're starting with a system that they commissioned 10 years ago which was already 10 years out of date.

I spent an awful lot of time showing them what's possible and convincing them that it's practical. To my great astonishment, I actually managed to get almost everything I wanted to get done. I'm quite optimistic that we'll be setting a new standard for North American light-rail vehicles. It certainly incorporates a lot of things that nobody else is doing.

SethAZ
Dec 26, 2008, 8:13 PM
I got to ride the light rail this morning! A friend had tickets to a pre-grand opening event and couldn't go so he gave them to me. Everyone met at the new transit center in Tempe, they had coffee and donuts and then we got to ride to Central and Filmore and back. It was awesome and I can't wait for tomorrow! (I never realized how ugly Jefferson St is. I hope the light rail helps change that)

HX_Guy
Dec 26, 2008, 8:53 PM
Haha, that's funny about Jefferson St. :D

You know, it's going to be interesting...this whole light rail opening. For one, there will be literally tens of thousands of people who haven't been downtown in years let alone along Jefferson and Washington streets going east. It'll be great if light rail can revitalize some of these streets as they are built on the old style with smaller blocks and less setbacks, could make for good pedestrian oriented areas.

Cirrus
Dec 26, 2008, 9:04 PM
Hey guys, I assume some of you are going to be off taking pictures of the opening?

If so, is there anyone out there who'd let me use your photos on my website, BeyondDC (http://beyonddc.com)? Just 2 or 3 showing the new service operating. I'm planning a short blog post about the new line opening.

Drop me a PM if you have anything I can use.

soleri
Dec 26, 2008, 9:34 PM
Here's Jon Talton's take:

Phoenix's light-rail hope

I shed much blood professionally for the Valley Metro light-rail system, as the only columnist, or even journalist, to consistently stand up against the lies, myths and misconceptions that might well have killed this essential project if Phoenix is to have a future. This, as much as my outing of the Real Estate Industrial Complex, led to my demise at the Arizona Republic.

The opposition was powerful, ranging from suburban developers to right-wing thugs who didn't even live in the city. Some opponents were merely ignorant. Others were happy to see the central city die. They failed. So forgive me, as Metro prepares to open, for a moment of crowing.

We built it, you bastards.

Phoenix is largely populated by people from Midwestern suburbs and small towns, or long-time residents who have never even ridden a city bus. In other words, people who don't get out much in the world. So it wasn't surprising that, to them, light rail was an exotic, wild conception. They couldn't imagine anything other than Phoenix's 1965-era transportation system: endless single-occupancy driving. Others had a clear agenda. The local crackpot "think tank" carried out the odd "conservative" fetish against mass transit (an exception to this was the late Paul Weyrich). The Real Estate Industrial Complex was too locked in the suburban past to see profits from an urban renaissance. The anti-tax thugs saw the "trolley" as an effective rallying point.

Behind their rhetoric was a fundamental fear and hatred of the commons, of community, of civic hope. And they were the same ones who always accused me of being "negative."

In reality, of course, modern light rail have been very successful around the world, and even in the United States. Even in "road warrior" regions such as Dallas and Salt Lake City, light rail has proven highly popular. It is an essential part of a 21st century transportation system. In Phoenix it was admittedly flawed -- should have gone to Sky Harbor; should have run parallel to the Union Pacific tracks from downtown to Tempe, etc. But political compromise was essential to getting federal funding.

One of the canards against the Phoenix system was "no one will ride it." In fact, the red-line bus route it follows was way over capacity. When I took that bus to work, I always had to stand. So people will ride it. For Phoenix, the question is whether anyone other than poor people will ride it.

The answer is a qualified yes. The line will be an essential link between ASU campuses in Tempe and downtown Phoenix. It will be critical for the biomedical campus -- if Phoenix doesn't let that fail. It will help convention-goers, even if they have to take shuttles from the airport to the light-rail station.

But Metro is backfilling against decades of civic malpractice, from the virulent anti-transit stance of Phoenix leaders in the 1960s to the hollowing out of the central city as a result of sprawl. Better-off residents, retail and jobs fled to the suburbs. As other cities -- which have plenty of suburbs -- saw their central cores come back starting in the 1980s, Phoenix continued its downward spiral. Outside of the original historic districts, it failed to see the reinvestment that lifted those other cities.

At first, I was surprised to see how little real private investment resulted from the promise of light rail. This was directly the opposite of what I had seen in Denver and Charlotte. As time went by, I learned just how badly wounded Phoenix is. It lacks a real economy, of which real estate is a consequence. Instead, real estate is the economy. Indeed, the footprint of linear slums has actually increased during the building of light-rail, which is unprecedented in my experience. Chiefly to blame for this is the limited, low-wage economy, as well as what few economic assets Phoenix possesses being flung out to the farthest reaches of the region like the marbles of a tantrum child.

Together with bad city policies that allowed for land-banking and tear downs, this resulted in a bunch of speculative promises along Central that have now all turned to ashes. This means light-rail won't open in a live-work-shop-play city environment. (I also worry about the lack of shade at stations). So for now, anyway, Metro will succeed as a transportation system -- despite the usual SUV morons hitting trains -- but will have failed as a spur for real private investment or to attract more affluent, urban residents.

Still, light-rail offers a chance. The old suburban sprawl economy is not coming back. With a little luck and wise policy -- admittedly a big wish from this city government -- Phoenix can build a central city for the future. At the least, light rail is recompense for the parts of the city that were abandoned to rot as freeways were built out into the desert to make otherwise worthless land highly profitable for subdivisions. The freeway system represented vast private gains subsidized by the taxpayers, Their cost, in lost desert and farmland, in the frightening heat island, in deadly smog emissions, in water-sucking sprawl, in making the region more vulnerable to higher energy prices, in the global warming piper to be paid -- that tab is only beginning to come due. Light rail offers a way out.

But only one. Phoenix also needs commuter rail -- also a given for large cities. As with light rail, Phoenix is way behind on this one. A metro area of 4 million should have a much larger, multi-modal transportation system. What's depressing is that the Kookocracy will now stymie it, as well as carry out trench warfare to stop extensions of light rail -- and look for ways to defund the line opening tomorrow. Their nihilism is stunning. So, too, is their power -- not because it is so strong, for they are a minority, but that the majority of Arizonans let them get away with it.

That didn't happen this time, for once, in the light-rail battle. We built it, you city-killing bastards. Now slide shut your gates in Gilbert and north Scottsdale while the rest of us celebrate.

HooverDam
Dec 26, 2008, 10:07 PM
My reaction to that prick (note: if you dislike swearing, skip this post)


I shed much blood professionally for the Valley Metro light-rail system, as the only columnist, or even journalist, to consistently stand up against the lies, myths and misconceptions that might well have killed this essential project if Phoenix is to have a future. This, as much as my outing of the Real Estate Industrial Complex, led to my demise at the Arizona Republic.


Oh cry me a river you martyr.


In other words, people who don't get out much in the world.

Seriously, go to hell. You are one of the biggest tools I've ever read. You rely soley on stereotypes and left wing bias to form your worldview. You constantly bash other fine folks and are the worst example of faux liberal intellectualism.


And they were the same ones who always accused me of being "negative."


Yes, put the word in quotes and try to dissolve yourself of it. It can't possibly be that everyone in this city knew you were an insufferable cunt and every article you wrote was a stream of self loathing and hatred toward Phoenix.


In Phoenix it was admittedly flawed -- should have gone to Sky Harbor


Actually thats a terrible idea you buffoon. This isn't Denver or St Louis where theres an airport on the fringe. Our airport is smack dab in the center of the city, and if Im riding from Tempe to downtown, I dont want to have my ride slowed by 20 minutes just to have people getting off and on the train. The APM was a thoughtful solution.


With a little luck and wise policy -- admittedly a big wish from this city government -- Phoenix can build a central city for the future.


Really, you're going to knock Phil Gordon? A guy who's done a thousand more for Downtown Phoenix than you'd accomplish in 20 of your lifetimes.

I don't wish death on anyone, but I do wish that John Talton just didn't exist anymore. While his goals and intentions are often good, his way of going about it is the least possible constructive thing there could be.

Its not a great idea to tell people in the suburbs that they're stupid, evil and ignorant, because guess what- they're not! They just have different priorities than city dwellers, and thats fine, a constructive person who really loved Central Phoenix would try to find a polite and peaceful way to deal with those folks. All this week at family gatherings I talked to my entirely suburban family about the LRT and convinced quite a few of them to ride the train this weekend and re-look at downtown and give it a chance. I didn't do it by calling them nihilists or ignorant between bites of ham, I respected them and treated them like the adults they are.

Anyway, Im super pumped for tomorrow though Im bummed its going to be kind of chilly. Have we decided how to organize our picture posting, Combusean?

SethAZ
Dec 26, 2008, 10:08 PM
HX_Guy wrote:

Haha, that's funny about Jefferson St.

You know, it's going to be interesting...this whole light rail opening. For one, there will be literally tens of thousands of people who haven't been downtown in years let alone along Jefferson and Washington streets going east. It'll be great if light rail can revitalize some of these streets as they are built on the old style with smaller blocks and less setbacks, could make for good pedestrian oriented areas.


I hope so. The "opportunity corridor" is an apt title because that area could be SO COOL. I think we all have the same general vision of what could be developed and I really hope it is sooner than later.

There was a pretty nice article in the East Valley Tribune today too. I have to stop reading the comments though. Honestly, who are those people?!

soleri
Dec 26, 2008, 10:40 PM
I don't wish death on anyone, but I do wish that John Talton just didn't exist anymore. While his goals and intentions are often good, his way of going about it is the least possible constructive thing there could be.

Its not a great idea to tell people in the suburbs that they're stupid, evil and ignorant, because guess what- they're not! They just have different priorities than city dwellers, and thats fine, a constructive person who really loved Central Phoenix would try to find a polite and peaceful way to deal with those folks. All this week at family gatherings I talked to my entirely suburban family about the LRT and convinced quite a few of them to ride the train this weekend and re-look at downtown and give it a chance. I didn't do it by calling them nihilists or ignorant between bites of ham, I respected them and treated them like the adults they are.



Interesting juxtaposition there. You don't wish death on anyone. Except Jon Talton, the only writer at the Republic who actually cared and wrote about downtown.

If ideas different from your own upset you that much, maybe you should re-examine some of your key political ideas. Libertarianism that would kill out of ideological fervor is probably better described as fascism.

HX_Guy
Dec 26, 2008, 11:05 PM
They need to get the stop light syncing fixes asap...it's going to make a bad impression on people if the light rail trains stop at a bunch of stop lights just as buses do.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/traffic/lightrail/articles/2008/12/26/20081226phx-cityhall1227.html

"The trains may appear flawless to the thousands of people expected to step on board Saturday for the debut of the 20-mile, $1.4 billion transit system. But behind the scenes, Metro is still working out a few kinks.

Metal sensors under the tracks sometimes detect a train minutes after one has pulled out of the station. That can throw off the synchronized traffic lights, leaving vehicles stuck at intersections. In other cases, sensors are failing to recognize an approaching train, causing the operator to brake or stop completely at intersections instead of cruising through unimpeded.


The automated loudspeaker system on each train occasionally rattles off the name of the wrong stop. "

HooverDam
Dec 26, 2008, 11:16 PM
Interesting juxtaposition there. You don't wish death on anyone. Except Jon Talton, the only writer at the Republic who actually cared and wrote about downtown.
.

Congrats on your literacy, I said quite clearly that I DONT wish death upon Talton, I just wish he wasn't around. Meaning, I wish he didnt publish.


If ideas different from your own upset you that much, maybe you should re-examine some of your key political ideas. Libertarianism that would kill out of ideological fervor is probably better described as fascism.

Again, I didnt say or even imply Id kill anyone, in fact, the sentence I typed was a reference to the popular show "Family Guy". But hey, you've continually taken my posts out of context and ignored the clear, actual meaning, so I dont expect that to change now.

PHX31
Dec 26, 2008, 11:36 PM
Very good points about Talton, Hoover. You pretty much summed up everything I thought of when I read his blurb.

When I read "In other words, people who don't get out much in the world." all I could do was roll my eyes and groan.

He was a "champion" of many of the things a lot of us on this forum stand for and hope Phoenix can become - that's dandy. But he's a douche and the things he says (or way he writes) should only be reserved for his dear diary entries. Eh, I'm not even going to waste my time, I wish he'd just go away (again).

PHX31
Dec 26, 2008, 11:40 PM
What kind of organization of picture taking are you talking about (hoover and combusean)? Obviously we're not doing a forum meet at something that will probably be as crazy as this, but I assume a bunch of us will be there with our cameras.

HooverDam
Dec 26, 2008, 11:54 PM
What kind of organization of picture taking are you talking about (hoover and combusean)? Obviously we're not doing a forum meet at something that will probably be as crazy as this, but I assume a bunch of us will be there with our cameras.

I just figure we'll all be taking pictures and I dont want us each to post an individual thread for our photos. We had discussed at one point starting a special photos thread, but that was shot down. But maybe we can have that just for this event? I guess I figure whoever the first person to get home and upload pictures should start a thread over in the City Photos subforum and post a link in the MW area, and we can all just add our pictures to that....I think that seems simplest anyhow.

PHX NATIVE 929
Dec 27, 2008, 12:15 AM
Hoover,

You nailed it on, Talton.

The word "blowhard" might as well have been created for this clown. It was not his public support for light-rail that "led to his demise" at the Republic. Rather, I think he was canned because folks caught on to the fact that he was a BUSINESS columnist with ZERO REAL-WORLD BUSINESS EXPERIENCE. If my memory serves me correctly, he had abeen an ambulance driver before getting paid to tell people how they should run their business. That'd be absurd enough if he was respectful, but since he continuously derided anyone and everyone he became mind-numbingly aggravating.

I'm a Right-Winger. No doubt about it. But guess what? I fervently support light-rail. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of other Republicans that also support expanding Phoenix's mass transportation options. I'm not sure what Talton thinks he's accomplishing by name-calling others "Bastards" or "SUV Morons".

Here's another of his gems that really touches the heart:

"Right-wing... ignorant... thugs... are happy to see the central city die... with... hatred... of community, of civic hope".

YES!!! At my dinner parties, my guests and I frequently plot ways to kill central Phoenix. After all, we hate civic hope!!! Actually, no. My family grew up on Pierson Street, just off of Central Avenue. I've LONG hoped for the revitalization of the core of our city. I LOVE Phoenix. I want to see Phoenix become viewed globally as a world-class city before I die. I now choose to reside in north Scottsdale. Apparently to Talton, this makes me a despicable human being. Talton forbid I enjoy the ammenities of my neighborhood or my views of the McDowell Mountains! And to those that live in Gilbert, how dare you!!! I don't care about your myriad reasons for choosing to live there, just DON'T!!!

Insufferable. Insufferable, indeed.

Very much looking forward to checking out the photos to be posted tomorrow. Thank you in advance to all. And a belated Merry Christmas.

HX_Guy
Dec 27, 2008, 12:33 AM
There's already some pictures up from the rehearsal test run today...looking good. :)

http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/view/229020.jpg

http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/view/229024.jpg

http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/view/229026.jpg

http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/view/229025.jpg

http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/view/229028.jpg

plinko
Dec 27, 2008, 12:57 AM
I completely forgot about this! I'm going to ride it next week while in town. Awesome...

SethAZ
Dec 27, 2008, 2:50 AM
That top pic is the car i was riding in! I was sitting behind those guys standing up, you can barely see me on the right! :)

mgmAZCO
Dec 27, 2008, 3:24 AM
Glad to see the trains crowded already, and that people are excited about the light rail! Can't wait to ride it when I'm down there next month for the half marathon. I've been waiting so long for the Valley to get something like this!!!

exit2lef
Dec 27, 2008, 4:19 AM
Except Jon Talton, the only writer at the Republic who actually cared and wrote about downtown.


He had (and still has on his obnoxious blog) a funny way of showing how much he cares. It's interesting; I agree with Talton on 95% of all issues -- both local and national, but I still despise his writing. His toxic negativity and incessant smugness are ultimately demotivating. I can't think of anyone I know who has been nudged toward positive action by his hackneyed diatribes. Instead, any reader who didn't know better would believe that the only viable options for Phoenicians are suicide or relocation. He had the nerve a few months back to publish a blog post offering "solutions" to Phoenicians, but then wrecked the entire post with a statement that he didn't think any of them would come to pass. Rogue Columnist is not changing any minds in Phoenix; instead, it has become an echo chamber for a clique of naysayers. I tuned out a few months ago and feel much better for it.

Azndragon837
Dec 27, 2008, 5:03 AM
Yay! I can't believe the train is coming tomorrow!!! I will be at the Christown Station bright and early at 10am. See ya there!!!

Who is going to start a thread for photos? I say we should also post a link in the "Transportation" forum as well.

-Andrew

PhxPavilion
Dec 27, 2008, 7:00 AM
Wail on him all you like, Talton is spot on and I for one like the fact that he is not politically correct in this overtly correct panty waist of a country (granted he is a bit arrogant). Things will never change as long as you hide your head in the sand and fail to recognise why.

Rather than take what he says as a personal insult (Native 929), realize that he is talking generally. The ever increasing outer suburbs is the major cause of downtown's death and there are people who would like to see downtown remain that way.

PHX31
Dec 27, 2008, 8:02 AM
We should start a new thread in the Transportation subforum (whoever is the first to post pictures). Then we can all post our opening day pictures there. We can also create a thread here in the MW with a link to the transportation subforum... that's probably the cleanest/best/easiest way.

glynnjamin
Dec 27, 2008, 4:04 PM
Just a comment before I head out to the Phx LRT party...

The Talton blog is spot on in every way. There is an ideological flaw with people who feel they need 4000sqft on an acre of land filled with oversized southwestern furniture. They are consumptionists...looking to gobble up as much as they can. They want more land, more gas, more STUFF and only see that as affecting them...no one else. These are the people who have continued the sprawl in the valley and are the people to blame. You can point fingers at the Real Estate Industrial Complex all you want, but in the end, people have to buy these houses. This market crash has finally displayed the errors of this system.

Talton is mistaken when it comes to taking the light rail to the airport and down the UP tracks, but his views of those in the valley who wall themselves off to the "urban" life is spot on. He is not directing it at people who may live in Glendale but come downtown and enjoy the urban lifestyle...he is directing it at the LDS populace of Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria, etc who think every person who is not white is a criminal, every person who is not LDS is not moral, and every person who lives downtown is poor. If you question the existance of these people, just pull up an AZ Central comments page. They are out there and they need to be dealt with harshly because they are not people who can be reasoned with.

My in-laws, Gilbert residents, have come down to visit us multiple times. No matter how often we bring them something from a downtown boutique, take them to a hip restaurant, or display how easy life is without having to drive everywhere...they STILL won't let their 17 year old son drive or (even worse!) ride the LRT down here without them. They are afraid. They are afraid of gays, of blacks, of mexicans, of community. They need gates, brick walls, 6-lane streets, and 12-lane freeways to keep the bad people away. These people exist and they are the ones being attacked by Talton.

In other news...can't wait...one more hour!

HX_Guy
Dec 27, 2008, 4:11 PM
Yes...in other words...T-minus 49 minutes! :D

combusean
Dec 27, 2008, 4:44 PM
Adding to the geekery is that the next post is #1337. I can hear the choppers flying about. Probably leaving soon... anyone that cares to meet up give me a ring: 480.343.3200

HX_Guy
Dec 27, 2008, 5:00 PM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/12/27/20081227lightrail_mog.html

Check it out! Live video on the trains! I caught the very moment when the doors open and they said "trains are now boarding" The whole crown went "yaaay" :D

HX_Guy
Dec 27, 2008, 5:04 PM
I see they are having problems still, they are fucking up the station names. The train arrived at Central/Roosevelt and it announced that it was Central/McDowell.

HX_Guy
Dec 27, 2008, 5:22 PM
Hahaha...that's freaking awesome! While it was gliding along, a message went "Boop...thank you for riding Metro" :D

The station names also seem to be working correctly now.

frinkprof
Dec 27, 2008, 5:50 PM
Congratulations Phoenix from a Calgary forumer. Hopefully ridership is strong and the system is expanded.

Good luck with light rail, Phoenix.

Don B.
Dec 27, 2008, 6:50 PM
I'll be staying home today. I might ride the train tomorrow since I've got to go into the city anyway, but otherwise, I'm feeling particularly cranky and anti-social. It's also rather nippy and I wasn't interested in fighting hordes of people to take photos that 47 other forumers will have by this afternoon.

Instead, I'll be playing Command & Conquer - Red Alert 3. Time to release the bombs! :D

--don

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 27, 2008, 11:41 PM
So I went with my brother to the Mesa end of the line out by EVIT around 1pm. The line to ride the light rail at that point was about 3 hours. We pretty much said "fuck it" and went to the ironically-placed classic car show nearby.

I'll ride it tomorrow on my way to the Burton Barr library...

PHX31
Dec 28, 2008, 12:03 AM
I heard that it was that long to ride... My girlfriend and I never had to wait for more than 1 train to pass before we were able to get on the next one, except at 3rd & Mill were we maybe waited for 2 trains... Every single one was packed though, they literally needed those japanese white gloved people shovers to get more people on the train. We went from Central/Encanto to 3rd & Jefferson (got off to check out the downtown festivities) over the bridge to 3rd & Mill. All up and down Mill was pretty busy, I wonder if it is because of light rail, but I wasn't expecting that... We then went back to Central/Encanto. I didn't dare go to the end of the lines.

I'm waiting for someone to start the main photo thread (in the MW? in city photos? in transportation?) to post my pics.

I hope I got a couple different shots than everyone else.

AZ KID
Dec 28, 2008, 12:25 AM
AWESOME DAY! Was on the first train! I have well over 50 photos to share with everyone! PHX31 why dont you start a thread going in the city photos with your pictures and then i will add to yours.

HX_Guy
Dec 28, 2008, 12:49 AM
There is a thread in the transportation forum already...

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=3995389#post3995389

combusean
Dec 28, 2008, 12:50 AM
That thread has been started in the Transportation Section.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=162856

Sekkle
Dec 28, 2008, 5:22 AM
Congrats on the opening phx forumers. I arrived in town today to visit family for a few days and plan to ride it at some time in the coming week. I heard on the news that 90k rode today, and heard about the long lines from friends. Great to see this day arrive. It's been a long time coming! :cheers:

HooverDam
Dec 28, 2008, 5:25 AM
Congrats on the opening phx forumers. I arrived in town today to visit family for a few days and plan to ride it at some time in the coming week. I heard on the news that 90k rode today, and heard about the long lines from friends. Great to see this day arrive. It's been a long time coming! :cheers:

I think it was more than 90K, Id guess 120K+. Every train was jam packed, Tokyo style, and most of the reliever special bus routes were pretty jammed too, it was nuts.

Sekkle
Dec 28, 2008, 6:21 AM
I think it was more than 90K, Id guess 120K+. Every train was jam packed, Tokyo style, and most of the reliever special bus routes were pretty jammed too, it was nuts.

You're probably right about more than 90k. From everything I've heard (here, from friends who rode it, and on the news), the trains were jammed. What headways (frequency) were they running today? 10 min? 20 min? Were they using all two-car trains or did they have 3-car trains running?

Anyway, maybe it's jumping the gun a bit since it's only the opening day, but it's great to know that so many people turned out to ride and seem excited about it. Hopefully that's good news for popular support of future expansion.

JI5
Dec 28, 2008, 6:24 AM
Valley Metro just changed their logo!!!!
See it on www.valleymetro.org

Did anyone know that was coming?

PHX31
Dec 28, 2008, 6:54 AM
Why would they change their logo at this point? Especially after it's plastered all over the place?

FourAteOh... they were using 2 car trains (at least that's all I saw). Kind of weird they didn't go with 3 car trains.

NIXPHX77
Dec 28, 2008, 9:16 AM
i saw some 3 car trains. it was very crowded, and there must have been a glitch at some point for eastbound trains as we waited and waited for one of those to pick us up at central/osborn. no shuttle bus either for a long time.
the metro person at that station told everyone there was some delay/problem and folks would be better off to get on a shuttle bus, but as i said, those didn't show up either. very odd. we finally got one after walking down to thomas.
we got off the bus at van buren. finally about 10 minutes after that,
the logjam was freed and buses and trains started flowing. anyone ever hear what happened?
but despite all of that, we had fun and it was so cool to see them running, and esp. running full.

Tempe_Duck
Dec 28, 2008, 10:25 AM
Why would they change their logo at this point? Especially after it's plastered all over the place?

FourAteOh... they were using 2 car trains (at least that's all I saw). Kind of weird they didn't go with 3 car trains.

From what I saw, it seemed like more east bound trains were 2 cars while the west bound trains were 2 cars. I think overall it was about 1/3 of the trains were 3 cars. It seemed like the trains were coming every 5 minutes at one point, so that may be a reason they had different size trains, to get the frequency up.

They were so full it reminded me of when I have been in New York or London. I heard many other people say that during the ride. It almost seemed like they needed the people they have in Tokyo to organize the trains.

AZ KID
Dec 28, 2008, 8:42 PM
It definitely was crazy! I was on a train that had three cars and yet it was the fullest train I was on the entire day. From tempe all the way to Downtown phoenix I was crammed to the point I couldnt even move.

HooverDam
Dec 28, 2008, 10:56 PM
So I figured we could talk about things we saw that need to be fixed, or things that disappointed us with the rail in this thread. Now, overall I was quite impressed, but there are still things that need to be improved:

1. One map of the stations per car, really? I have 20/15 vision and from the back of the car I couldn't see the map clearly. They need at least 3 per car.

2. What the heck are the yellow buttons near the inside of the doors for? Ill tell you what they don't do, is open the door like an elevator door button. When my family tried to exit the crammed train at Central and Van Buren we had to fight a sea of rude folks who made no effort to move, my Mom and sister got off, but my 70 year old Step Father wasn't fleet of foot enough to make it. As the door was closing he hit that yellow button multiple times, with no luck. And if you have your arm hanging out the door, the light rail doesn't give two shits. Itll crush your arm happily if you don't pull it back, unlike an elevator.

3. The speakers were fairly messed up, but this is a minor thing. They often announced incorrect stops, and a few times the speakers made horrible white noise type sound at a very high volume that lead everyone to cover their ears.

4. I remember hearing about 'screens' inside the cars, I suppose they just meant those dot matrix screens that told the stops. I wish they would've put screens up in the cars that would have a news ticker, stock ticker, announce stop names, as well as running ads. But, thats less of a complaint than just a missed opportunity.

5. I wish the stations had some way of letting you know where the train you were waiting on was. Maybe they did and I missed it. It would've been slick if they had a map of the system and as the train landed at stops down the line, it would light up, so you knew exactly how long you had to wait. This is a super minor complaint but, it would've been cool.

Edit: VVV you're probably right. Yesterday was kind of sensory overload, so I may have missed it. My biggest concerns were really #1 and #2, especially #2 since my Step Dad nearly lost an arm :P

AZ KID
Dec 28, 2008, 11:12 PM
HooverDam I am pretty sure that at each station, on the ticker, it will say how long until the next train arrives. But i could be wrong. I believe that there were many little things that were messed up but I think it was just due to it being the first day or having a million people ride it. I will ride it either the first or second of Jan. and that is when I will determine what is really wrong. I definitely agree with you about the maps though. Hopefully that is fixable because most people like myself have trouble seeing them in the first place.

glynnjamin
Dec 28, 2008, 11:31 PM
^^ Couldnt agree more...

One damn map was not enough. They should be above the doors. I'm pretty savvy when it comes to knowing my way around but even I got confused at which stop we were at when we were out in Tempe.

I saw one LED screen that showed the time till the train arrived...it was at 3rd/Jefferson. I asked a lady today about it and she said that it was on their priority list but there were still things to be ironed out before that got done. Eventually, they will all show the time till arrival. I like the idea of the map though.

I was also really hoping for a TV screen like they have on the airport buses...but more like the ones in nice hotels...they show the weather, stocks, sports scores, etc. No noise...just text.

The riders, in general, were pretty good (better Sun than Sat) but there are a huge number that can't figure out how to wait for people to get off first...or figure out how to hold on. Grab your kids, morons!

I think my biggest gripe was that there is no consistency in the announcing. Some times the conductor tells people what station they are at, sometimes a voice does, sometimes nothing. Sometimes the conductor yells at people on the platform, sometimes they don't. I mean, didn't all of these people get trained at the same time/place?

My other biggest gripe is that the emergency buttons are too low. They are in the perfect place for you to lean against them and push them. Multiple times the conductor came on the speaker and asked if there was an emergency cuz the button had been pushed.

Jsmscaleros
Dec 29, 2008, 12:32 AM
^^^^^^ all reasonable gripes, but I also tried to keep in mind yesterday that the trains were so over-capacity (combined with mobs at damn near every station) that things will go much more smoothly once the free rides are over on the 1st.

Having been spoiled by the Tokyo transit system, I was annoyed by how people here are clueless in terms of crowded train behavior (let people off first before trying to shove your way in!), but then again native Phoenicians are not familiar with trains and most of the people who rode yesterday were probably there just to see what all the fuss was about and probably will not be regular riders.

I also agree with your point about the inconsistency of the conductors. At every station, our conductor (obviously flustered by the crowds) kept yelling "I'm going to close the doors, so please get out of the way!" In my experience, if you just close the damn doors, people will get the idea.

All in all, I loved the ride. My biggest complaint was the ride time from downtown Tempe to Phoenix (took 40 minutes when the website says 25) and how many red lights we had to stop at. Hopefully, with less crowding at the stations, that will be more accurate next time I ride.

combusean
Dec 29, 2008, 12:54 AM
I don't know if I am disappointed at all. It is new which no doubt has some effect on me but having ridden transit before it's eerily familiar...the guy's warning voice which I think recognized from the airport combined with the gentle whoosh of the AC making it also feel jet like. Or maybe it's such a peaceful way to gaze out the window for this town.

The smoothness and quietness is impressive--almost too quiet except for a couple distinctive sounds. Chicago's El has a clack clack. We have the plesant vrrrrwhmmm of the electric stuff accelerating.

Stopping at lights still sucks tho. It takes away that feeling of an expected, unbridled motion before the next stop. But with it running I could see problem intersections (McDowell, 24th) run under the tracks so it wouldnt have to wait. How cool would that be?

Yesterday we wandered Tempe, today we wandered Melrose and hit about 10 shops that I'd barely thought to see before. I'm tired, worn out, aching in one of the two places I usually do when I go on vacation to a Real City. That this is still Phoenix is bewildering. It feels hotel-like in my condo, and I'm wondering how much of a loathed tourist I really am. Before this, driving up 7th Avenue a million times before, Melrose seemed unwalkable. Now it's at least good for one way, it's not quite the up and down street worth walking twice. But I really wonder how much more of this town really disappears in the asphalt jungle and anonymous strip-malls that light rail can bring to the surface.

The scale of this city has vastly changed overnight for the better, and I'm unusually sublime about it. Who knew?

HX_Guy
Dec 29, 2008, 12:54 AM
There were a lot of delays and I have to believe that once the crowds die down, they will be able to stay on schedule with everything. At one point yesterday, we were at a station for 31 minutes before a train came by...so much for every 10 minutes huh?

The trains were delayed a lot by people trying to get on and off. As someone said, just close the damn doors and people will learn.

PhxPavilion
Dec 29, 2008, 2:40 AM
Can't expect everything to go smoothly in a city that hasn't seen mass transit on this scale for many decades.

Archdevil
Dec 29, 2008, 4:55 PM
I took the train from midtown to tempe for bar hopping on saturday. I thought the trains were efficient, and pretty quick though they really seemed to sit at the stations waay to long. Im used to stop..doors open..15 seconds...doors close and we are moving again. The trains seemed to sit at each station for 2-3 minutes. Probably just an opening day thing. My biggest complaint, as mentioned by someone else, was the behavior of the people!

I'm used to getting on a packed train where there is an understood code among riders....they are quiet and polite for the most part. My last ride of the day from Tempe back to midtown was terrible in terms of people. The train was full of soccer moms, kids and a--holes. People were constantly yelling, nobody would budge to let people out of the trains and the complaining was endless. People were yelling things like "Stop pushing", " It smells", " I'd rather pay $5 a gallon than deal with this", "this is rediculous", and one woman even yelled "all non phoenicians get the hell off". I really doubt we will see anymore of these people on the trains again but it was still pretty bad. I really think it was the first time most of those people had been packed into a train or even the first time most had ever used mass transit. It was like riding a tram at disneyland....what was with the cheering when we went over water?!?!? Did anyone else notice the amout of children in Tempe bars?! I hit The Library and Rula Bula...both had around 15-20 children in them! I figured it was just due to the suburbanites looking for food on Mill, but it was still odd.

Anyway, im glad the rail is up and running, i will be using it frequently.

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 29, 2008, 5:26 PM
Rode yesterday from Price/Apache to Central/Osborne and back.

Nice ride, and only a few little quibbles:
1. The westbound train had signs working, telling you what stations we were approaching. We had to stop for about 2 to 3 minutes at several stations to wait for the train ahead of us to gain some distance. The only reason I know this is because the conductor and/or the TSA on the train let us know.

2. On the eastbound train, there were no signs inside the train nor a voice telling you which stations we were approaching. Eastbound was a helluva lot more crowded than westbound, and apparently nobody had any idea that when objects move and you're standing, its best to grab onto something for balance/leverage. I was a human bowling pin several times on the return trip to my car when someone barrelled down the middle because they weren't holding onto anything. :haha:

Otherwise, I plan on getting a lot of use out of it the next week or so for all the Fiesta Bowl and Ohio State-related activities going on around town.

Don B.
Dec 29, 2008, 6:52 PM
Rode it yesterday afternoon, it was quite cool. Pics are up in the main thread in the transportation forum.

I look forward to riding the train on a regular basis.

--don

glynnjamin
Dec 29, 2008, 10:10 PM
At this point I cant believe that the trains are still packed. Tried to grab lunch at IHOP today, got on at Central Station and the train was wicked crowded. Then, when I went to leave IHOP and catch the south bound train at Encanto, had to wait 4 trains before there was any room. People just won't move. There will be space in the aisle on the step-up platform but everyone will want to stand in the doorway.

On top of that, what's with the stroller-pushers? Collapse those things and hold your baby. Don't take up the room that 3-4 other people could use because you wanted a free activity to do while your husband was at work all day.

Akatosh
Dec 29, 2008, 10:18 PM
So most of the riders are still "gawkers", in a sense? Didn't some METRO official claim that today would be the "day to see whether or not" it would 'take off', so to speak.

Do you (a question for anyone who has an opinion on this) believe that the crowd will keep up once Jan 1 2009 rolls in, or is this 'popularity' truly just a free amusement ride for those who don't have day jobs, and that once the fares kick in, numbers will drop off precipitously?

=) Glad to hear it is still popular, at least people are intrigued by it. That's always good news.

HX_Guy
Dec 29, 2008, 10:26 PM
At this point I cant believe that the trains are still packed. Tried to grab lunch at IHOP today, got on at Central Station and the train was wicked crowded. Then, when I went to leave IHOP and catch the south bound train at Encanto, had to wait 4 trains before there was any room. People just won't move. There will be space in the aisle on the step-up platform but everyone will want to stand in the doorway.

On top of that, what's with the stroller-pushers? Collapse those things and hold your baby. Don't take up the room that 3-4 other people could use because you wanted a free activity to do while your husband was at work all day.

That's pretty crazy that they were still packed today, I wouldn't have even imagined that.

The real deal is that a lot of people are off work between Christmas and New Years and that it's still free. I'm curious to see how it will be starting January 5th (first Monday after holidays).

exit2lef
Dec 29, 2008, 10:35 PM
I rode it to work today from 24th St. / Washington to 44th St. / Washington. I was the only passenger waiting on the platform at 24th St. and the train wasn't very full when it pulled up at 8:15 AM. My guess is that with ASU and Gateway CC not in session, there were very few students on board. When I got off at 44th, though, a lot of people came out of the westbound train that stopped there at the same time. I saw a large group walking toward the office complexes around 44th and Van Buren, indicating that some people, including me, have started to incorporate light rail into their commutes. It will be interesting to see what my ride home is like in two hours.

Vicelord John
Dec 29, 2008, 10:40 PM
Apparently in unsuspended so ill put in my two cents about the train. They havent perfected schedules yet and im tired of the people riding it like a carnival ride. Im on the train this second and im probably part of a very small percentage actually using for a purpose. The amount of kids and ass hole parents with sctollers should diminish greatly.

The "no soliciting" message cracka me up. Hookers off at the next station!

alexjon
Dec 29, 2008, 10:43 PM
Apparently in unsuspended so ill put in my two cents about the train. They havent perfected schedules yet and im tired of the people riding it like a carnival ride. Im on the train this second and im probably part of a very small percentage actually using for a purpose. The amount of kids and ass hole parents with sctollers should diminish greatly.

The "no soliciting" message cracka me up. Hookers off at the next station!

Strollers are usually a problem for a while, until there's a crack-down by the local press and most riders.

bwonger06
Dec 29, 2008, 10:47 PM
I think the stations are distanced way too far in some areas. For instance, the stops between 7th and 19th AVE. I know the area is pretty dead inbetween the two streets but it will continue to be a dead area if there is no stop there.

The green light priority system worked at times and others, we sat there a good minute or two waiting for the light to turn green. I agree they should look in the future to implement a 15-30 second window if traffic permit which is not the current case at the 19 ave and montebello location where it is just packed beyond belief. Everyone in the train has to get out and it sucks because people about to get on crowd the entrance.

exit2lef
Dec 29, 2008, 10:50 PM
Strollers are usually a problem for a while, until there's a crack-down by the local press and most riders.

I'm an "asshole parent" who sometimes pushes a stroller, but I agree that they should be folded up if the train is crowded. The stroller issue may be one byproduct of the new light rail's ultra-accessibilty. Since there are no steps up to the train, it's easy to just push a stroller onto the train -- unlike with the bus where it's pretty apparent that a stroller has to be folded up in order to board.