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Tfom
Apr 10, 2009, 10:56 PM
My point isn't that it makes us into crazy gun-toters. My point is that Arizona is developing a reputation as a place that is intolerant of other cultures. I think people have a view that a "real" city is diverse culturally. I think having two languages on your train system communicates diversity and that we are a city that appreciates the culture of our residents. And I think this type of reputation serves us well compared the rep being developed by our aforementioned racist media whore sheriff who is concerned only with himself, despite what he may say.

PHX NATIVE 929
Apr 10, 2009, 10:58 PM
If anyone is interested in more than Don's own Cliff's Notes version, here's a good starting point: http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/prelude/

PHX31
Apr 10, 2009, 11:35 PM
Yeah Don, that was a really really stupid post. As if *we* started the whole concept of "conquering" land and claiming territory. Probably the only people on the face of the earth not living on "blood land" is one tribe in the middle of the jungle that has been isolated since humans started walking upright. Even they probably get in territorial fights.

Respecting others is good, but the whole respect because of blood land trip is ridiculous.

Don B.
Apr 11, 2009, 3:47 AM
^ So, if everyone else does it, that makes it right?

Ulysses S Grant himself said, after the war, that it was the most unjust thing we had ever done collectively as a people:

“Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."

In 1879, while in China during his post presidential world tour, Grant told John Russell Young:

“I had very strong opinions on the subject. I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I had a horror of the Mexican War, and I have always believed that it was on our part most unjust. The wickedness was not in the way our soldiers conducted it, but in the conduct of our government in declaring war. We had no claim on Mexico. Texas had no claim beyond the Nueces River, and yet we pushed on to the Rio Grande and crossed it. I am always ashamed of my country when I think of that invasion."

--don

glynnjamin
Apr 11, 2009, 6:02 AM
So...how about those bike racks on the LRT.

Or about that press release about focusing more money on mass transit..?

Or we can all just go back to reading the ignorant Feathered Bastard column in the New Times.

nickkoto
Apr 11, 2009, 6:32 AM
Of the three or four occassions that I've taken my bike on the light rail, I only used the racks the first time. Not worth the trouble of trying to get my bike up there, especially if anyone is seated in the seats across the car.

Nobody seems to say anything if you just take a corner of the open area with your bike. Maybe if a fare inspector comes aboard it would be different, but the occassion hasn't arisen for me yet.

Azndragon837
Apr 11, 2009, 8:24 AM
I started using the light rail for my evening runs/jogs across Downtown and Midtown Phoenix.

I start my run from the Downtown YMCA at Central and Van Buren (where I lock up all my items, and take my mp3 player and METRO Platinum Card with me - thank you City of Scottsdale), and jog all the way up Central Avenue (stopping at a few stations to catch a drink of refrigerated water from the drinking fountains) and book a left at the diagonal Camelback & Central Station. I then go all the way to the 19th Avenue & Camelback station (which is a mere 2 miles east from my house - I call that station my "home station").

The total running distance is a little over 5.3 miles. I then hop on the train and take it back to Central Station, and finish my workout at the YMCA after a good 15 minute ride vegging out and listening to music. Kind of neat.

-Andrew

Jsmscaleros
Apr 11, 2009, 9:15 AM
By the way, what Spanish on the trains are we talking about anyway? I just rode the train twice today and once yesterday and it's all English still.

Dios mio... mucho ruido y pocas nueces.

Anybody know anything about the new automatic airport train?

Don B.
Apr 11, 2009, 6:25 PM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/traffic/lightrail/articles/2009/04/11/20090411railfans0411.html

Light rail helps take fans out to the ballgame
Up to 6,000 fans used trains on D-Backs' Opening Day, Metro says

Metro light rail is a big hit so far with Arizona Diamondbacks fans, who jammed trains as if they were in Boston, New York or Chicago for the first week of games.

Fans formed a sea of Sedona red hours before Opening Day on Monday as they lined up at fare vending machines at Mesa's Sycamore station, and they kept coming through the team's three-game home stand against the Colorado Rockies.

Throughout the week, many fans seemed to struggle with using the
ATM-like fare machines. Many said it was their first ride on Metro.

Metro estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 fans used the trains for their trip to and from Chase Field on Monday. The process repeated itself, but in smaller numbers, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I think that's going to be a trend. It will be an established ritual in the East Valley," said Mike James, Mesa's deputy transportation director.

Metro is installing two additional fare boxes near the operations building at the Mesa Transportation Center to reduce long lines, James said. They will be positioned to reduce glare on the screens of the fare machines.

A number of fans said they drove long distances from east Mesa, Gilbert and Apache Junction to park at the Mesa station and ride the train to the game.

"It's convenient. It saves on parking. It's right at the ballpark. It saves time and money," said Art Gracia of Mesa, who was wearing a Chicago Cubs hat to the Diamondbacks game.

Larry Coffelt of Mesa used Metro for the first time Wednesday. "It's a novelty. It's real convenient. You can get off and not worry about driving and parking," he said.

Jose Valencia of Mesa went green, riding a bicycle to the Sycamore station and taking the light rail to the game. "It's cleaner for the environment, and we all have to protect our Earth," he said.

Even Mesa Mayor Scott Smith rode Metro to Opening Day. He was happy that it was difficult to find a parking space at the park and ride lot.

"That tells me there is a demand," he said. "We just took 1,000 cars off the road."

Hillary Foose, a Metro spokeswoman, said administrators viewed the Diamondbacks' first home series as a test for special events and an opportunity to make a good first impression on new riders.

Extra trains were brought in to make sure fans wouldn't have to wait too long after games. Foose said trains will run as long as necessary to serve fans, even if games go extra innings and extend past 11 p.m., when Metro normally wraps up service.

"If you took a train to the game, you'll get one back," she said.

Metro also used three-car trains for the first time to serve baseball fans attending the first home series, Foose said.

After Tuesday night's game, "a three-car train pulled up and it sucked everyone off the platform. It was exciting," she said.

The heavy turnout on Metro for the opening series wasn't overly surprising. So far, East Valley park and ride lots are getting much heavier use than those in Phoenix.

A Feb. 26 survey found 468 cars parked at the Mesa lot, at the end of the 20-mile track. The lot has 802 spaces, the largest in the system. In contrast, a similar lot at the Phoenix end of the line, on 19th Avenue south of Bethany Home Road, had only 208 spaces used.

Metro theorizes that East Valley riders are using the line more because they are traveling longer distances to work, to Arizona State University and to special events such as the Diamondbacks games.

No one will know for sure until ridership surveys are performed later this year, Foose said.

--don

trigirdbers
Apr 11, 2009, 9:50 PM
I'm in town for a break and just rode the light rail from Mesa to ASU. I think they are getting the timing thing better, we only stopped at one red light. Is this a real improvement or is it just that the problems were mostly downtown to begin with?

Jsmscaleros
Apr 12, 2009, 2:26 AM
I took the train to the D-Backs game last night and was pleased to ride a comfortable, yet packed train both ways. After the game, the mob on the platform was so big we decided to throw back a few pints at Rose and Crown before heading back to Tempe:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3568/3432636855_292b168d3d.jpg?v=0

HooverDam
Apr 12, 2009, 3:41 AM
I meant to post this earlier but I saw this weird little thing roaming around downtown today:
http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/5972/dsc0114.jpg
Looks like another tourist mover, similar to Ollie the Trolley.

PhxPavilion
Apr 12, 2009, 7:34 AM
I saw three car trains one after the other a few times tonight, they were also mostly full.

Leo the Dog
Apr 12, 2009, 4:16 PM
I'm in town for a break and just rode the light rail from Mesa to ASU. I think they are getting the timing thing better, we only stopped at one red light. Is this a real improvement or is it just that the problems were mostly downtown to begin with?

I think the timing has definitely improved since January. Rarely does the train stop at Monroe (heading Mesa Eastbound). Also along the Washington corridor, it seems that it has improved as well. It used to get stopped at one of the I-10 lights, but now it usually cruises right through. It is a consistent ride every time now. Once I board the train, I know approximately what time I will arrive to my destination within 2 mins. However, I do believe there are still things to improve on.

bwonger06
Apr 12, 2009, 6:49 PM
I meant to post this earlier but I saw this weird little thing roaming around downtown today:
http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/5972/dsc0114.jpg
Looks like another tourist mover, similar to Ollie the Trolley.

I saw that thing up at glendale and central, at first i was thinking what the heck but then i saw the double decker. Pretty sweet, actually feels like Phoenix is beginning to grow again with a lot of restaurants going in up/down-town, cityscape getting up there in size, park opening, and this after we went through those very pessimistic months were we thought we were completely screwed by the recession.

HX_Guy
Apr 13, 2009, 6:20 PM
Metro records decrease in daily ridership in March
Phoenix Business Journal

The Metro light rail system carried a record number of passengers in March, though the average daily ridership dipped slightly.

According to Metro, there were 972,962 boardings in March, for an overall average of 31,386 a day. There were 908,052 boardings in February, but it was a shorter month, so the daily average was slightly higher: 32,430.

The average weekday ridership in March was 34,376, average Saturday ridership was 28,537, and average Sunday and holiday ridership was 20,508.

In February, the average ridership was 35,277 on weekdays, 31,417 on Saturdays and 19,212 on Sundays and holidays.

PHX31
Apr 13, 2009, 10:15 PM
Has anyone witnessed the train going over the Town Lake bridge and the LED "lightshow" or whatever was supposed to happen? I thought that was a pretty cool idea, but I haven't really heard about it since light rail opened. Does the bridge light up? Is it much lamer than everyone originally was thinking? Someday I'll have to go to the town lake at night and see what happens, because you can't see anything when you're riding on the train.

combusean
Apr 13, 2009, 10:55 PM
They had it in a fixed on position at the Tempe Music Festival. It was cool but not all that spectacular.

nickkoto
Apr 14, 2009, 5:02 AM
Has anyone witnessed the train going over the Town Lake bridge and the LED "lightshow" or whatever was supposed to happen? I thought that was a pretty cool idea, but I haven't really heard about it since light rail opened. Does the bridge light up? Is it much lamer than everyone originally was thinking? Someday I'll have to go to the town lake at night and see what happens, because you can't see anything when you're riding on the train.

The bridge does light up (no way you can see it from on board), but an AZCentral article last week said they were still working on synching it with the train crossing.

But I still think it's pretty cool as it is. It sort of looks like a huge lava lamp covering the whole side of the bridge. And I believe it was about a tenth of the cost of the jellyfish net.

vertex
Apr 14, 2009, 7:38 PM
Here's the (non-animated) bridge lights at work last July.

http://img56.imageshack.us/img56/872/img2979smallvg9.jpg

PHX31
Apr 15, 2009, 1:54 AM
YAY!!!! I saw a 3-car train. It was at the van buren and central station.

NIXPHX77
Apr 15, 2009, 8:35 AM
for the past week i have been seeing 3 car trains regularly.

glynnjamin
Apr 15, 2009, 3:14 PM
What the hell!?!?

I drive down central every day and can see the tracks from my window - NEVER see a 3 car train.

pbenjamin
Apr 15, 2009, 4:32 PM
I have seen several this week.

Vicelord John
Apr 15, 2009, 4:37 PM
I can sit on Lux patio and see probably 2-3 pass by in one hour.

There were two staged on the extra tracks at Central/McKinley last night around 8pm just waiting to get going.

Leo the Dog
Apr 15, 2009, 6:49 PM
What the hell!?!?

I drive down central every day and can see the tracks from my window - NEVER see a 3 car train.

I've ridden on a 3 car train twice this week. I think it has to do with baseball season.

HooverDam
Apr 16, 2009, 3:28 AM
Interesting stuff from AzCentral and Metro:

http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/lightrailblog/50985
Where are people boarding? Answers might surprise you

Metro has released its first detailed glimpse of how people are using the line, with passenger loads for each station.

The top five list: Sycamore, Montebello, Central Station, University/Rural, and Mill.
Bringing up the rear, starting with the slowest station: 38th Street, Center Parkway, Smith-Martin, 12th Street and Encanto.

There were surprises in the data, good and bad. Here’s a full look at the figures, by rank, by passenger volume and by monthly changes. On the last chart, 100% means no change, smaller numbers signify declines and bigger numbers mean passenger volumes grew.

The data shows end-of-line stations are light rail's busiest, but Metro thinks for different reasons.
Montebello and Sycamore stations have been trading off as number one and number two since opening day. But the park-and-ride lot in Mesa was 60 percent full when Metro measured it, while the Montebello lot was only 26 percent full. Metro officials think shoppers have been flocking to the Montebello Station, opposite Christown-Spectrum Mall, while commuters and Arizona State University students, faculty and staff rely on Sycamore Station.

Metro CEO Rick Simonetta told his board he was disappointed in the 38th Street Station, which sits across the street from Gateway Community College. Simonetta said he wants to talk with college officials to better promote the station.
The second slowest station, Center Parkway, was added during construction at the request of Tempe.
The station at Camelback and Central slipped from 17,700 boardings in January to 8,500 in March, despite being one of the few transit centers and a transfer point for seven local bus lines. Anecdotally, we’ve heard stories that bus transfers have been problematic there.

On a more positive note, Roosevelt Station saw a 250 percent increase between January and March and shot of up from the 20th busiest station to the fifth busiest. Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose credited cultural events such as First Fridays and the downtown farmers' market.
The airport station at 44th Street has consistently been among the busiest and use of the free airport shuttle bus has been much heavier than expected.
“People can't park their cars at the stations, so they are being inventive,” Foose said. “It shows people are being inventive in how they think about getting around.”

And a link to the full figures: http://www.azcentral.com/ic/data/lightrail/0415light_rail_boardings.htm

trigirdbers
Apr 16, 2009, 3:57 AM
Saw a train cross it, didn't see any light show

oliveurban
Apr 16, 2009, 8:16 PM
Anyone else catch this? Here's a recently updated, general map of the proposed U.S. HSR network. It thankfully shows the likelihood of an eventual line through southern AZ. Here's to hoping it stops here in Phoenix, and, hoping that the stop will be located Downtown, preferably at an overhauled Union Station--

http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r129/oliveurban/rail_map_blog.jpg

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/04/16/A-Vision-for-High-Speed-Rail/

PHX31
Apr 16, 2009, 8:23 PM
/\ Looks to me like it is the I-40 and I-8 corridors. Although i can't imagine it would bypass Phoenix and hit other parts of AZ.

glynnjamin
Apr 16, 2009, 8:36 PM
I'm missing where it says there is likelihood of a southern AZ route? The grey lines are exiting routes (one to tucson, one to Flag). The red are the only proposed routes. Blue is existing routes. I think the fact that there is no highspeed rail planned from coast to coast is a travesty. You should be able to go from Boston to Seattle or LA to Jacksonville via a single HS train. Even if it takes a day and 1/2, I'd ride it. I HATE flying

oliveurban
Apr 16, 2009, 9:43 PM
Going by that map it seems obvious that any possible routes connecting the "South Central" and the "California" networks would/could likely use the ROW through southern AZ. And if so, there is hope for an inclusion of a Phoenix stop.

mwadswor
Apr 16, 2009, 11:51 PM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/traffic/lightrail/articles/2009/04/16/20090416metro-ads0416.html

Metro passengers could be barraged with ads inside and outside the trains this fall as the transit agency tries to get through the grim economy with a new source of money.

The Metro board voted unanimously Wednesday to reverse its no-advertisement policy and adopted a program that would be the most aggressive among new Western light-rail systems.

Wednesday's vote clears Metro to solicit proposals for advertising in display cases, on floors and wrapped around the outside of trains. Ads also will be allowed on flat screens to be installed inside the trains and on new station platform kiosks.


Metro is turning to ads for revenue, partly because it gets most of its operating funds from cities that are strapped for cash because of the economic downturn. Unless other sources of revenue can be found, the system could face service cuts and more fare increases.

Last year, Metro consultants predicted that a full-scale ad campaign could bring in $1.6 million a year. But that was before the economic crash last fall, and it remains unclear how much Metro could make. Metro's proposed budget for the coming year is $34.5 million.

A survey of systems in Texas, Colorado and Utah shows that no light-rail system goes nearly as far as Metro in where ads are allowed to be placed. But some systems are more liberal in the advertising content they accept.

Metro's new policy prohibits ads promoting sex, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, violence or political views.

In Dallas, the DART system does allow paid political ads but only in display cases on platform windbreaks. Sue Bauman, DART vice president of marketing and community affairs, said she understands Metro's decision to open its system to extensive advertising.

"Anybody prudent in this economy has to be looking at ways to strengthen their revenue," Bauman said.

Houston accepts no ads on its light-rail system.

In Salt Lake City, light-rail trains have modest panel ads on the inside and outside of each car but nowhere on stations. The Utah Transit Authority grossed $320,000 last year and accepts some ads that sell alcohol, mostly promoting restaurants.

In Denver, the Rapid Transit District allows ads only on overhead panel and see-through window stickers on the insides of trains.

The content policy is similar to Metro's. Like many systems, RTD contracted its advertising program to a vendor. The vendor takes in everything above a negotiated amount. The RTD earned a $2.8 million last year, before the vendor's share, including ad sales on Denver's extensive bus system.

Metro will seek two contracts to manage its ad program, one for traditional sources, another for the electronic displays.

In February, the Phoenix-area public got its first taste of train advertising during a weeklong experiment to promote the NBA All-Star Game.

About 200 people responded to an unscientific poll on Metro's Web site. The agency reported that opinions were split evenly over the eye-catching wraparound ads.

The experiment grossed $40,000 for Metro. Metro marketing manager Marty McNeil said station ads, train wraps and decals on train floors or platforms could start appearing as soon as the fall. The flat-screen ads and kiosks may be a year away.

The screens inside trains would be silent and not interactive. Instead, they would scroll through ads, news headlines, Metro public-service messages, news and entertainment spots. Similar systems exist inside some elevators and on Atlanta's MARTA heavy-rail system.

I understand and actually support advertising as an important revenue source for valleymetro, but this seems like a bit of an aggressive first step to me. Wrapping the trains for the all-star game looked too cool and I'd love it if all of the ads were like that. On the other hand, I'd like to look somewhere without being barraged by advertising and putting them in the floor seems a bit over the top. Especially if there are multiple companies advertising in the same car I think I'll feel like I'm walking on junk mail or newspaper ads. Also, valleymetro did such a good job of making all the stations look nice, if they are going to put billboards in the middle of them they need to find a way to do so without overpowering the artwork that so much money was invested in.

Finally... as long as "The screens inside trains would be silent and not interactive" they need to get those in immediately. In Bangkok they alternate ads and music videos and it really makes the train ride entertaining in addition to bringing in money. Obviously, silent means there won't be music videos here, but headlines combined with ads could still provide some entertainment and no screen is going to be too big to look away from if you want to.

Leo the Dog
Apr 17, 2009, 2:50 PM
Phoenix isn't included in any new rail plans. Those grey lines are the existing Amtrak service.

HX_Guy
Apr 17, 2009, 9:40 PM
And people say the light rail won't have any impact on where people choose to live and so forth...

http://www.city-data.com/forum/phoenix-area/623798-any-downtown-living-advice.html

Looks like it's a big factor of this person's decision. Good to see, no?

PhxPavilion
Apr 18, 2009, 12:33 PM
Too bad there aren't more places available along the route.

Leo the Dog
Apr 19, 2009, 2:20 PM
Too bad there aren't more places available along the route.

Agreed. Tempe is doing a great job along Apache Blvd at building TOD. That area is ripe for development once the housing industry gets moving again. They have cleared out major tracts of land that used to be shady highway Inns. Its impressive what they have been able to do because of the rail. :tup:

PHX31
Apr 19, 2009, 3:16 PM
The final anecdotes regarding 3-car trains: I saw pretty much nothing but 3-car trains yesterday in Tempe (i ran in Pat's run). I saw them all day long and I actually rode one home back to central phoenix around 10 last night. There wasn't even a d-backs game, but I think there were a few other things going on. They were pretty full (even some standing room only) in the afternoon/evening... but at 7 in the morning, there was hardly anyone on board.

Tfom
Apr 19, 2009, 3:56 PM
I saw all 3 car trains too. They were a fair amount of people on them, it was around 830 sat morning. I was at the public market and there was a good amt of foot traffic for downtown. My mom was visiting (first time). She kept commenting how beautiful the city is and has a whole list of things she wants to come back and do. On another note I heard someone on the train commenting that they never used to come DT before the train and how much it has changed for the better.

Vicelord John
Apr 19, 2009, 4:34 PM
The final anecdotes regarding 3-car trains: I saw pretty much nothing but 3-car trains yesterday in Tempe (i ran in Pat's run). I saw them all day long and I actually rode one home back to central phoenix around 10 last night. There wasn't even a d-backs game, but I think there were a few other things going on. They were pretty full (even some standing room only) in the afternoon/evening... but at 7 in the morning, there was hardly anyone on board.

it was gay day, they had them out for that as a "special" ocassion and they got a lot of use. There was also an enormous classic car cruise up and down central avenue that I didn't enjoy trying to battle on my way to Postino.

I did, however, notice that young lesbians dress like hookers... really hot hookers that wouldn't give me the time of day.

bwonger06
Apr 19, 2009, 6:34 PM
Yeah, midtown was very crazy yesterday with the classic cars packed mostly around park central stretching all the way to indian school and central. I didnt mind the traffic as it meant a lot more foot traffic.

I did not see a lot of gay pride downtown but AZ center was very packed which was surprising. And Phoenix PD is starting to ticket people for Saturday meter parking, hope this doesnt deter people from going downtown during the weekends. Only thing i forgot to do was visit the new park but i guess it is nothing special during the day.

Vicelord John
Apr 19, 2009, 6:49 PM
hell i can walk to the new park and haven't been. it doesn't look all that appealing to be honest.

AZ KID
Apr 19, 2009, 6:55 PM
Yesterday I rode strictly three car trains. I went to the car show and it was awesome! While checking out the cars I only saw three car trains. Bwonger I dont know where you were but everywhere I went there were gay people. On the way to the car show i sat next to to two cross dressers and on the way to the park I was surrounded by a group of gay guys coming from a bar.

It was crazy though. As I got on a three car train at central station in dt there was only one person in the entire car! It was quite strange because the two cars behind it were almost completely packed. I took some photos of the car show and empty light rail car that i will post in a little.

Vicelord John
Apr 19, 2009, 7:15 PM
Yesterday I rode strictly three car trains.

Elitist.

gymratmanaz
Apr 19, 2009, 8:37 PM
Only 3 car trains this morning....decent amount of people in them...was odd to see so many threes.

bwonger06
Apr 19, 2009, 8:39 PM
Yesterday I rode strictly three car trains. I went to the car show and it was awesome! While checking out the cars I only saw three car trains. Bwonger I dont know where you were but everywhere I went there were gay people. On the way to the car show i sat next to to two cross dressers and on the way to the park I was surrounded by a group of gay guys coming from a bar.

It was crazy though. As I got on a three car train at central station in dt there was only one person in the entire car! It was quite strange because the two cars behind it were almost completely packed. I took some photos of the car show and empty light rail car that i will post in a little.

I was at Arizona Center so that might explain why I saw so few gays. I did drive up central but my eyes are glued to the classic cars in front of me because they were a. going super slow so I didnt want to hit them b. thinking about how much it would cost if i did hit one of them. And I did see gays, just not the total gay invasion i thought i was going to see... maybe my gay-dar just sucks balls.

KEVINphx
Apr 20, 2009, 2:31 AM
it was gay day, they had them out for that as a "special" ocassion and they got a lot of use. There was also an enormous classic car cruise up and down central avenue that I didn't enjoy trying to battle on my way to Postino.

I did, however, notice that young lesbians dress like hookers... really hot hookers that wouldn't give me the time of day.

Wonder if they can sense that "special" quality you exhibit here on the forum that repels others? :shrug:

Azndragon837
Apr 20, 2009, 5:27 AM
I participated/walked in the Phoenix Pride Parade on Saturday morning. I parked at the park-n-ride on 19th & Camelback and took the train to Thomas in the morning before the start of the parade on 3rd Street. Afterwards, a bunch of us went to Mill Avenue for lunch, and I eventually headed back to the park-n-ride before the evening settled in. The car show was pretty cool to look at from inside the 3-car train I was in traveling up Central Avenue.

There was a ton of gays everywhere mixed in with the crowd from the car show. Midtown and Downtown was packed with people all day, including the Civic Space Park. It was an awesome day filled with happy gays, classic cars, and mass transit!

glynnjamin
Apr 20, 2009, 2:36 PM
Of course the weekend that all of the 3-car trains were out, I was in LA.

Classical in Phoenix
Apr 20, 2009, 7:24 PM
Of course the weekend that all of the 3-car trains were out, I was in LA.

They're running today, I've seen several go past my office bld.

Jsmscaleros
Apr 21, 2009, 5:00 AM
Yup, seems like the full-size trains are being regularly implemented for high-traffic periods and events... which is good, because from what I've experienced the demand is certainly there during afternoon rush hour, D-Backs games, First Fridays Downtown, etc...

Earlier today while hiking A-Mountain I saw a 3-car train parked on the middle track just west of Veteran's Way/College Ave Sta. that suddenly came to life and went westbound at around 5pm.

Now if we can just get them to run a train at 2:30am on the weekends...

glynnjamin
Apr 21, 2009, 5:30 AM
Ok, so today, I doubled back on my commute home (after passing 3 2-car trains) and hit up Yoshi's on Central for some dinner and, as I was pulling out, I FINALLY saw a 3-car train. Gotta say, not as impressed as I thought I would be (considering the hype).

Leo the Dog
Apr 21, 2009, 2:33 PM
I was on a train yesterday afternoon when apparently a vehicle hit us (I didn't notice). I boarded a eastbound train at Central Station after arriving at 1st Ave/Jeff we stopped and stayed there for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes went by, the operator came on the PA system and informed everyone what happened and that we'd be on our way. Once we started moving, it seemed like the wheels were rubbing/vibrating more on the rails when the train encountered a turn.

Anyways, I'm sure the entire system got backed up because of this accident. At the University/Rural stop there were probably 200 students that were waiting to board.

Jsmscaleros
Apr 21, 2009, 3:51 PM
Yeah - I still think that's the biggest problem with any LRT system. With heavy rail lines, there seems to always be extra track to better accommodate mechanical issues and potential delays.

With an LRT line that's on the street, you cant just have extra track running all over the place for trains to pass an obstruction or to move an accident out of the way. My only hope is that as time passes, drivers will start paying more attention... maybe that's wishful thinking.

Jsmscaleros
Apr 21, 2009, 3:52 PM
Ok, so today, I doubled back on my commute home (after passing 3 2-car trains) and hit up Yoshi's on Central for some dinner and, as I was pulling out, I FINALLY saw a 3-car train. Gotta say, not as impressed as I thought I would be (considering the hype).

After all, it is just the same thing with an extra car...

glynnjamin
Apr 21, 2009, 10:25 PM
Yeah - I still think that's the biggest problem with any LRT system. With heavy rail lines, there seems to always be extra track to better accommodate mechanical issues and potential delays.

With an LRT line that's on the street, you cant just have extra track running all over the place for trains to pass an obstruction or to move an accident out of the way. My only hope is that as time passes, drivers will start paying more attention... maybe that's wishful thinking.

There is extra line running all over the place, it is called the other track. If there is an accident, you just send the freaking train around it. I don't really see what is so hard about that. I thought we determined that the McKinley and 12th St turn-arounds were for that purpose. In every other part of the LRT line, there are x-over tracks like every 1000ft or so. I've seen the train on the wrong side of the track plenty of times so it shouldn't be a big deal. It just takes a little coordination.

Jsmscaleros
Apr 22, 2009, 1:02 AM
There is extra line running all over the place, it is called the other track. If there is an accident, you just send the freaking train around it. I don't really see what is so hard about that. I thought we determined that the McKinley and 12th St turn-arounds were for that purpose. In every other part of the LRT line, there are x-over tracks like every 1000ft or so. I've seen the train on the wrong side of the track plenty of times so it shouldn't be a big deal. It just takes a little coordination.

Oh, sorry smart guy - I guess those 45 minute to an hour delays for minor accidents are just because the conductors and engineers running the system are all idiots... they just didn't see the other track!

Please don't write condescending responses to me like I'm 10. I didn't design the thing; I'm simply speculating that they don't use the side of oncoming trains to bypass accidents. If that is the case, you can inform me without being a turd.

HooverDam
Apr 22, 2009, 5:04 AM
http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/lightrailblog/51443

Art fans, foodies: Watch for rail marketing deals

A handful of Valley tourist destinations are starting to use light rail to promote their business. It’s too early to tell if the idea will catch fire. What is known is some companies see enough of a boost to their bottom lines to offer discounts and rail tickets.

There are deals out there for the artistically- or gastronomically-inclined.

We told you about the deals on pub crawls. Now on Monday, Monti’s La Casa Vieja, Tempe’s venerable steak house, began offering a discounted meal, two all-day Metro passes and an admission to the Heard Museum at a reduced rate. Managing partner Eddie Goitia says weekend train visitors have been a bright spot in a dark economy. He’s starting to see the possibilities. “You already had two distinct cultural points of interest and the train connects the two. All of a sudden I can reach so many places in the Valley and market them. It’s instant marketing.”

The Heard is also offering $1 off tickets to people from big downtown hotels. The Heard’s marketing director Juliet Martin said light rail has been a major, but not sole, factor in keeping museum crowds about even with last year.

Down the street, the Phoenix Art Museum has been offering a $10 break on $75 membership to anyone with a monthly rail pass, but for now the promotion “hasn’t been very popular,” says publicists Mindy Carr.

The Desert Botanical Gardens in January started running an experimental free shuttle every 20-30 minutes to the Priest Drive Station, around a mile and a half away. After May, the shuttle will be evaluated. Marketing Manager John Sallot says the garden gets about 5,500 daily visitors, largely drawn by the marquis Chihuly exhibit. About 90 a day come by shuttle.

On 44th Street, the Phoenix Airport Residence Inn by Marriott offers free all-day train passes and a shuttle ride to the Airport Station in one special package. Only 27 packages have sold since January, says general manager Larry Turner. More significantly, he’s seen new customers for the downtown conventions.

That’s part of a larger trend says Scott Dunn at the Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Light rail is a huge selling point for downtown conventions,” Dunn says. He says the affordable fare next to the cost of a car rental is a big plus. Also, in years past people told Phoenix tourist boosters that the lack of things to do downtown was a major reason they didn’t book conventions here. Dunn says that’s changing as conventioneers learn what’s reachable by light rail.

In east Tempe, managers at the 80-slot Apache Palms RV Park recently asked Metro for 1,000 rail brochures and report handing them out fast and furiously. Clearly rail is popular with tourists, but time will tell if they significantly move the needle on passenger counts

exit2lef
Apr 22, 2009, 12:43 PM
Sobering news about the reality of Proposition 400 in light of diminished tax revenues:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/04/22/20090422stim-transit.html

This the first time I've seen it in writing, but I'm not surprised at the mention of the NE light rail extension, the last in line in the current plan, not being built unless a new tax is approved. Voters decided back in 2004 to tax themselves at a certain rate, but if that rate is applied to a lower volume of sales than anticipated, projects must be slowed down or rethought.

Leo the Dog
Apr 22, 2009, 2:27 PM
Once Metro begins to open some extensions, such as, Northwest, Tempe and Mesa, I was thinking that they should use the turn-arounds at 12th st. and Mckinley as the end of the line of say a Red Line train and a Blue Line train.

Have each line overlap to serve DT. Red Line is an East/West serving DT to East Valley serving Central Station and then turning around at McKinley to head back towards the East Valley. Blue Line is a North/South serving DT to N. Phx/W. Phx. Once it reaches 12th St, it should turn around and start to head back to N. Phx.

Instead of having one LR Line, now we have 2. The advantage of having 2 lines could reduce delays (if there is an accident) and say the Red Line could have trains at 7.5 min intervals during peak travel times vs. 10 min intervals on the Blue...or vice versa.

Once the system starts to spread out, this will have to occur.

glynnjamin
Apr 22, 2009, 2:49 PM
Oh, sorry smart guy - I guess those 45 minute to an hour delays for minor accidents are just because the conductors and engineers running the system are all idiots... they just didn't see the other track!

Please don't write condescending responses to me like I'm 10. I didn't design the thing; I'm simply speculating that they don't use the side of oncoming trains to bypass accidents. If that is the case, you can inform me without being a turd.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings by pointing out that there is another track. I know you didn't design the thing so you clearly had no idea that there were two tracks. Please forgive me.

Jsmscaleros
Apr 22, 2009, 4:02 PM
Sorry if I hurt your feelings by pointing out that there is another track. I know you didn't design the thing so you clearly had no idea that there were two tracks. Please forgive me.

I'm simply speculating that they don't use the side of oncoming trains to bypass accidents.

Huh. I Thought I was pretty clear... at least now I know reading your posts isn't worth my time.


Moving on, does anyone know if Valley Metro has made any projections about estimated summer usage of the LRT system? I'm interested to see what happens when it's 110 degrees outside.

glynnjamin
Apr 22, 2009, 4:09 PM
Yeah - I still think that's the biggest problem with any LRT system. With heavy rail lines, there seems to always be extra track to better accommodate mechanical issues and potential delays.

With an LRT line that's on the street, you cant just have extra track running all over the place for trains to pass an obstruction or to move an accident out of the way. My only hope is that as time passes, drivers will start paying more attention... maybe that's wishful thinking.

At what point in that did you "speculate" that they didn't use the other track? Sure, there are going to be some issues that you can't avoid...downtown is just going to suffer because of the situation with 5 stops between turnarounds. But in the case of bi-directional tracks, they switch tracks and go around the obstruction. Of course, when some dummy driver's bed, clothes, and nightstand are strewn about covering both tracks and the road, there is little that either train can do.

Vicelord John
Apr 22, 2009, 5:35 PM
you guys are really arguing about this?

I read glynnjamin's comment as information, not a condescending dig at you to make you feel 10. It seemed pretty harmless.

Maybe you should get better fitting panties?

Jsmscaleros
Apr 22, 2009, 6:20 PM
http://thetransportpolitic.com/2008/12/28/phoenix-light-rail-opens/

This is an interesting blog from a few months ago that compares Phoenix METRO to others in western US cities.

"Valley Metro predicts 25,000-30,000 trips a day, which seems like a low prediction, especially considering that the light rail system of an equivalent city - Houston - is now attracting 40,000 trips a day, even though that system is only 7.5 miles long."

"...this line will serve three cities whose combined population reaches over two million. And we’re expecting 25,000 daily riders? For some perspective, consider that Portland, Oregon’s entire metro area - which has basically the equivalent population - provides 120,000 daily trips on light rail, and the vast majority of those trips occur within the city, which has a population of 575,000."

"A city of this size - it’s now bigger than Philadelphia - merits a large downtown where people are entirely transit-dependent, and a singular light rail line with 10-minute headways won’t provide that. For the most part, the biggest city in Arizona will remain a principally suburban city."

exit2lef
Apr 22, 2009, 8:13 PM
http://thetransportpolitic.com/2008/12/28/phoenix-light-rail-opens/

This is an interesting blog from a few months ago that compares Phoenix METRO to others in western US cities.

"Valley Metro predicts 25,000-30,000 trips a day, which seems like a low prediction, especially considering that the light rail system of an equivalent city - Houston - is now attracting 40,000 trips a day, even though that system is only 7.5 miles long."

"...this line will serve three cities whose combined population reaches over two million. And we’re expecting 25,000 daily riders? For some perspective, consider that Portland, Oregon’s entire metro area - which has basically the equivalent population - provides 120,000 daily trips on light rail, and the vast majority of those trips occur within the city, which has a population of 575,000."

"A city of this size - it’s now bigger than Philadelphia - merits a large downtown where people are entirely transit-dependent, and a singular light rail line with 10-minute headways won’t provide that. For the most part, the biggest city in Arizona will remain a principally suburban city."

The author has some good ideas, but also misses a few key points:

-- Any sensible transit agency is going to be deliberately conservative in estimating ridership. Better to underpromise and overdeliver than vice-versa. I doubt that the planners of either the Houston or Portland systems submitted estimates as high as the ridership is now.

-- Ridership often grows over time, and it's likely that Phoenix's numbers will reach higher levels in the years to come. Houston and especially Portland are somewhat invalid comparisons because their systems have been operating longer. The most appropriate comparisons might be with Charlotte, the last U.S. city to start light rail service before Phoenix, and Seattle, which will begin light rail service this July.

exit2lef
Apr 22, 2009, 8:30 PM
Moving on, does anyone know if Valley Metro has made any projections about estimated summer usage of the LRT system? I'm interested to see what happens when it's 110 degrees outside.

I don't know of any estimates, but it's likely that there will be seasonal fluctuations in ridership, most likely with a dip in the summer. Rail opponents will say "I told you so" and "no one's gonna ride it in the heat," but it's likely a slowdown would occur regardless of weather. Consider all that happens in the summer:

-- Fewer students using transit to commute to school
-- More people taking vacations
-- Fewer festivals and events occurring
-- Fewer performing arts events at Downtown venues
-- Fewer tourists and seasonal residents

Put this all together, and there will probably be a summer slowdown. Naysayers will be all over it, but I think it's going to just part of the natural cycle of things -- sort of like Paris has the stereotype of closing the entire city in August.

I rode yesterday, our first 100-degree day, and I was pleased that 1) the shade canopies were keeping the sun off most seats on the platform 2) passenger loads on the trains I boarded seemed in line with what I've been seeing the past few months.

Sekkle
Apr 22, 2009, 9:11 PM
The most appropriate comparisons might be with Charlotte, the last U.S. city to start light rail service before Phoenix, and Seattle, which will begin light rail service this July.

Charlotte is around 22,000 daily boardings (source (http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridership/riderep/documents/08q4lr.pdf)), though their light rail line is about half the length of Phoenix's.

Seattle's projected 2020 ridership is 100,000 (source (http://www.soundtransit.org/documents/pdf/projects/link/FACT_Link.pdf)).

combusean
Apr 22, 2009, 9:32 PM
I posted this on the guy's blog:

It’s ridiculous to think the Phoenix line serves a population of 2,000,000.

Mesa has a population of 460,000 over 133 square miles, and has ONE mile of LRT that doesn’t even go to its moribund downtown. Portland actually approaches metro-wide LRT service with the Blue Line crossing the whole area.

Other differences include system track miles, how long the system has been open, how well the local bus system is, how well downtown does TODAY, shopping and living opportunities along the line, mentalities, city form and scale…Phoenix loses automatically in all those categories.

But even after you take all the Phoenix system’s inherent misgivings holistically, we’re still doing fine: 1,600 a track mile beats Dallas, St Louis, Baltimore, and is twice the perennial loser San Jose. I could easily see extensions over time along with anticipated development pushing Phoenix’s system into the top 10.

Sekkle
Apr 22, 2009, 10:35 PM
Portland actually approaches metro-wide LRT service with the Blue Line crossing the whole area.

I wouldn't say Portland "approaches metro-wide LRT service," though you're correct that the Blue Line does cover east-west pretty well. Large sections of southeast and southwest Portland (the former being more densely popluated), as well as all the southern suburbs are un-served by light rail.

This will change when the Green Line opens in September (serving some of SE Portland and the southeastern suburb of Clackamas), and light-commuter rail service opened to Wilsonville in the far southwest in February, but the 120,000 ridership figure (which is a slight overstatement - I've never seen any number over 115,000) wouldn't include those lines.

Also, Portland's largest suburb, Vancouver, WA, is not served by light rail (and has its own bus system).

Your general points are still valid, just wanted to clarify that...

Jsmscaleros
Apr 22, 2009, 11:08 PM
-- Fewer students using transit to commute to school
-- More people taking vacations
-- Fewer festivals and events occurring
-- Fewer performing arts events at Downtown venues
-- Fewer tourists and seasonal residents

Put this all together, and there will probably be a summer slowdown. Naysayers will be all over it, but I think it's going to just part of the natural cycle of things -- sort of like Paris has the stereotype of closing the entire city in August.

That makes a lot of sense... I suppose only time will tell how significant the summer drop off really is. I wonder what the seasonal statistics say about Metro buses, too. I'm sure there's a lot of data floating around since they have been in service for decades now.

scottkag
Apr 23, 2009, 12:00 AM
-- Fewer students using transit to commute to school
-- More people taking vacations
-- Fewer festivals and events occurring
-- Fewer performing arts events at Downtown venues
-- Fewer tourists and seasonal residents



You left out one obvious one: Its too freaking hot to go outside!

nickkoto
Apr 23, 2009, 1:59 AM
You left out one obvious one: Its too freaking hot to go outside!

No, that's the classic mouthbreather excuse for why the train never should've been built.

People still need/want to go to work, go to ballgames, etc in the summer here. It won't just be an air conditioning system for the homeless as many of the mouthbreathers will tell you, but inevitably the ridership will decrease for all the reasons that Silverbear listed and they're going to jump all over it and claim that the system is some kind of flop because of it.

nickkoto
Apr 23, 2009, 2:06 AM
By the way, I took the LR home today and while it was slightly cooler today than yesterday (maybe high ninetees?), it was still hotter than what most people would call a comfortable temperature and it was still a standing-room-only 3 car train.

HooverDam
Apr 23, 2009, 4:16 AM
I was at the Tempe Earth Day 5K/Celebration today just east of the Tempe Arts Center and I saw dozens of (2 car) trains go over the lake, the lights on the bridgelooked quite nice. They're fairly subdued, but noticeable enough to make an impression, a lot of people were checking them out and pointing at them.

PhxPavilion
Apr 23, 2009, 11:14 AM
The LR should do fine during the summer for baseball games and they are air conditioned so anyone doing any kind of traveling beyond a few blocks will probably take them as well.

exit2lef
Apr 23, 2009, 12:41 PM
The CEO of METRO light rail is stepping down. It's funny; I still think of him as new on the job, but he's really been here for six years:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/04/23/20090423simonetta0423.html

Leo the Dog
Apr 23, 2009, 3:09 PM
You left out one obvious one: Its too freaking hot to go outside!

I disagree with this statement. :koko:

Yeah, Phoenix is one hot city, but if one isn't willing to wait up to 10 minutes outdoors for an AC'd train, then maybe they should play it safe and never leave their home because they might experience a little discomfort in their lives. Oh, and they might even have to interact with fellow residents of this city.

exit2lef
Apr 23, 2009, 4:01 PM
You left out one obvious one: Its too freaking hot to go outside!

Actually, my point was that light rail ridership may go down in the summer, but there are myriad reasons for that other than passengers being unwilling to walk a quarter mile and stand on a shaded platform for 15 minutes. When it was 102 the other day, I actually found it more comfortable to wait on a shaded platform for 10 minutes than to enter a hot car and wait for the AC to cool the interior. There may be ways in which hot weather indirectly affects ridership (the ones noted in my earlier post), but I doubt there will be much direct effect. Still, rail opponents will circle like vultures this summer looking for any drop in passengers loads.

Classical in Phoenix
Apr 23, 2009, 4:57 PM
I don't know how many people like me there are out there, but I think I will use light rail more in the summer. For one thing, the kids don't have school, so I am not having to go home to help with homework, bedtimes, etc. For another, even with the loss of cultural events and Suns games, there is sill the D-backs, who play on average 12 - 15 home games a month.

glynnjamin
Apr 23, 2009, 5:22 PM
Let's be honest, by June, the Dbacks are gonna be 15 games out of first place...no one is going to want to watch them anyways.

Seriously though, I have to agree with silver...I hate getting into a hot car more than anything. If I can avoid that, I'm sold.

scottkag
Apr 23, 2009, 6:17 PM
You left out one obvious one: Its too freaking hot to go outside!

I didn't realize this would be such flame bait. Judging by this non-random sample crowd, the summer heat will not be a factor. I just meant to point out the obvious fact that there are fewer people outside everywhere in Phoenix during the summer. I deserve what I get for posting obvious facts :)

oliveurban
Apr 23, 2009, 8:20 PM
The simple point is that people don't stop "living" here during the summer months just because it's hot. When this notion comes from a local it's a bit more head-shaking because we all live through it, year in, and year out. It's a fact of Phoenix life - we deal. Do people stop living in Minneapolis in January? Does their LRT system freeze solid and shut down during the winter months? Of course not.

Sure, we may not see as many people enjoying their daily afternoon jogs in the middle of August, but that doesn't mean city life here comes to a halt. People may alter their schedules a bit, maybe, but they still go out, go to work, etc., just as much as during the months of January. This includes the usage of public transit.

As long as citizens and visitors exist who are required or prefer to use public transportation to get around the city each and every day, there will be no problem. Our bus system maintains consistent usage during the summer months, so there's no reason our shiny-new LRT system won't either.

JDRCRASH
Apr 23, 2009, 8:31 PM
Has anybody suggested HSR to L.A. yet? Amtrak doesn't go through this area anymore.

oliveurban
Apr 23, 2009, 9:15 PM
Has anybody suggested HSR to L.A. yet? Amtrak doesn't go through this area anymore.

Who knows, but it's frustrating. It would be nice if Phil Gordon, our mayor who is currently in Washington right now lobbying for more stimulus funds (most notably for our airport's planned Sky Train), would also begin advocating for Phoenix's inclusion in the recently unveiled HSR plans. I know that I would highly support a connection between Phoenix and, at least, Los Angeles.

The Phoenix area is the-largest and most populated region in the country that is not included in one of the proposed initial HSR networks.

It is a glaring oversight, and frankly a little embarrassing.

glynnjamin
Apr 23, 2009, 10:15 PM
^I left him a message on his Facebook about finding money for HSP like 3 hours ago. Maybe it will get through to him.

Buckeye Native 001
Apr 23, 2009, 10:31 PM
The LR should do fine during the summer for baseball games and they are air conditioned so anyone doing any kind of traveling beyond a few blocks will probably take them as well.

Seriously. I'll gladly wait five to ten minutes outside for an air-conditioned train instead of sitting in my car on the fifth floor of the Garage Mahal for an hour after a Dbacks game and fighting traffic on Jefferson to I-10.

Who knows, but it's frustrating. It would be nice if Phil Gordon, our mayor who is currently in Washington right now lobbying for more stimulus funds (most notably for our airport's planned Sky Train), would also begin advocating for Phoenix's inclusion in the recently unveiled HSR plans. I know that I would highly support a connection between Phoenix and, at least, Los Angeles.

The Phoenix area is the-largest and most populated region in the country that is not included in one of the proposed initial HSR networks.

It is a glaring oversight, and frankly a little embarrassing.

Agreed. Look at the number of flights on US Airways and Southwest to LA and SF and how packed they usually are. Why we're not getting HSR from Phoenix to LA, at least initially, is a little ridiculous IMO.

oliveurban
Apr 23, 2009, 10:47 PM
Right. The Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego "triangle" (you could even add Tucson into the mix) is already one of the more heavily traveled air corridors in North America. It does make sense.

PhxPavilion
Apr 24, 2009, 12:28 AM
At this point California has a ways to go before their HSR plans come to fruition, and they're the ones with the money. I'm sure a line from LA or SD to LV and Phoenix will eventually take shape.

glynnjamin
Apr 24, 2009, 3:29 PM
^I was not aware that $1B deficit in California meant that they had money. At this point, the Federal Gov. is the only ones who can make fake money. Instead of reading about plans for a HSR SD-Tucson-PHX-Vegas-LA link they have been talking about for 10 years, they should have had a plan in place. Had they been ready to build, we might be seeing some sort of advancement on this over the next 10 years. As it is now, the LA-SF HSP won't be finished for 20 years and then it will take another 20 for people on the west coast to be convinced of the technology. By that point, if we can't teleport, I'm moving to Japan.

mwadswor
Apr 24, 2009, 3:32 PM
Has anybody suggested HSR to L.A. yet? Amtrak doesn't go through this area anymore.

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with everyone. I think HSR to LA would be nice, but I don't see it happening anywhere in the near future. Phoenix obviously has a large population, but there's a whole lot of nothing between here and LA. The HSR corridors that are being proposed that will actually get built (the California and some of the midwest lines) have large population centers at the end of the lines AND a large population all along the line. Phoenix-LA may be a better route than the Gulf Coast line (for example), but at that point we're just arguing for a pretty line on a map because I really don't see a lot of that map outside California, the northeast, and the midwest getting built anytime soon either.

Also, I think looking at how many planes there are or how "packed" they are is a bad tool for measuring demand. First of all, all planes should be pretty packed no matter where they're going, airlines will cut frequencies or use smaller planes if they're not because otherwise they're losing money. A lot of people do travel between LA and Phoenix, but how many are traveling from LA to Phoenix (or vice verse). Phoenix is a hub for both US Airways and Southwest, and I would bet that a majority of those people are merely connecting through Phoenix. People are not going to fly to/from Phoenix and finish there trip on HSR to/from LA.

Finally, let's say I'm wrong and there really are enough people traveling from Phoenix to LA to justify HSR. Sky Harbor is nowhere near capacity and there is plenty of room for the airlines to increase capacity. The reason the LA to San Francisco HSR is so appealing is because it's one of the most heavily traveled routes in the country AND the airlines are near capacity. The question there is whether it would be better to build HSR or more airports; not doing anything isn't really a long term option. For Phoenix-LA the question will be whether it is better to invest tens of billions in HSR or to do nothing and continue business as usual.

The final, obvious reason why HSR isn't going to be built in Arizona in the near future is that there's just no way politically. The majority of Arizonans would rather have a few dollars in their pocket than pay a few hundred million for basic education, and you think they'll want to pay tens of billions for a train line along a route that's not particularly congested in the air or just driving? There's hope for transit in Phoenix because it doesn't rely on state funding, and there might even be hope for a rail line from Tucson to Phoenix for the same reason. But a train cutting across the entire state will require support from the entire state and I just don't see that happening in my lifetime.

All that being said, it's absolutely ridiculous that Amtrak doesn't even come through Phoenix (no, Maricopa does not count). I see no reason why some of the rail funding package can't go towards reopening and improving the conventional rail line between here and LA.

oliveurban
Apr 24, 2009, 5:38 PM
Phoenix obviously has a large population, but there's a whole lot of nothing between here and LA.

This is actually an element that makes truly high-speed rail work best. The less stops and the less developed urban areas in between major destinations makes for a much more effective HSR route, and thus makes it more legitimately competitive against commercial air service. It allows the trains to reach and sustain their higher speeds for longer periods of time. Of the HSR networks that are being proposed in other regions, for example, though there may be a few more stops in between respective city pairs, there will still not be as many stops as a traditional Amtrak service would.

Also, I think looking at how many planes there are or how "packed" they are is a bad tool for measuring demand.

The point is that a heavily traveled air-route can definitely be legitimate measure of a particular route's demand (number of flights, passenger volume, etc.), but of course it is definitely not the only measure. With that said however, I know being a native Phoenician, it doesn't take a blow to the head to understand the sheer demand of travel between the Phoenix area and the Los Angeles area (LAX, Ontario, Orange County, Long Beach, Burbank, etc.), as well as to Las Vegas and or San Diego. On a very, very broad and diverse scale, all of our individual economies and commercial activities are highly interconnected. And, that of course, doesn't even begin to scrape the surface on the ingrained migratory patterns between the regions, obvious leisure activities, etc., etc.

The final, obvious reason why HSR isn't going to be built in Arizona in the near future is that there's just no way politically.

This is where I agree entirely. And that is why, considering the size and scope of Phoenix, I find it a little embarrassing it's being so blatantly overlooked.

Buckeye Native 001
Apr 24, 2009, 8:46 PM
Agreed (again) on Amtrak. I still travel to LA frequently and would love to not have to drive or put up with all the hassle at the airport (I hate flying anyway). The Maricopa train runs mostly overnight to LA (I think you leave at 11:30pm and arrive around 9am). Don't see why that couldn't be done with a line from Phoenix to LA?

Also, not that I'm complaining, especially if we somehow get Amtrak service back to Phoenix, but why wasn't Union Station torn down when service stopped back in 1996? Seems odd to leave a vacant/boarded-up station sit at that site for years with nothing done to it.

scottkag
Apr 24, 2009, 11:44 PM
Also, not that I'm complaining, especially if we somehow get Amtrak service back to Phoenix, but why wasn't Union Station torn down when service stopped back in 1996? Seems odd to leave a vacant/boarded-up station sit at that site for years with nothing done to it.

It may be boarded up, but it is far from vacant. Union Station is stuffed full of telecom equipment and the building is well maintained.

PhxPavilion
Apr 25, 2009, 2:18 AM
^I was not aware that $1B deficit in California meant that they had money. At this point, the Federal Gov. is the only ones who can make fake money. Instead of reading about plans for a HSR SD-Tucson-PHX-Vegas-LA link they have been talking about for 10 years, they should have had a plan in place. Had they been ready to build, we might be seeing some sort of advancement on this over the next 10 years. As it is now, the LA-SF HSP won't be finished for 20 years and then it will take another 20 for people on the west coast to be convinced of the technology. By that point, if we can't teleport, I'm moving to Japan.

Agreed.

vwwolfe
Apr 25, 2009, 7:22 PM
Here's a rendering of the Light Rain-PHX Sky Train connection. Looks pretty nice.

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc262/thomtastic/032609-airporttrain-rendering.jpg

PHX31
Apr 25, 2009, 8:01 PM
/\looks great!

HX_Guy
Apr 25, 2009, 8:12 PM
Looks nice, though different than what I had imagined. For some reason, I thought the trains would come closer to the rail station, with boarding on that bridge or something like that, basically an escalator ride up and directly on the train vs having to cross the bridge and then boarding. The nice thing is that the bridge will be air conditioned as will the sky train station (I assume).

I wonder how it will interact with the terminals at the airport it self, similar to this where you end up outside again once you get off or will it lead directly into the terminal via an enclosed passageway?

HX_Guy
Apr 25, 2009, 8:28 PM
I was able to find a PDF online with additional pictures and information which answers my question about the terminal being enclosed. It looks as though there will be a new entrance built for terminal that is above the current entrance, or at least that's how I am seeing the rendering. It's unclear if you will still be able to pick up/drop off people by driving up to the terminal like it is now or if you have to use the sky train to access the terminals (ie. current entry doors sealed off).

I have to say that the money they are spending on this is pretty astronomical. $1.57 Billion for a total of 4.9 miles...more cost then the light rail at 25% of the length. It's for the future and will be a good thing, but the amount of money kind of shocked me.

Here is a link to the PDF and some pictures from it:

www.phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@mayor/documents/web_content/031686.pdf

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain1.png

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain2.png

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain3.png

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain4.png

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain5.png

http://nitnelav.com/skytrain6.png

JDRCRASH
Apr 25, 2009, 9:47 PM
What makes me scratch my head even more is that although Phoenix is the nation's fifth largest city, you have to drive to Flagstaff or Tuscan to catch amtrak.