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Upward
Jan 13, 2008, 11:34 PM
Nice pics, Joel. The puddles and the soft lighting look sweet. :tup:

sundevilgrad
Jan 15, 2008, 2:00 PM
Here's an excerpt from the Governor's State of the State address last night:

We need a statewide plan to create functional new transportation corridors that serve growing communities. We also must actively include tribal governments, because all roads in Arizona – almost literally – go through Indian Country. This plan must include not just necessary freeway construction, but also transit options – including a robust rail element – because we simply cannot out-freeway the problem. Imagine expanded freeways, more local transit, plus a Tucson-to-Phoenix rail line, and you’ll see how we need to write our transportation chapter.
The Arizona transportation plan of the future envisions a state of 10 to 12 million people and a transportation infrastructure second-to-none. It will not be cheap, but we are already lagging, and to continue to wait – to play catch-up – as opposed to planning ahead will only make the whole thing cost more. By this spring, the critical studies will be near enough to completion for you to act.
I ask that you schedule hearings, and prepare to refer to the ballot – either in 2008 or 2009 – an Arizona transportation plan that provides the infrastructure we need for the decades to come.


I wasn't thrilled when I heard the more freeways part, but the Phoenix to Tucson rail line would be great. The Rio Salado/Townlake idea was a pipe-dream for 30 years until Tempe made it a reality a decade ago, maybe this time the commuter rail line between Phoenix and Tucson will actually take shape and become more than just a pipe-dream. Population is booming, oil/gas prices are skyrocketing, the fringes of the two cities are closer now than ever before, and thousands of people already make the commute each day....

andrewkfromaz
Jan 15, 2008, 3:23 PM
I love how everyone assumes they know for a fact that passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson would be a huge success, with tons of riders. I think that someday it will be necessary, but until I see professionally conducted studies that claim that people actually would use it enough to justify it, I'm staying off the rail bandwagon.
Way to play political catch-up, Napolitano.

PHX31
Jan 15, 2008, 3:57 PM
/\ SO, you know that multi-modal transportation is almost universally beneficial/important. You know that rail itself is useful and works elsewhere, and you know there is at least some demand in Arizona currently and definitely future population/employment growth... Yet, you're off the bandwagon?

I can you understand wanting to see some studies that "prove" the benefits and wothwhileness of rail, but you can still be ON the bandwagon before seeing those results. Mindsets like yours are all too prevelant. It is easier to implement a major project when there isn't 95% initial opposition, requiring 10 tmies the amount of proof to change their minds. If people were for it in the beginning, then were reassured of its success through studies, implementation would be much easier and much faster.

Too many people like you are the reason Arizona is playing catch up, rather than being proactive.

sundevilgrad
Jan 15, 2008, 5:35 PM
I love how everyone assumes they know for a fact that passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson would be a huge success, with tons of riders. I think that someday it will be necessary, but until I see professionally conducted studies that claim that people actually would use it enough to justify it, I'm staying off the rail bandwagon.
Way to play political catch-up, Napolitano.


Ahh, the Arizona wait-and-see-and-react-too-late mindset is alive and well in the younger generation...

Here's a shortlist of projects where that thinking was used:
1. Valley freeway - We're still playing catch-up.
2. Town Lake - Could it be more successful?
3. Light Rail - We'll be playing catch-up for the next 50 years...
4. Urban Development - Will we ever be a city?

Sekkle
Jan 15, 2008, 8:01 PM
From azcentral's blog section...
What's Wrong With Light Rail?
Yesterday, based on a tip, we called Metro to ask about a rumor we have heard: Namely, that an examination of the light-rail track already laid found either cracks in the rails or the potential for cracking. According to the rumor, some portion of the existing track was going to have to be replaced.

A Metro spokeswoman said she would get back to us. This morning, Metro e-mailed to say they were having a press conference at 3 p.m. today. According to the release, "members of the executive staff will present information related to an examination of rail in the light rail system."

We've called Metro officials to get more information on today's announcement. Right now all we have is a separate e-mail from Metro spokeswoman Marty McNeil, who in response to our inquiry said: "yes, there is something going on w/ rail."

According to Metro CEO Rick Simonetta, who we interviewed Friday, the light-rail agency has completed 91 percent of the rail installation. The $1.4 billion, 20-mile starter line is due to open Dec. 27.

If rail does have to be replaced, the big question this afternoon will be whether that will push Metro's opening back into 2009.
http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/CaseyNewton/14728

Do yourself a favor and don't read the comments after the article...

tempedude
Jan 15, 2008, 8:11 PM
^ I saw this a little awhile ago at azcentral. I wonder just how bad this could be. If they do have to replace part of the track, my bet is that it will probably push the opening back into 2009. Secondly, how difficult would it be to replace the rail if it needs to be done. Was the system designed for rail replacement if it were ever determined it was needed in the future? i.e. wear and tear and age.

Oh yeah, I try not to read the comments ever an azcentral, but when I do...omg I feel like going and hanging myself from the nearest tree, because im not sure I can exist in the same world as those morons.

PHX31
Jan 15, 2008, 8:20 PM
ahhhhh, my eyes!! Why didn't I take ForAteOh's advice and NOT read the comments?!?!!? Stupid people.

I've got some contacts within light rail (actual inspectors). I'll see what I can track down.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 15, 2008, 9:12 PM
Bad news on a number of levels. This is still the largest single construction project going on in Phoenix, so if these are major issues, it says bad things all over, above and beyond the impact on the opening date of the system and route businesses.

Sekkle
Jan 15, 2008, 10:32 PM
Here's the deal...
11 breaks found along light-rail lines
Casey Newton
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 15, 2008 03:09 PM

Eleven breaks have been found along Phoenix's light rail line now under construction, according to officials of Metro light rail.

Workers discovered the breaks during regular inspections. The cause is unknown. Metro has hired a consultant to determine the cause and to recommend a solution. They have discontinued rail installation in the parts of the line where breaks have been discovered. They have not yet said where.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Tuesday afternoon that he had few details but he believed that the breaks were along four and six sections of the rail line. He said the issue would not delay the $1.4 billion line's planned opening on Dec. 27. “No matter what, it's going to get fixed, and it's going to get fixed on time,” Gordon said. “It won't delay the opening.”

Metro officials agreed that it would not interfere with the December launch.

Gordon was briefed on the situation Monday by Metro CEO Rick Simonetta.

Among the remaining questions Tuesday afternoon were what caused the problem and how big the sections needing to be replaced are. Metro has built about 91 percent of the 20-mile starter line.

Gordon said the replacements were necessary to ensure the safety of the system.

“The system will be the safest system in the nation — I guarantee it,” he said.

Zeta-Tech Associates of Cherry Hill, N.J., has been hired as a consultant and will present a report on the breaks.
http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/0115railcracks0116.html

Don B.
Jan 15, 2008, 11:01 PM
^ Stuff like this happens. I imagine this is no reason to panic or revert to dramatis personae mode. They'll figure it out and get it open within a month or two of December. This stuff has to be under some sort of warranty.

--don

PHX31
Jan 15, 2008, 11:10 PM
I just talked to my informant within metro. Although Phil Gordon says it will open on time, others within are saying the opening could/will be delayed. Let's hope the political willpower fast-tracks this issue and it does open on time.

So far they've found 11 of the "breaks", but there may be more. What happened, very quickly, was they notched out a part of the rail with a plasma cutter to install a track drain. At this notch is where the failure has occured... I don't know who or where said it was OK to install it like that (if that is to spec or not, or even an approved installation method, i don't know). But apparently there are more locations where they have made this notch/installation, and they will be inspecting all locations, so it could be even more widespread. I also don't know if it is confined to one or more of the line sections, but it might only be within line section 3. That's pretty much all I've got.

Sekkle
Jan 15, 2008, 11:29 PM
^ Thanks for the inside info!

andrewkfromaz
Jan 16, 2008, 12:05 AM
Yeah good job! It sounds like they really don't know enough to say for sure whether it will open on time, but I'd say there is reason for optimism.

combusean
Jan 16, 2008, 12:43 AM
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Tuesday afternoon that he had few details but he believed that the breaks were along four and six sections of the rail line. He said the issue would not delay the $1.4 billion line's planned opening on Dec. 27. “No matter what, it's going to get fixed, and it's going to get fixed on time,” Gordon said. “It won't delay the opening.”

Well, I guess now that he's won re-election he can BS voters and not be accountable to them. Artificial construction deadlines are one thing (eg ASU) but the light rail is slightly different. If he promises that it will open up on time until it doesn't, the entire system's credibility is hampered.

sundevilgrad
Jan 16, 2008, 1:25 AM
Well, I guess now that he's won re-election he can BS voters and not be accountable to them. Artificial construction deadlines are one thing (eg ASU) but the light rail is slightly different. If he promises that it will open up on time until it doesn't, the entire system's credibility is hampered.

Why would the credibility of the entire system be hampered? Things like this happen. They've found the nonconformance before any major mishaps occurred (i.e. trains crashing, etc.) and will fix the problem.

HX_Guy
Jan 16, 2008, 1:34 AM
I don't think the credibility will be literally hampered, as in, there won't be any accidents or such, but I do think this is bad publicity for the light rail. People are already suspicious of light rail and the last thing we need is something saying that there are cracks.

We had a customer who's restaurant had a hepatitis incident a few years back and even today, two years later, they said things still aren't as they once were.
Even when the rails are fixed, people will still remember and it will be in the back of their heads.

PhxPavilion
Jan 16, 2008, 2:27 AM
I'll tell you one thing, this light rail project has been mishandled from the start.

Rather than doing the obvious and concentrating construction on small sections of track to minimise traffic problems the geniuses decided to start construction on the entire 20 mile line at the same time, creating the roadway warzone we are familiar with and killing a ton of local businesses at the same time.

I can't imagine removing the two or three lanes on the roads to make way for this is going to help congestion in the future either. The powers that be should have reconsidered the design for this to be either elevated or underground, light rail is an old technology and Phoenix really shouldn't have settled for medeocrity.

Sekkle
Jan 16, 2008, 2:44 AM
^ Light rail isn't an "old technology" any more than a subway or elevated rail system system. Light rail is much cheaper to build than either elevated rail or subway. A proposal for an elevated rail system was defeated soundly in the early 90s (Valtrans). With the anti-transit, anti-tax mentality that is so prevalent in Arizona, people were not going to go for something more expensive than LRT. Light rail works quite well in many other cities, hopefully it will be effective, or at least a catylist for more a more urban type of development in the Phoenix area as well.

Worrying about removing lanes from the already enormous arterial streets in Phoenix is something for anti-transit people to do. The one or two lanes removed from Central, Washington, etc will have very little impact on traffic in the city as a whole I think, whereas light rail has the potential to attract people to transit, or at least increase density along a transit line, which could go a lot further toward solving traffic problems.

HX_Guy
Jan 16, 2008, 2:49 AM
A subway would have cost 10X as much, so instead of $1.4 Billion, we'd be looking at $14 Billion...do you really think the public would go for that? Elevated would have cost 4X as much and again, would have taken some of the roadway, possibly just as much, maybe one lane less.

I don't really think it will help congestion really, and in a way, that's good. Why? Because hopefully people will get fed up enough with sitting in traffic and actually ride the rail. Is the same effect that high parking costs in other downtown has, people don't want to pay $20-$30 for parking, so they take public transportation instead.

PhxPavilion
Jan 16, 2008, 3:19 AM
Phoenix is nowhere near a transit oriented city; Phoenix is a city of sprawl, freeways and the vehicles that go with it. You can't throw a 20 mile track in the heart of it and then expect the vast majority of people who live outside of it to abandon their vehicles, it's not that simple. It would make sense if more people lived downtown but as it stands that percentage is very small.

Other cities have managed to afford both elevated and subway systems, why can't the 5th largest city? You don't have to go all out at once and build a giant maze of underground tunnels, you only have to create a small section easily linking the downtown core, or in Phoenix's case, the 4 or 5 miles down Central and expand from there as needed. Such would alleviate traffic congestion by not removing lanes from Phoenix's large population of cars and would also provide a way out of the sun during the hot summer months rather than forcing people to sit outside at these stations in 115 degree heat waiting for the train to arrive. It's good that this light rail will connect Tempe and Glendale but the way it's been handled is akin to jumping head first into a shallow pool rather than waiting for the pool for fill with more water. Light rail may work for other cities but Phoenix is not like other cities, period.

Sekkle
Jan 16, 2008, 3:38 AM
^ That doesn't make much sense to me. How can a sprawling city like Phoenix support a subway system, but light rail won't work? Yes, larger cities (much larger than phoenix when you look at metro area population, which is really what counts in terms of a city's size, and much more dense which is really what counts in terms of high capacity transit) have subway and elevated rail. They were built decades ago. Investment in rail is much harder to do nowadays, so cities turn to LRT which, while it has less capacity and moves less efficiently than a grade-separated heavy rail system, can be justified to tax-fearing populations like Arizona's.

HooverDam
Jan 16, 2008, 3:40 AM
Light rail may work for other cities but Phoenix is not like other cities, period.

I usually find that when people say 'period' in their arguments, they're generally wrong.

LRT was the only thing that would've gotten passes in Phoenix. Like others have said, the arterial streets in Phoenix are like mini highways, cutting a lane or two out of just a few roads isn't going to hurt traffic.

You're right that most people aren't going to ditch their cars and ride the rails. In fact, with the growth of the population, I doubt we'll see any reduction in rush hour highway traffic. However, thats a deceiving way of looking at it, with out the light rail, the traffic would probably increase.

The only way LRT will be successful in the Valley is if we slow our periphery building and replace it w/ more T.O.D.. If we can get even 1% of the population live with in a short range to the LRT, it would be a huge success.

tempedude
Jan 16, 2008, 5:19 AM
This article is a gives us a little more information than what we already know.
It seems like other cities have had a similar issue with their LRT lines. I highlighted what I found most interesting. The problem doesn't seem as bad as it sounds. Which is good news. I hope.
------------------------------------------------------------------

January 15, 2008 - 8:47PM
Inspections find 11 cracks in light-rail track
Garin Groff, Mark Flatten, Tribune

The Metro light-rail track has split in 11 places for reasons transit officials admit they don’t understand.

Yet workers continue to lay down more track even as Metro officials work with a consultant to determine what went wrong and how to fix it. Transit officials acknowledged they’ll need to dip into a contingency fund for repairs but refused to speculate on the cost or time needed for the work.

Metro CEO Rick Simonetta insisted the mysterious breaks will not delay the system’s December opening — even under a worst-case scenario.

“We will do what needs to be done to ensure we have a safe operating system on day one,” Simonetta said.

Inspectors found the first break in mid-December, which triggered further inspections and the discovery of more cracks. They’re located across 12 miles of track that have been installed, from Central Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix to where the line ends in west Mesa.

The rail broke off cleanly, appearing as a gap between two pieces of track. Most gaps are about 2 inches, but the range is from half an inch to 7 inches.

The tracks broke by drainage grates, though officials refused to speculate whether the breaks are related to flaws in design or workmanship.

“This isn’t the time to find where the blame is,” Simonetta said.

The repairs won’t require additional road restrictions because the work will occur in the trackway, Simonetta said.

The cold weather likely played a role in the breaks, said Brian Buchanan, the director of construction. He worked on the construction of a light-rail line in Minneapolis, which had three similar breaks in the winter when temperatures were as low as minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Workers welded pieces to fill the gaps for less than $10,000, he said. The track split in the winter, before the system opened, and never split again, Buchanan said.

Similar breaks have occurred in other new rail systems across the nation, Buchanan said, and are usually repaired quickly.

The breaks could result from the steel tracks contracting during cold weather, said Joe Marie, director of operations and maintenance.

Rail officials hope the track will stabilize after its first year of being exposed to hot and cold weather, he said.

“The rail will eventually find equilibrium and get to the point where it just sits there,” Marie said.

Inspectors will continue to check the track for breaks on existing track and once the final eight miles of the 20-mile system are installed in the next few months.

Metro has hired Zeta-Tech Associates of Cherry Hill, N.J., to advise it on the breaks.

The firm cut a section of track out that it’s testing now. It will review the design and installation in a report that should be released in a few weeks.

Metro has an initial contract with the company for $50,000, though the study may cost more. Any repairs would come from a contingency fund for the $1.4 billion project.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/106649

andrewkfromaz
Jan 16, 2008, 5:59 AM
Yeah I was thinking if they find a really bad cause for the cracking, that would be one scenario where the system would not open on time. If in fact the cause is simply not engineering proper expansion/contraction joints, it may be a simple fix.
I wish the Phoenician political process required someone like the mayor to be more careful with his guarantees. It's obvious he has political aspirations, how can he say something like this, knowing that it's nearly impossible to really guarantee that the system will open on time?

PhxPavilion
Jan 16, 2008, 7:00 AM
I usually find that when people say 'period' in their arguments, they're generally wrong.

LRT was the only thing that would've gotten passes in Phoenix. Like others have said, the arterial streets in Phoenix are like mini highways, cutting a lane or two out of just a few roads isn't going to hurt traffic.

You're right that most people aren't going to ditch their cars and ride the rails. In fact, with the growth of the population, I doubt we'll see any reduction in rush hour highway traffic. However, thats a deceiving way of looking at it, with out the light rail, the traffic would probably increase.

The only way LRT will be successful in the Valley is if we slow our periphery building and replace it w/ more T.O.D.. If we can get even 1% of the population live with in a short range to the LRT, it would be a huge success.

I wish I were wrong but I honestly don't expect this is going to take off very well. Why is downtown the way it is? When you realize why it becomes obvious light rail isn't going to magically fix everything and void the causality behind it. It will most likely help, but I don't suspect we'll see the fruits of the labor (and costs) until years down the road when things get going downtown, assuming that ever happens.

sundevilgrad
Jan 16, 2008, 1:51 PM
I wish I were wrong but I honestly don't expect this is going to take off very well. Why is downtown the way it is? When you realize why it becomes obvious light rail isn't going to magically fix everything and void the causality behind it. It will most likely help, but I don't suspect we'll see the fruits of the labor (and costs) until years down the road when things get going downtown, assuming that ever happens.

And what are you basing your opinion on? Light Rail has worked in San Diego, Denver, Salt Lake, Portland, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis and other places. In each of those cities the detractors said it would never work and it wasn't worth the money. As it turns out, LtR has been a huge success in every single one of those city's and some of them are just as car oriented as Phoenix (Houston and Dallas anyone).

Please support you LtR doomsday theory with something more than just baseless opinion.

PHX31
Jan 16, 2008, 5:26 PM
Back on the light rail breaks issue. I talked with another guy within metro and got some more information. Basically, it's valley metro's fault, even though they're trying to find a way to spread around blame as much as they can.

As you can see in some of the pictures on azcentral, there are track drains, used to drain water out of the track groove itself (i don't know why you would need/want to do that... to prevent ice from forming in the rail? - as if that would ever happen).

Here is a "good" notch with the rail not yet breaking/failing (you can see the rest of the rail is still in tact) - photos courtesy of azcentral:
http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/commphotos/view.php?id=112751

Here is a picture where the whole track broke/failed at a notch at a track drain:
http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/commphotos/view.php?id=112848

Originally, the general contractors on a couple of the line sections put in an RFI to the GEC of Valley Metro on how to install the track drains. Valley Metro responded by telling them to use the plasma cutters and notch out a section of the rail to let the water flow out of the track into the drain. My guy said that in a meeting he was in, the general contractor actually asked Valley Metro if they were sure they wanted them to do it like that, they affirmed. Well, when it got cold, the weak track (from a combination of the notch taken out of it, and the heat put on it from the plasma cutter itself) contracted causing the track to break.

In order to repair it, they are going to have to remove about 15 to 27' of the entire guideway (concrete, rail, rebar and all), depending on the location, in order for them to correctly reinstall/weld in a new section of rail.

I really don't know how they're going to make it on time. If this pushes back the completion more than a couple weeks or a couple of months, it is still required to complete a long period of testing (for safety reasons as well as since it is a federally funded project).

It isn't just limited to Line Section 3, but other line sections installed the track drain like this.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 16, 2008, 5:32 PM
Oooooops.... That's shocking that they'll have to remove everything in order to simply replace some track. I'm starting to think this means a delay. That's a lot of work, and then how do they create a new joint at each end of the replaced track? It seems like simply making a replacement could require some engineering lead time. Let's hop it doesn't take too long...

PhxSprawler
Jan 16, 2008, 5:33 PM
I wish I were wrong but I honestly don't expect this is going to take off very well. Why is downtown the way it is? When you realize why it becomes obvious light rail isn't going to magically fix everything and void the causality behind it. It will most likely help, but I don't suspect we'll see the fruits of the labor (and costs) until years down the road when things get going downtown, assuming that ever happens.

Light rail has ALREADY proven successful in the Phoenix Metro. The 30-story Centerpoint tower in tempe wasn't built without light rail in mind. Without listing them, there are at least 12 other infill projects off the top of my head that cited lightrail as being a catalyst for building in the first place in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Drive along the line and look at all the new buildings. It is not a simple coincidence. People are already moving closer to where light rail will be, just as people have moved to locations where the freeways are anticipated. It works both ways, except one is clearly more efficient than the other. It won't "most likely help," it simply HAS ALREADY HELPED!

In response to others on here and any Azcentral poster who comes accross this thread, it is a HUGE misconception that light rail was ever built to alleviate traffic congestion. It is simply a transportation alternative for those who do not wish to sit in traffic congestion and for those who cannot drive, and the "crazy tax" cost associated with it is far less per person than building freeways when you include the hidden costs of freeways and gained efficiencies from light rail.

PHX31
Jan 16, 2008, 5:47 PM
Oooooops.... That's shocking that they'll have to remove everything in order to simply replace some track. I'm starting to think this means a delay. That's a lot of work, and then how do they create a new joint at each end of the replaced track? It seems like simply making a replacement could require some engineering lead time. Let's hop it doesn't take too long...

There aren't expansion joints on the actual track/rails themselves. The joint will be a weld (not sure what type). You can't just cut out the rail from it's concrete embedment and then replace it. If you notice, the construction of the light rail goes rail, then rebar, then you pour in the concrete guideway. Since they're basically needing to reinstall the rail, they have to rip it all out to property reinstall it and to properly weld in the new section of the rail.


PHXSprawler, very good points. I'm never reading or trying to convince any azcentral poster of anything ever again. Why oh why didn't I listen to ForAteOh??!?

gymratmanaz
Jan 16, 2008, 5:58 PM
I heard on the news or read in the paper that they do not expect any delay from the December opening.

tempedude
Jan 16, 2008, 6:09 PM
It is bad news that Metro has to go back and make repairs to the rail. However, I am relieved that there doesn't appear to be a fundamental flaw in the overall design of the system. If I am understanding the breakage problem correctly, what happened is they compromised the integrity(strength) of the rail when they cut into it with the plasma cutter to install the track drains.

If Metro plans on making the Dec. 27th opening, sounds to me like they will have to begin 24 hour operations on making repairs when they begin.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 16, 2008, 6:12 PM
There aren't expansion joints on the actual track/rails themselves. The joint will be a weld (not sure what type). You can't just cut out the rail from it's concrete embedment and then replace it. If you notice, the construction of the light rail goes rail, then rebar, then you pour in the concrete guideway. Since they're basically needing to reinstall the rail, they have to rip it all out to property reinstall it and to properly weld in the new section of the rail.

Sounds like fun. Would you say the only way they can prevent a delay with this amount of work would be to do all of the replacement at the same time as ongoing construction? I wonder if it would be worth it to go back over to gravel guideway fill in the newly replaced sections to prevent delaying the opening. That would save money and the little time it takes to allow the concrete to cure before testing can resume/start over.

HX_Guy
Jan 16, 2008, 6:15 PM
I agree, I don't think it should delay anything if they do the repairs while continuing to work on the new rail. The only thing might be that they need to stop all construction until a cause is found, and that would delay things.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 17, 2008, 10:20 PM
PHX31 (or anyone) hear anything more recent? The official outlets were so quick to assure everyone that there would be no delays, I guess they think it worked and we don't care anymore? How about some proof as to exactly what happened and how they will make repairs in time to prevent a delayed opening?

PHX31
Jan 17, 2008, 11:41 PM
Nothing new here. They're probably waiting for the outcome of the little investigation they are doing. Then they'll think of the best solution and hopefully have the GCs implement it as fast as possible.

tempedude
Jan 18, 2008, 7:19 AM
Nothing new here. They're probably waiting for the outcome of the little investigation they are doing. Then they'll think of the best solution and hopefully have the GCs implement it as fast as possible.

Question: Is the most likely cause of the breaks in the rail related to the fact that they notched out(cut into the steel) of the rail line itself and compromised the integrity of the rail on a molecular level. Then you get the expansion and contraction events going on with the weather, which caused the rail to snap at those locations(where the track drains were installed)?

PhxPavilion
Jan 18, 2008, 11:46 AM
Light rail has ALREADY proven successful in the Phoenix Metro. The 30-story Centerpoint tower in tempe wasn't built without light rail in mind. Without listing them, there are at least 12 other infill projects off the top of my head that cited lightrail as being a catalyst for building in the first place in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Drive along the line and look at all the new buildings. It is not a simple coincidence. People are already moving closer to where light rail will be, just as people have moved to locations where the freeways are anticipated. It works both ways, except one is clearly more efficient than the other. It won't "most likely help," it simply HAS ALREADY HELPED!

In response to others on here and any Azcentral poster who comes accross this thread, it is a HUGE misconception that light rail was ever built to alleviate traffic congestion. It is simply a transportation alternative for those who do not wish to sit in traffic congestion and for those who cannot drive, and the "crazy tax" cost associated with it is far less per person than building freeways when you include the hidden costs of freeways and gained efficiencies from light rail.

Light rail wasn't responsible for Centerpoint, it was merely another incentive. Tempe is land locked, they don't have too many choices and the ASU downtown area is growing, light rail or not.

Yes, it is spurring some development along its line but I did not say it wasn't, I said I don't have too much faith that it will have a huge rider base or help traffic and yes, light rail is an alternative form of transportation that is ultimately supposed to reduce traffic by getting people to ride it instead of their cars as well as connect the cities and areas. I am not a naysayer for the sake of it, but I am not a blind cheerleader either. A city of sprawl and cars will not change overnight, sorry to burst your bubble.

Ultimately, it is another project of many that need to happen to change downtown but I am still dissappointed in the end result and think it could have been better managed and designed. If you don't think so, fair enough.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 18, 2008, 3:44 PM
Question: Is the most likely cause of the breaks in the rail related to the fact that they notched out(cut into the steel) of the rail line itself and compromised the integrity of the rail on a molecular level. Then you get the expansion and contraction events going on with the weather, which caused the rail to snap at those locations(where the track drains were installed)?

As near as we can tell at this point their decision to cut ("notch") into the steel rail itself weakened the rail track enough that it snapped.

PhxSprawler
Jan 18, 2008, 9:23 PM
Just out of curiousity, does anyone else receive these newsletters from Valley Metro? They should be routed to everyone at every major company in the county. Like most people, I generally delete them. It is amazing how much organizations are doing to encourage public transit in the area, but I suspect it is all falling on deaf ears. Who knew there was a bike month? I am certain there are people who have lived here their whole life and have never used public transit, or even realized how available it really is.

TRANSIT STOPS:

• Regular weekday transit service will be available on Martin Luther King Day--Monday, January 21, 2008

• West Valley Service Extended for Super Bowl Week Jan 28-Feb 3. More

5am-Midnight on Five Routes

New! Transit Service Changes Start Jan 28

Valley Metro riders asked for more transit service and starting January 28, 2008, we’ll deliver! Highlighting the service increase are five Valley Metro bus routes that will hit the streets at 5:00am and run until midnight. Two new neighborhood circulator routes will also begin rolling—DART in the north Phoenix Desert Ridge area and Deer Run in northwest Phoenix. Additional RAPID trips will be added to improve service and ease overcrowding. The five routes with extended 5am-Midnight service are:

--Route 8 (7th Ave.)
--Route 10 (Roosevelt/Grant St.)
--Route 15 (15th Ave.)
--Route 43 (43rd Ave.)
--Route 77 (Baseline Rd.)

Check the Valley Metro Website to preview transit service changes and find out if your route or schedule is changing. The new Bus Book will be available on buses starting Jan 21.

Transit Info 24/7 on Your Cell or Mobile Device!

Tired of wasting time searching for a bus book and lugging it around everywhere you go? Valley Metro has a better idea! You can now access transit information 24/7 from your web-enabled handheld device or cell phone.

All Valley Metro bus schedules, the online trip planner, rider alerts and agency news are featured in mobile view format at www.valleymetro.org. The site also has a “text only” feature for the visually impaired. Riders can still get bus routes, schedules and other information in the Bus Book, online at www.valleymetro.org or by calling 602-253-5000.

ASU Basketball-Hot Tickets to Hot Games

In case you haven’t heard, the ASU Men’s basketball team is turning up the heat this season and you have a chance to win a pair of tickets and see the blazing Sun Devils in person! ASU is off to a 3-0 start in the Pac 10 Conference, has a 9-game winning streak and just crashed the AP poll ranked at #22.

If you’re an Alternative Mode User, enter the ASU Basketball Contest on the Valley Metro Website. For each remaining home game, two winners will be selected and receive two tickets. You can also enter to win tickets to ASU Women’s basketball. The Lady Sun Devils are also having a great season. They’re 5-0 in the Pac 10 and ranked #25 in the country.

Valley Metro to the Rescue (Essay Contest)

Once upon a time, you were fighting the freeway at rush hour… Stressed to the max. Then you discovered Valley Metro and now you ride the bus or vanpool to work… or maybe you found a new carpool buddy at ShareTheRide.com.

Whatever your story, we’re interested. Enter the Valley Metro To The Rescue Essay Contest and tell us in 150-200 words how Valley Metro helped relieve your stress, saved you time, money, or changed your life. We’ll select three semi-finalists and post their photos and essays on our Website. The public will vote online and the essay with the most votes wins the Grand Prize-- a relaxing, luxurious Two-Night Stay at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Resort, a AAA-Five Diamond resort. Runner-up prizes will also be awarded.

So get those creative juices flowing and enter on the Valley Metro Website! The deadline is Friday, February 8, 2008.

Carpoolers, Vanpoolers, Bus Riders… Be a Star!

Valley Metro is looking for individuals who found new friendships, business deals, a hiking buddy, even love with someone they met through a carpool, vanpool or bus ride. Do you know someone with an interesting story about how carpooling, vanpooling or riding the bus brought unexpected "benefits" into their lives? Valley Metro is working with local media to tell these stories throughout the month of February. If you have a story or know someone who does, call us right away! Contact Tara La Bouff at 480-317-6064 or e-mail: tara.labouff@rrpartners.com

Valley Bike Month April 1-30, 2008
Events Calendar-Save The Date

• Avondale Spring Fling
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Avondale Civic Center Amphitheater

• Bike-a-Palooza
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Kiwanis Park, Tempe

• Peoria “Pioneer Days” Family Bike Ride
Saturday, April 5th, 2008
Old Town Peoria, 83rd Ave. & Washington

• Glendale Family Bike Ride
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Sahuaro Ranch Park, Glendale.

• Bike to Work/School Day
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Valleywide

• Great Bike Chase Family Fun Ride
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Margaret Hance Park to Chase Field, Downtown Phoenix
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres
Tickets $14 will be available online

Watch for more information coming soon on these and other Valley Bike Month events!

Sonoran_Dweller
Jan 18, 2008, 9:56 PM
I know this was talked about a little bit ago, but the Republic now has an article.

Megabus stops service from Tempe, Phoenix
Kerry Fehr-Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 18, 2008 12:14 PM

An ultra-low fare bus service from Tempe and Phoenix to Los Angeles has quietly stopped serving the market.

Megabus.com, with fares starting at $1.50 each way, required passengers to book their trips online or via a toll-free number. It began service in August and also sold trips from LA to San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Las Vegas.

It discontinued the Tempe-Phoenix-LA route Jan. 7.

Unlike its entrance into the market and subsequent changes in service, megabus.com did not announce its pullout from Phoenix to the media. The discontinuation is noted on its Web site, although Phoenix is misspelled twice in the announcement.

"Due to low ridership, megabus.com regrets to announce that it will no longer be service Tempe and Pheonix (sic) from January 7th," the site states. Dale Moser, the company's chief operating officer, didn't return calls seeking further comment or explanation.

Megabus didn't have a traditional bus depot from which to operate. Instead, it picked up passengers at city bus stops in downtown Tempe and downtown Phoenix.

The service tried tweaking its operations several times to increase ridership. In October, it extended how far in advance trips could be booked online. It initially offered service only from Tempe but added a Phoenix stop in November.

Although one-way fares started at $1 plus a 50-cent Internet transaction fee, fares topped out at about $45 each way.

In November, Moser said ridership had been slow to take off in Phoenix. At the time, the 56-seat buses were running 70 percent empty. That means fewer than 16 passengers were aboard on any given trip.
http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/0118tr-megabus1118.html

I don't think they even had it running long enough to let people know about the service, or to even allow the ridership to grow. I was planning on taking it this summer to LA...darn!!
And what is up with them spelling Phoenix wrong...Pheonix. Obviously they don't care about the city, thats why they left.

andrewkfromaz
Jan 19, 2008, 12:33 AM
PhxSprawler,
I get some kind of newsletter regarding Valley Metro, I think it might be from Phoenix though?

tempedude
Jan 19, 2008, 1:14 PM
January 19, 2008 - 3:36AM
New ADOT signs to display estimated travel times
Garin Groff, Tribune

The best way to estimate your travel time on the freeway generally has been to see how many tail lights in front of you are suddenly turning red.

That should change Tuesday afternoon, when message boards on freeways will display estimated travel times during morning and afternoon rush hours.

A dozen boards will display times based on data from hundreds of sensors that detect speed and traffic volumes. The Arizona Department of Transportation will test the time displays for a year to see if they’re as popular as in other metro areas that have similar displays.

“Even if it doesn’t change commute times, drivers have had a positive reaction, because they receive the information directly and it allows them to make decisions about alternate routes,” ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel said.

Half the signs will show travel times toward downtown Phoenix from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The others will show outbound times from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Some boards will show times to one location, while others will show two destinations. The times displayed are rounded up to the nearest five-minute interval, so a 21-minute estimate would be displayed as 25 minutes.

An example: In the morning, a signboard on westbound U.S. 60 at Extension Road will show the time to reach the Deck Park tunnel on Interstate 10. That assumes many of those drivers are headed to downtown Phoenix.

“We chose locations that will reach the largest number of commuters,” Nintzel said.

ADOT will replace the travel time information when necessary with higher priority information, such as road closures or Amber Alerts, Nintzel said. ADOT won’t alternate between time displays and other warnings out of the fear the change could distract drivers. The agency expects that just the static travel times could slow drivers initially, Nintzel said.

“We anticipate that some drivers may slow down when the program first starts, but as with other messages, over time drivers adjust to that,” he said.

ADOT will review the $420,000 test after a year to see if it’s worth continuing. The agency will study whether it helps travel times and whether drivers find it useful.

The displays are automated and based on data for traffic information that’s already online at www.az511.com. The signs won’t cover all freeways, such as Loop 101, because some places don’t have the sensors required to generate the data.

http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/3505/trafficstorywf0.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
SIGNS: One of the new ADOT displays along I-10 Friday in Tempe.
Photo: Lisa Olson, Tribune

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/106995

tempedude
Jan 21, 2008, 5:17 PM
I don't know if anyone has seen this yet, but this article provides considerably more information abut the light rail problem recently discovered. In fact, in the article and official from the TRAX system in Salt Lake City has made comments about Phoenix's new system.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

January 20, 2008 - 10:17PM
Light-rail officials expect more breaks
Garin Groff, Tribune

Metro officials anticipate additional sections of the light-rail track could break, adding to the multiple gaps they’ve already identified in the system. And the veteran of another light-rail system said even more sections will come apart, no matter how much care contractors take while laying the steel tracks.

“You’re going to get breaks,” said Ron Benson, deputy general manager of the TRAX rail system in Salt Lake City.

But officials with Metro and other systems where tracks have split apart said the much-publicized — yet not fully understood — gaps on the Arizona system shouldn’t jeopardize passenger safety.

The breaks raised speculation about faulty construction or design on the 20-mile, $1.4 billion system.

But officials at other agencies agree such cracks are common the first winter after rail is put down, as cold temperatures cause metal to contract and split. Problematic areas become obvious the first year and are less frequent in following years, Benson said.

He characterized breaks as nuisances, not serious threats.

The 19.7-mile long TRAX had four breaks on new lines before the system was ready for passengers. At least two breaks followed once trains carried commuters, including one recently on a track in service seven years, Benson said.

As on the Metro line, most gaps are two inches. The breaks aren’t ideal but are passable.

“You could run over a three-inch break. You wouldn’t hardly even know it,” Benson said. “You’re not coming off the track.” At most, passengers would feel a bump, he said.

Metro wouldn’t knowingly ride over a gap, said Joe Marie, director of operations and maintenance. Once service begins in December, the first train of every day will run without passengers at 3-5 mph as a conductor inspects the route for breaks or other problems.
Metro will conduct even more inspections by foot, Marie said.

“Every foot of the 20 miles will be inspected on a weekly basis,” he said.

If a break is found, Metro would shift the train to a parallel track until crews fixed the gap.

Marie acknowledged a rail could break midday but said that wouldn’t pose a risk in most cases. A gap of 5 or 6 inches would be passable, he said. But it’s likely a train could go over Metro’s largest gap, 7 inches, while causing a bump and making lots of noise.

“We’re not talking about a derailment situation,” Marie said. “We’re talking about something that doesn’t sound right.” The trains won’t go over 35 mph in most cases, so they’re not likely to jump the tracks.

TRAX operators identified breaks before a train ever could pass over them, Benson said.
When they’ve been found, workers have welded metal pieces in the gap and had the track back in service within three hours of discovering the problem. Each repair cost about $2,000.

Five breaks occurred on the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis before its trains carried their first passengers. New metal was welded into the gaps and no other tracks have broken since the gaps were discovered in late 2003 and early 2004, said Bob Gibbons, Hiawatha’s director of customer services.

The breaks in the Phoenix line sound common for a new system, Gibbons said.

“I don’t think it means you have shoddy rail or shoddy welding,” Gibbons said.

Even heavy-rail tracks break in cold, Benson said. Union Pacific tracks adjacent to TRAX lines broke in many places recently when Minneapolis temperatures plunged to 6 degrees, he said.

“The Union Pacific has been repairing breaks like mad,” Benson said, adding the railroad constantly deals with breaks.

Metro officials announced 11 breaks earlier this week but later described the number as an oversimplification. Eight breaks have occurred, Metro spokeswoman Marty McNeil said later.
Nine other spots are chipped or fractured and are a concern.

“We think there’s a chance they’re going to break,” McNeil said.

Metro has hired New Jersey-based Zeta-Tech Associates to identify the cause and possible fixes. Transit officials refused to speculate on repair cost or if warranties cover the fixes until the consultant releases a report in a few weeks.

The initial breaks on the Salt Lake line didn’t cost taxpayers anything, Benson said. Such repairs were warranty items and covered for one year after passenger service began, which Benson said is a common contract clause authorities negotiate with contractors.

The Metro repairs would likely come from a contingency fund of $43 million if they aren’t covered under warranty.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/107087

sundevilgrad
Jan 21, 2008, 6:08 PM
Metro wouldn’t knowingly ride over a gap, said Joe Marie, director of operations and maintenance. Once service begins in December, the first train of every day will run without passengers at 3-5 mph as a conductor inspects the route for breaks or other problems.
Metro will conduct even more inspections by foot, Marie said.

“Every foot of the 20 miles will be inspected on a weekly basis,” he said.


Okay, this is obviously bullsh*t. If the first train every day went over the track at 3-5 mph, it would take 8 hours for that train to cover all 40 miles of track (20 miles one-way, 40 round trip). If two trains are doing this job, i.e. one in each direction, it would still take at least 4 hours at 5mph to inspect half of the line. Obviously, if they plan on doing this everyday they would have to do it late at night, when the service is shut down, so it couldn't be the "first train of the day". That means that they'd be doing the inspection at night. How could you possibly get an accurate visual inspection of the line at night?

andrewkfromaz
Jan 21, 2008, 7:15 PM
This sounds like a junior-high level (or so, I can't tell you how much I hate math) word problem. If one train went east from 44th and Washington, and one went west, and the LAST trains from the west end and east end headed back towards the maintenance/storage station, combined with these new-fangled inventions called electric lights, I think it's doable. It does seem kinda silly though. There has to be a better way.

HX_Guy
Jan 21, 2008, 7:24 PM
It would obviously be two trains minimum, one in each direction and if it does take 4 hours, that's not that bad. They will probably do it in the late night/early morning...say between 2 am - 6 am or whatever the scheduled break in service is.

sundevilgrad
Jan 21, 2008, 10:25 PM
It would obviously be two trains minimum, one in each direction and if it does take 4 hours, that's not that bad. They will probably do it in the late night/early morning...say between 2 am - 6 am or whatever the scheduled break in service is.


That's fine, and the times may work out, but how much credibility would you give a visual inspection that's done at night with limited visability? Horrible idea.

Phxbyrd211
Jan 21, 2008, 10:26 PM
you can't do it first thing in the morning because during the winter months the morning trains will be running while it's still dark.

HX_Guy
Jan 21, 2008, 10:33 PM
That's fine, and the times may work out, but how much credibility would you give a visual inspection that's done at night with limited visability? Horrible idea.

Personally I will be ok with it. At 5MPH, with strong lighting, I don't think it will be a problem to see a gap in the line.

Also, they might have a system that checks the line that we don't know about...or if they don't, maybe they should. Something that gets mounted to the front of the train and scans the track for gaps/cracks...some sort of laser system.

gymratmanaz
Jan 21, 2008, 11:45 PM
maybe a really good seeing eye dog?

sundevilgrad
Jan 22, 2008, 2:29 AM
Personally I will be ok with it. At 5MPH, with strong lighting, I don't think it will be a problem to see a gap in the line.

Also, they might have a system that checks the line that we don't know about...or if they don't, maybe they should. Something that gets mounted to the front of the train and scans the track for gaps/cracks...some sort of laser system.


Good call.

Cranetastic
Jan 22, 2008, 4:55 AM
One word - Maglev

PhxPavilion
Jan 22, 2008, 6:40 AM
One word - Maglev

Indeed.

PhxSprawler
Jan 22, 2008, 5:22 PM
you can't do it first thing in the morning because during the winter months the morning trains will be running while it's still dark.

We can hire Wyle E. Coyote in a mining car wearing a lighted Miner's helmet to check the tracks. Problem solved.

tempedude
Jan 24, 2008, 4:50 PM
Here are are some up close and personal pictures of the nearly completed station at Priest Dr. and Washington St.. I snapped the pics with my cell phone camera when I was out for my morning workout. Sorry for the grainy quality.

One thing I noticed about the stations is that behind each of the seating areas, there will be fin-like structures (not shown in these photos) mounted behind the seats, providing additional shade for the area. So you won't actually be in direct sunlight if the sun is behind you.

http://img124.imageshack.us/img124/7043/0124080833mz5.jpg

http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/4935/0124080835rx3.jpg

http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/9186/0124080836qh6.jpg

PHX31
Jan 24, 2008, 5:16 PM
Cool pics, and good information about the shade fins being behind the chairs... that's a good idea.

exit2lef
Jan 24, 2008, 5:45 PM
I really like the innovative sail-like design of the shade canopies. From what I've seen, much of the platform will be shaded regardless of the time of day. This is in contrast to most bus shelters around town, which often function as little more than ovens in which to bake passengers.

KEVINphx
Jan 25, 2008, 4:06 AM
I really like the innovative sail-like design of the shade canopies. From what I've seen, much of the platform will be shaded regardless of the time of day. This is in contrast to most bus shelters around town, which often function as little more than ovens in which to bake passengers.

I find it interesting that you say that, if you look at the photos posted above the seats are clearly NOT in shade. no on either side of the platform!

I personally think the fins look nice but I don't see how they are very functional because many times I have driven by platforms that are not shaded.

vertex
Jan 25, 2008, 4:47 AM
They're designed to maximize shade in the summer, not the winter. Try driving by again in June to see the difference.

tempedude
Jan 25, 2008, 5:42 AM
Here is rendering of a station showing the shade fins installed (in the right foreground.) The seats are just on the other side of them. I have noticed also, that on the stations where they are being installed already, the gaps between them seem to be narrower than what is shown here in the rendering. It could be that they can be adjusted by maintenance personnel.

http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/3055/dorseyandapache1po2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Photo courtesy Valley Metro (www.valleymetro.org)

Here is a link to see all of the stations and their respective design and artwork. Each station is going to have its own motif.

http://www.valleymetro.org/METRO_light_rail/How_to_Ride/Stations/index.htm

gymratmanaz
Jan 25, 2008, 6:11 AM
I am impressed. I did not know that art would be so previlent at each station. This is a great sign for Phoenix, adding art to new structures. I wish each new building downtown would have major art attached as well!!!

HooverDam
Jan 25, 2008, 6:58 AM
I'm not sold on the shade sails, I remember going by the stations in the late part of the summer and thinking that the shade sails weren't providing much shade. I really wish they would've added misters to each station, but they said the cost was too high (which I would've thought could've been partially negated by say having the misters work on a timer that riders could pay for w/ quarters), ah well.

Azndragon837
Jan 25, 2008, 8:11 AM
I also do not like the shade canopies being built. I won't be convinced until summer arrives. I don't understand why Valley Metro Rail did not build their shade structures like what Portland did (solid pieces of awning instead of sails, see image below).

http://a62.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/37/l_2ca1bc08b8e0b40f79efe96cd1836035.jpg
^I took this photo of this MAX station in Portland back in March 2007 when I went on vacation to Seattle, Vancouver & Portland. Notice the shade structures and the solid materials used.

I am assuming because of cost measures Metro decided to use the sails instead. My two-cents.

-Andrew

exit2lef
Jan 25, 2008, 1:28 PM
They're designed to maximize shade in the summer, not the winter. Try driving by again in June to see the difference.

Agree. My statement was based on observations made last summer. I'm not particularly concerned about shade in the winter.

PhxSprawler
Jan 25, 2008, 6:18 PM
I am assuming because of cost measures Metro decided to use the sails instead. My two-cents.

-Andrew

I think aesthetics played a big part as well. Those awnings in Portland are boring and fugly, whereas the sails are somewhat unique and modern looking.

Hooverdam- I really like your idea about the misters on timers. Maybe it's not too late to implement them in private aftermarket. I'll put money towards that, especially if it can be installed at my stop first. ;)

HooverDam
Jan 25, 2008, 8:10 PM
I think aesthetics played a big part as well. Those awnings in Portland are boring and fugly, whereas the sails are somewhat unique and modern looking.

Hooverdam- I really like your idea about the misters on timers. Maybe it's not too late to implement them in private aftermarket. I'll put money towards that, especially if it can be installed at my stop first. ;)

Maybe some bums can save up some cash, buy a portable mister and stand around the stations squirting people in the face for change!

PhxSprawler
Jan 25, 2008, 9:08 PM
Maybe some bums can save up some cash, buy a portable mister and stand around the stations squirting people in the face for change!

I can see the sign now:

BUM JUICE IN SQUIRTED
IN YOUR FACE! $1.00

tempedude
Jan 28, 2008, 3:37 PM
From the East Valley Tribune
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/107592

January 27, 2008 - 11:02PM
Metro launches light-rail expansion study
Garin Groff, Tribune

Metro light rail and Tempe will study the viability of commuter rail service at a time when there’s growing public interest in a new type of transit system for the Valley.

Metro is just now launching a light-rail expansion study in Tempe, which includes the first public meetings in Tempe this week.

Yet Tempe’s City Council on Thursday agreed to work with Metro to add commuter rail to the study. While the idea has been tossed around for decades, Tempe officials noted a swelling amount of support.

“There has been renewed interest in a statewide commuter rail,” said Jyme Sue McLaren.

Several other cities have called for it and the Arizona Department of Transportation is studying it. Even Gov. Janet Napolitano called for a commuter rail network earlier this month in her state of the state address.

The study would look at rail service along existing rail lines that run through the Valley, as well as lines to Tucson.

Tempe has long sought relief along the Broadway Curve on Interstate 10. ADOT is studying a widening project that would double the number of lanes on that freeway to 24 lanes — making it one of the nation’s widest highways.

But Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said if commuter rail ran on existing tracks that run roughly parallel to I-10, ADOT may be able to provide some relief without adding so many additional lanes.

Metro is also looking at a two-mile north-south light-rail spur in Tempe. But that study would also include substituting a new light-rail line with modern streetcars or bus rapid transit if those modes are shown to be more effective.

Transit officials initially thought of the 2-mile extension running from Apache Boulevard to Southern Avenue on Rural Road.

However, the study will look at an area between Kyrene Road to the Loop 101 Price Freeway, and between the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway and the Loop 202 Santan Freeway.

The study will take two years. It could select just one of the options or a combination, said Glenn Kephart, Tempe’s public works director.

“We probably need it all, but unfortunately, we don’t have the resources for it all,” Kephart said.

If you go
What: Public hearings on potential Metro light-rail expansion in Tempe
When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Corona del Sol High School, 1001 E. Knox Road; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Road.

Sekkle
Jan 31, 2008, 4:04 AM
From the Republic...
Tempe, Chandler residents look at mass transit optionsKerry Fehr-Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 30, 2008 02:28 PM

South Tempe and Chandler residents got their first chance Tuesday night to weigh in on mass transit options that would tie into the $1.4 billion light rail system they're paying for through sales taxes.

Many said they worried about the impacts on their upscale neighborhoods.

Residents will get another shot Wednesday at a second meeting that runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Road.

The meetings kick off a two-year study by Metro, which is trying to decide the best way to extend the reach of the initial 20-mile light-rail line being built from north Phoenix through Tempe to west Mesa. The line will open in late December. The study will consider street cars, light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit as ways to expand coverage of the primarily north Southeast Valley light-rail route. Its goal is to determine how to tie into other mass-transit options for commuters.

"What's the plan for park-and-ride lots in the area?" asked Bill Weeman, who lives in south Tempe's Warner Ranch. "These are nice residential areas."

Chandler resident Russ McGinnis said he is worried about an extension serving a small part of Chandler, and the Gila River Indian Community possibly throwing money at the project to serve its new casino being built near Kyrene Road and the Santan Freeway.

But Marc Soronson, project manager for the Tempe South Alternatives Analysis study, said he doesn't expect any private money in the project.

Mention light rail in a crowded room and you may as well bring up the presidential race for sparking a debate.

But that wasn't the case at Tuesday's meeting where residents were more interested in learning how they could connect to the light rail starter line.

Although many residents were worried about the impact on south Tempe and northwest Chandler neighborhoods, only one of the 25 or so attendees criticized the starter line expected to open in late December. The earliest any extension through south Tempe and Chandler could be operating would be in 2015.

But residents did want to make sure they were asked about extending the rail's reach in the future and projecting their upscale neighborhoods at the same time.

"What I'm worried about is that this serves a check-list for you and that we're really not allowed to have the input we're believed to have," said Curtis Coughlin, a Chandler resident.

Coughlin also wanted to know which city would have the ultimate say - Tempe or Chandler - about any light rail extensions. The extensions could come in the form of more light rail lines, commuter rail tracks, rapid bus transit or modern street cars.
"How are Tempe and Chandler going to work this out" if they want different routes and transportation modes as part of the Tempe South Alternatives Analysis Study, Coughlin asked.

Metro, which is made up of representatives from Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Glendale, and now Peoria, Chandler and Scottsdale, oversees the light-rail project and coordinates their plans with Valley cities and the Maricopa Association of Governments.

The study area extends from the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway in Mesa south to the Loop 202 Santan Freeway in Chandler, and from the Kyrene Road railroad tracks east to Loop 101.

Marc Soronson, Metro's manager of corridor planning, said Metro board members could intervene if cities don't wind up agreeing on an extension. MAG also likely would weigh in on the process.

Soronson said an extension is being driven by north-south traffic loads from Chandler to Scottsdale.

"What we're seeing is a tremendous amount of traffic that is destined for downtown Tempe and (Arizona State University)," he said.

Some of that traffic, he said, is seen in mid-day loads outside of the typical rush-hour traffic.

But some south Tempe residents said they didn't want light-rail extensions to somehow dump more traffic on their city streets or bring cars that park in their neighborhoods to take mass transit.

"Is the ultimate goal to eliminate traffic on the streets?" asked Russ McGinnis of Chandler.

"The goal is not to say bus rapid transit (alone) but to give people options," Soronson said. "From here to ASU, it's 30 minutes, and clearly with ASU and its policies on parking, clearly they (students, faculty and staff) are going to have to pay more for parking."

The two-year Tempe South Alternatives Analysis Study is looking to provide "legitimate and dependable travel time" in the region, Soronson said.
http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/0130ev-lightrailextend0131cover.html

I think it's amazing (and good) that only one of 25 people criticized the segment now under construction. Are people warming up to it?

Sekkle
Jan 31, 2008, 3:54 PM
I found this map of corridor alternatives for the South Tempe/Chandler extension in a PDF on Valley Metro's website (here (http://www.valleymetro.org/METRO_light_rail/Future_Extensions/Tempe/index.htm)).
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/2526/southtempetg4.jpg

HooverDam
Jan 31, 2008, 4:06 PM
^Hm, it seems to me a line going south into Chandler would be best if the Mesa line extended East to Country Club Rd. Then the Chandler branch could go south down Country Club, which turns into Arizona Avenue. Run it all the way south to the area surrounding the Chandler Municipal Airport (which I believe is going to be going through some renovations and development to make it similar to the Scottsdale Airpark area). This would connect the Airpark, "Downtown" Chandler and the East Valley mall, which could all become major destinations. Plus there are a fair amount of lots still available along this alignment that could be great places for transit oriented development.

Perhaps eventually both could exist. One line going south along either the Green or Gold alignments shown above, with another alignment like I'm suggesting further east. Then a East-West line along Chandler Blvd could connect the two lines as well as Chandler Fashion Center & perhaps a park and ride around the 101 & Chandler Blvd somewhere.

tempedude
Jan 31, 2008, 4:07 PM
I am thinking that the McClintock Dr. alignment might be the best option since it looks like it could connect to the Chandler Fashion Center. Just my opinion tho. The next best might be Tempe branch 1...commuter rail on existing track running along near I-10.

vertex
Jan 31, 2008, 5:17 PM
I think the Tempe Branch is definitely the best one, it will do the best job of drawing commuters from Ahwatukee, and act as a great reliever for I-10. The abandoned right-of-way heading towards Maricopa would be a natural alignment for the light rail.

combusean
Jan 31, 2008, 5:41 PM
Studying the ROW is good but I think some of these options preclude others.

Why not down Scottsdale/Rural Rd and a line stretching from West Ahwatukee to WGA on Chandler Blvd?

If they attempt to use Union Pacific's Kyrene branch (which is on the map as the Tempe branch)--which I believe is still active--or even the Coolidge branch just east of Arizona Avenue they could screw us when we need those tracks for commuter rail. We *did* at one time have tracks running down the AZ-347 alignment till they were torn up 50 or 60 years ago. We should preserve that right of way for the future.

Sekkle
Jan 31, 2008, 6:30 PM
The Kyrene UP branch is definitley still active, and they improved the crossing at Kyrene & Elliot within the last two years I think. I doubt UP has any plans to scale back operations there. I think that LRT is highly unlikely as an option along that Tempe branch (unless they could fit separate tracks with overhead wires in the same right of way), and that it would probably be commuter rail if anything. Too much of that corridor is light industrial/warehouses for LRT to be of any use.

I think Rural is probably the best option. I don't understand the "Rural West Option 2" though. What is south of Chandler Blvd on Kyrene that would benefit from or necessitate high capacity transit? Why not go to Ahwatukee instead?

loftlovr
Feb 2, 2008, 11:04 AM
http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/0201phxmetro0202.html

Public being alerted about plans for light-rail extensions
3 public meetings to focus on proposal for 19th Avenue leg
Betty Reid
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 2, 2008 12:00 AM

PHOENIX - Three public meetings are planned next week to alert residents and business owners about the extension of Metro light rail farther into north Phoenix.

The proposed 3.2-mile extension would start at 19th and Montebello avenues and stretch to Dunlap Avenue. Metro light rail and Phoenix staff have scheduled meetings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday along the proposed route.

"We are there to explain and answer questions and to hear about (the public's) concerns and their needs for the neighborhood," said Marty McNeil, a Metro light rail spokesperson.

The extension would add onto the 20 miles of light rail that are scheduled to be finished in December. That phase of light rail ends at Bethany Home Road near Christown Spectrum Mall.

Work on the north extension is expected to begin in late 2008 or early 2009, starting with utility relocations and roadway digging. Tracks will be laid in 2009 and 2010, McNeil said.

The meetings are set for 6 to 8 p.m. at these locations:


• Glendale Avenue to Northern Avenue section -Tuesday, Orangewood Elementary School, 7337 N. 19th Ave.


• Bethany Home Road to Glendale Avenue section - Wednesday, Washington Adult Activity Center, 2240 W. Citrus Way.


• Northern Avenue to Dunlap Avenue section - Thursday, Royal Palm Middle School, 8520 N. 19th Ave.

PHX31
Feb 11, 2008, 7:54 PM
Here's an idea I've thought of recently that makes perfect sense to me...

Everyone knows the popularity of the RAPID commuter bus lines. I rode them for a while a couple of years ago and they were pretty convenient. The worst part/most time consuming leg of the trip was always getting onto the freeway. There were like 10 bus stops and red-light traffic signals to navigate through before you finally got on the freeway, and merging over to the HOV lanes sucked.

I think we need to make use of the "Express Bus Station" that was constructed and moth-balled within the I-10 deck park tunnel. I don't know what the station looks like, but what i'm imagining is a majority of the RAPID buses picking up passengers at this location, rather than driving around city streets picking up riders before getting on the freeway. The buses would already be on I-10, and already in the median of the freeway for easy access to the HOV lanes.

In order to get the commuters onto the RAPID buses, a smaller circulator bus could shuttle people around downtown from the various bus stops/pick up locations directly to the deck park tunnel stop where they would get on the RAPID commuter bus. They could just use the DASH buses and come up with a few routes during the AM and PM peak hours when the RAPID lines are running. Ideally, passengers could just jump on the light rail, get off at the deck park tunnel and catch the RAPID commuters, but there aren't any light rail stations at the deck park/I-10... the closest is at McDowell or Roosevelt.

I think this would make the process much more time saving, if not streamlined. Plus, it would be cool to actually use the "Express Bus Station" within the I-10 tunnel.

Some day I'll get over to ADOT to dig up the plans of that station and see what it's all about/how big the station really is.

NIXPHX77
Feb 12, 2008, 12:05 AM
Metro is including that unused station in its study of the I-10
west corridor for mass transit.
at the last council meeting, televised on Phx ch. 11, the mayor
asked Metro honcho wulf grote about it, and he said it's under study
to see if it's viable for some kind of transit usage.

Tempe_Duck
Feb 18, 2008, 9:34 AM
Has anyone seen the parking garage that is being built for the Park in Ride at Apache and McClintock. It looks like a prison. There are no windows except for some small ones at the corner. Does any one know if they are going to cut in windows or leave it as it. It would seem like it wouldn't be that safe of a place to be, no one could see you or your car.

vertex
Feb 18, 2008, 5:39 PM
It's called 'Equinox', and it will be wrapped with apartments and retail. It's being developed by the same folks who did Grigio, on the north side of the lake.

Equinox (http://www.tempe.gov/maps/DevProjectDetails.aspx?LocationID=a558dc6a-c4a5-4dfe-bf42-be78fe579900)

Tempe_Duck
Feb 18, 2008, 8:10 PM
It's called 'Equinox', and it will be wrapped with apartments and retail. It's being developed by the same folks who did Grigio, on the north side of the lake.

Equinox (http://www.tempe.gov/maps/DevProjectDetails.aspx?LocationID=a558dc6a-c4a5-4dfe-bf42-be78fe579900)

Ahh, ok, that place actually looks good now. I take back my comments then.

pbenjamin
Feb 18, 2008, 8:30 PM
This was on my doorknob this morning:

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE
I-10 WEST
Alternatives Analysis / Environmental Impact Statement


You are invited to attend a public meeting to review the potential routes and transit technologies that are being considered for the Metro I-10 West extension to the West Valley. Your input is important to us and will help shape the project development process.

MEETINGS

Tuesday, March 4, 2008
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Carpenter's Union Training Center
4547 W. McDowell Rd., #2 Phoenix, 85035

Wednesday, March 5, 2008
4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Phoenix City Hall (1st Floor Assembly Room A & B)
200 W. Washington Phoenix, 85003

Garage parking available on the SE corner of Washington and 3rd Ave.

(map showing study area roughly bounded by Thomas, 99th Ave., Buckeye and 7th St.)

There will be a short presentation and an opportunity to speak to the members of the I-10 West corridor project team.

For more information, reasonable accommodations or to be added to the I-10 West public meeting notification list contact: Monica Hernandez Ph: 602-322-4427/TTY 602-322-4499; E-mail: mhernandez@metrolightrail.org

The I-10 West scoping brochure is available online at: MetroLightRail.org/I-10West (http://MetroLightRail.org/I-10West)

combusean
Feb 18, 2008, 11:44 PM
Oh, the routes for the 10 West corridor study--we talked about this in the Old phoenix neigborhoods ..." thread ...

It will very likely be light rail, tho the possibility of true BRT is being considered.

West of I-17, it will certainly be down the median of the 10. But how it gets there is still up for discussion. A possibility was mentioned about bringing back the idea of the terminal underneath Hance Park, but it really looks like rail down Washington St as I anticipated is how it's going to be.

How it gets from Washington to the 10 is another matter--the map they have has a whole bunch of green lines on at least 15th, 17th, 19th, and 23rd Avenues--I vaguely remember 7th and Grand being in there too--and they pointed out that they are considering Adams St for an alignment west of 19th.

I like the fact that basically nothing is ruled out but I still have reservations about placing light rail down the median of the 10 (limiting TOD) if we're also considering commuter rail. I think the RPTA might be getting ahead of itself with this project.

andrewkfromaz
Feb 19, 2008, 3:29 AM
Yeah it really seems like BRT might be a good idea for I-10. Screw the labels, I think something that works well and is cost-effective is what we all want.

PhxSprawler
Feb 20, 2008, 8:40 PM
Yeah it really seems like BRT might be a good idea for I-10. Screw the labels, I think something that works well and is cost-effective is what we all want.

It is a great start to prove that people are open to using public transit. I would rather dedicated bus lanes on I-10 than light rail along I-10. I am in favor of using any rail to create verticle mixed-use communities. If anyone attends, please update us!

combusean
Feb 20, 2008, 9:48 PM
Everytime I see BRT being considered I can't help but think it's the poor man's LRT. And when it comes to this sorta thing now we pay now or pay more later.

I'm not convinced BRT even on its own dedicated thruway attracts as many first time or "choice" riders to transit as effective as rails do. I think the improvements that distinguish BRT from regular surface street buses just amount to polishing a turd. Buses, especially their tires, are loud. I don't care how smooth they think the grade will be but when you're in a bus you feel EVERY bump along the way. Riding the Red Line up Central through light rail construction is a noisy, tumultuous affair that makes you feel like you're in an earthquake on wheels.

And then there's the capital costs to consider. BRT looks cheaper to run from Day 1, but I think the cost savings end there.

Building a route for BRT and then having to retrofit it for trains is more expensive than doing it right the first time--let alone the costs of service interruption and that sorta thing. Sooner or later, we will maximize how many people they'll stick in one bus. Yes, there might be a good thing in having to run buses more often to cope with demand, but the most expensive part of any transit system is the guy up in front so increasing the route's frequency is never as simple as it ought to be.

And lastly--buses just don't last. The OLDEST buses in the Valley Metro fleet were made in 1994 and they're going to be retired this year. The average fleet age is somewhere around six, which is comparatively young but I bet a lot of that probably has to do with our climate more than how often voters decide to get new ones. I am told we can expect 30 years out of the Kinki-sharyo LRV's we're getting.

After capacity and longevity are taken into account, I just don't know where the BRT advantage is. We deserve better.

PhxSprawler
Feb 20, 2008, 11:02 PM
I agree with you completely on the need for rapid transit, but I believe our metro is large enough to handle both options. The existing Express busses are always packed and often turn people away.

I completely disagree with light rail in the middle of the freeway. It seems to be a means of perpetuating our sprawl versus creating the much needed density and attractiveness of central living. For this reason, I would prefer to see dedicated bus lanes over having light rail in the center of the freeway, but would prefer light rail or heavy rail along Glendale Ave over any alternative to serve the west side.

But hell.. I have no reason to go to the west side except for Cardinals and Coyotes games or when passing through to SoCal or Vegas.

combusean
Feb 21, 2008, 1:07 AM
I'm not a big fan of light rail down the middle of the 10 either. Even aside from the pointless duality that would be involved with future commuter rail, it makes TOD more difficult and reinforces the wide-spread yet more-or-less inattainable desire to go 55+ MPH everywhere.

Light rail with Desert Sky as its western terminus won't necessarily encourage sprawl. I think it may reinforce proper development in an area that could certainly use plenty--sure would make for an interesting canyon effect. That of course can only happen if they don't screw the pedestrian connection.

The new pedestrian bridges and pathways that could make LRT down the 10 worthwhile probably won't happen if we expect the same out of the 10 West expansion than when we first built it 20 years ago. Next time you take the 10 east from downtown, pay attention to the elliptical humps on the noise walls on either side every few blocks. There *was* a road there but now it's just two cul-de-sacs because nobody built the connecting bridge. That's a travesty.

Widening the 10 and placing light rail (or even BRT) down the middle would make that stretch that much nicer to drive, for a little while in theory, but you still have the REST of the 10--like the part where it's only 2 lanes--to deal with. Those backups, made worse by the changes in speed limits, can get atrocious. And they're only going to get worse when the cars that would fit on a newer, wider I-10 bottleneck back down to the old parts. In that sense, what appears to encourage sprawl--moving commuters from hell's half-acre and back--might just do the opposite instead.

Really, anything we do short of growth boundaries will encourage sprawl. But I think we're shooting ourselves in the foot by connecting sprawl to transit where no such connection exists. Commuter rail could encourage sprawl--much more so than LRT down the 10--but if the edge cities redevelop around stations, it's certainly not the same kind of sprawl.

We will sprawl to oblivion--I dont think there's much sense in either denying or fighting that. But if people only care about qualifying in Casa Grande with the rest of the white transplants that dont know any better, maybe they'll try qualifying near Casa Grande's rail station. That's worth it.

I mostly care about seeing the LRT option through because it's the best way of the *existing two options* besides No Build to get transit to the Capitol Mall which is the best way to see that area revitalised...well, that and a non-comatose state government.

I think we really need a three-fold approach:

- Run light rail down Washington and Jefferson from Central to 19th Avenue or so.
- Connect the LRT to a new multimodal commuter rail facility off the UPRR tracks around 19th Ave.
- If the long term capital costs make sense and we don't end up needing tracks later and the buses can last as long as an LRV and while I'm dreaming I win Powerball tonight--then maybe we consider BRT down the center of the 10, starting from Central and Hance Park or the 19th Ave facility or both.

The Powers That Be are giving us two options right now--BRT or LRT--and we're supposed to figure out which one is best while they not talk about commuter rail.

BRT alone will screw us on a great opportunity for the Mall in addition to screwing the commuter and our infrastructure, so I'm forced to go ra-ra for something I don't really like--LRT down the median of the 10 because LRT alone beats BRT alone any day.

We will probably need all three options--BRT, LRT, and commuter rail. I never thought I'd say this, but for a line that doesn't open for another 12 years or so it's happening awful quick.

HooverDam
Feb 21, 2008, 4:03 AM
I sent an email to Metro yesterday basically telling them that my dream scenario would be the following:

-BRT along a separated I-10 Median. I think this makes the most sense, because its mostly going to be something used for rush hours and not much else, paying for LRT to do that seems like a waste, and limits TOD.

-LRT West down Washington to the Capitol. Turning North on 19th Ave. A stop perhaps at the 10 connecting to a BRT station. Up to McDowell, a stop at the 19th/Grand/McDowell intersection to serve the Fairgrounds and various events there. Then west on McDowell which has a ton of TOD opportunities. Then perhaps dog legging North at some point to connect to Desert Sky Mall and Cricket, and then continuing west to the I-10. Then in the future either connecting to 'downtown' Avondale, Litchfield Park or Goodyear.

In other words, I'm basically echoing what Combusean said. I think the only way LRT will succeed in Phoenix is with plenty of TOD, people just aren't going to walk a long way from their suburban style subdivisions to stations. I'd love to see dense corridors spring up all around the Valley surrounding LRT.

andrewkfromaz
Feb 21, 2008, 4:52 AM
I haven't ridden the existing Rapid buses yet, but I know they're far and away more comfortable and smoother riding than the Red line on Central. Heck, a tank in desert is probably more comfortable than the Red Line right now. Simply by dint of the fact that the freeways are held to a higher standard of smoothness and travel speed, Rapid buses feel better than standard buses.

Next your comment about ridership's intangible attraction to rail over another form of transit. These are commuters we're talking about. They're going to gravitate towards the balance of price (of gas primarily) and convenience (ease of parking, travel time, frequencies) that satisfies them best. I'd be surprised if any transit solution to the west valley lacked riders - the route planners would have to really mess up.

I still think BRT is the way to go - shorter lead time before completion and opening, cheaper, somewhat more flexible. What I see as the drawbacks (commuters would have to transfer to LRT, little or no TOD) would apply to some extent to commuter rail as well.

combusean
Feb 21, 2008, 7:24 AM
I sent an email to Metro yesterday basically telling them that my dream scenario would be the following:

-BRT along a separated I-10 Median. I think this makes the most sense, because its mostly going to be something used for rush hours and not much else, paying for LRT to do that seems like a waste, and limits TOD.


:tup:

I like the idea of some big experiment to pedestrianize a freeway, tho it would be an expensive one.


-LRT West down Washington to the Capitol. Turning North on 19th Ave. A stop perhaps at the 10 connecting to a BRT station. Up to McDowell, a stop at the 19th/Grand/McDowell intersection to serve the Fairgrounds and various events there. Then west on McDowell which has a ton of TOD opportunities. Then perhaps dog legging North at some point to connect to Desert Sky Mall and Cricket, and then continuing west to the I-10. Then in the future either connecting to 'downtown' Avondale, Litchfield Park or Goodyear.


West Van Buren is one of those old gems and I really wish the Metro folks weren't set as the 10 being the corridor. Even as a halfway between Thomas and Van Buren it gets the already-there benefits of neither.

On Van Buren, Downtown Tolleson is vaguely intriguing and I got creeped out by downtown Avondale but as with anything old I see a lot of potential. Further closer to home you still see a couple gems right up to the street, tho the heavy warehouses in the area leave too much to be desired.

I like the idea of an L-train or something like that down Van Buren but it wouldn't be fair to southwest Phoenix's industrial base if everyone and their mother wanted a stop here for their own mixed use project.

There's so much money at stake in this corridor and so many pressures. I like the idea of Thomas Road for a streetcar service--it was identified on the ValTrans maps. There are things on McDowell and things on Van Buren but really shitty things too on all three that are worth bypassing entirely.

If the route is convenient it will get used--think how BART is laid out and it winds all over the place.

Maybe it's really a fast, snaking L-train that wanders in the vicinity of the 10 where it needs to go--from the downtowns along Van Buren to Desert Sky, then to the fairgrounds and back south again to hit the Capitol mall and finally downtown Phoenix. Maybe it makes a sidestep or two towards a commuter rail line. Maybe that commuter rail goes in the I-10 median if UP is going to be a bitch about trackage rights.

Hmm...

PHX31
Feb 21, 2008, 3:40 PM
I honestly think one of the main reasons they are so set on I-10 being the corridor is because of the costs. The land acquisition and utility relocation on a major street would be astronomical (as it was with the current starter line). Going down I-10 would be relatively easy and any utilities would be consistent and well documented.

I hope they figure out that the long term benefits of having LRT on the surface streets with TOD opportunities and an adjacent BRT or something on the freeway outweighs the costs. Although I haven't conducted a study, so maybe it actually doesn't (?).

I like Hoover's idea, rail down Washington to the capitol, then up 19th avenue with a station connecting to BRT. Then out west.

I wonder, could people like us change the minds of Metro or persuade their planning effort?

combusean
Feb 21, 2008, 4:29 PM
^ I dont think that should be too much of a stretch...the line won't start construction for years but time is running out from their own schedule. I think the big issue here is that they've got most of the corridor identified already--probably a bad idea--and it's just a matter of which technology and the specific alignment, the pigeonholing of which is a really bad idea.

Unfortunately, the problem we have here won't be solved by the methods they are employing. They're certainly not talking about both BRT and LRT--it's one or the other.

Convincing Metro would require a somewhat concerted effort that if maybe they keep hearing the combination approach thats what they start leaning to. Neighborhoods support is key, so I'll probably be talking to a good friend of mine from the Capitol Mall Association about what they think.

I would encourage any of you that are interested in a non-traditional approach to this corridor to contact the numbers they have listed, send the emails, ask for the face-to-face time, and tell everyone you know that might be affected and ask they do the same.

exit2lef
Feb 21, 2008, 6:01 PM
I'm all for TOD, but is it really a viable option for Maryvale and the west side of Phoenix? TOD works in environments that are desirable but underdeveloped. The access to transit encourages higher-density development near major attractions. West of I-17 along McDowell or Van Buren, I can think of very few attractions and very few up-and-coming neighborhoods. In fact, I'd say that for most Phoenicians, that area has replaced South Phoenix as the neighborhood with the worst reputation.

I'm not trying to be a naysayer or to dismiss an entire neighborhood, but have their been any cases in which TOD has worked in an area perceived as a dangerous slum (even if that perception is not entirely accurate)? It's one thing for TOD to revitalize a Downtown or Midtown area, but quite another for it to turn around an area seen as "ghetto."

It may be that the I-10 corridor option is not only the most cost-effective, but also an acknowledgement that this transit corridor will be designed more for park-and-ride commuting and transfers to and from local bus lines than for walkable urban neighborhoods.

andrewkfromaz
Feb 21, 2008, 9:07 PM
^^^^ True dat.

The point you make brings up something I've been thinking about when discussing transit and transit - fairness. Is it fair to build transit to service small portions of the middle- and upper-classes and have it subsidized by sales taxes that everyone pays (in fact, that poor people pay more out of their income than we middle-classers)? I think transit should be built or developed where it will be used - to help people with limited mobility get around. South Phoenix and Maryvale and Sunnyslope and west Phoenix have really high transit ridership rates - why shouldn't bus service (or even LRT) be prioritized to these areas and LRT and other astronomically expensive transit systems that only serve a narrow slice of the middle class take a back seat?

Social equity is a complicated issue, and Phoenix has a big enough hang-up over transit to worry about those who rely and would rely on transit if they could. I'm just saying, all this talk about TOD is great, but we're talking about real people who need to get around, same as us.

exit2lef
Feb 21, 2008, 11:16 PM
Good point about fairness. My guess is that many lower-income, transit-dependent riders really don't care all that much about TOD. TOD is more something for the educated "creative class" elite. That's not to say that TOD shouldn't occur. Walkable urban neighborhoods add vitality to a city's core in a way that enhances the entire surrounding metro area, and for that reason TOD in Downtown, Midtown, and Tempe is of vital importance.

Nevertheless, I think that if you asked most who use transit by necessity rather than choice, they'd value efficient, high-volume transit over having dense urban clusters around transit stations. Taking a local bus up or down 51st Avenue and then transferring to an LRT or BRT station in the middle of the I-10 median might not be a big deal to someone who already deals with bus transfers on a daily basis.

Likewise, park-and-ride commuters from Goodyear, Buckeye, etc. would probably feel more comfortable speeding down the I-10 median in a train or an express bus than they would if the same vehicle was stopping in West Side neighborhoods that terrify them (even if that terror is unjustified). They'd probably appreciate the faster travel times that come with not competing with surface street traffic, too.

Again, I'm not trying to write off the West Side of Phoenix, but I think that the area is so suburban, so spread out, and so poorly regarded that TOD might not be a realistic dream for the area. I hope someone can point to counterexamples from other cities and prove me wrong.

Tfom
Feb 22, 2008, 4:50 AM
Ok,
I'm going to have to be an idiot here but it is driving me nuts. What the hell is TOD. I've been trying to figure it out all day and its driving me freakin nuts!
Forgive me, I grew up in West Virginia, not exactly the haven of civilization.

andrewkfromaz
Feb 22, 2008, 4:54 AM
No problem, acronyms can be a you-know-what. See if you can figure out what we're talking about from this page. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOD)

You know what they say, to answer a question satisfies curiosity for a moment, but pointing someone to Wikipedia keeps the inquisitive busy for literally hours!