Monday, December 22, 2008

New Light Rail Photos

Shot a few quick pics of the light rail trains running up and down Central Avenue late last week. Used my cell phone so the quality isn’t super, but thought y’all readers would enjoy these.

light-rail-train-1 . . . . . light-rain-train-2

The smudges in the lower left frame of photo 2 are my dashboard. Didn’t have time to open the window, just shot right out through the glass. Me? I’m SO excited to see this project finally come to fruition. I got giddy and squealed like a school girl when I saw the train passing me. It was moving! I’d guess about 30 or 32 miles per hour. Drivers should be alert starting this Saturday.

I lived in Philadelphia for 12 years and visited Manhattan frequently while there. I missed my native Phoenix like a long lost boyfriend as I endured 2 truly horrible Northeast winters in the 90’s. I pined for good Mexican food, colorful sunsets and our oven-like heat. But one thing I always regretted is that we didn’t have public transit worthy of our stature as the country’s 5th or 6th largest city. My NYC friends never used a car, and I frequently got around Philly on public transit. It was easy, quick, and nearly everybody used it at one time or another.

For Phoenix, our upgrade to world-class public transit is finally here.  I refuse to listen to the naysayers who complain about cost, lack of appeal to the average Phoenician or anything else. I’m stoked!

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that 200,000 people are expected to take free train rides this weekend, during the Light Rail’s Grand Opening. The Grand Opening begins with a huge kickoff party, Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Metro Operations and Maintenance Center. That’s on 48th Street just south of Washington Street.

The Mayors of Phoenix (Phil Gordon), Mesa (Scott Smith) and Tempe (Hugh Hallman) will attend, along with outgoing US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Arizona’s Representatives to the US House, Ed Pastor and Harry Mitchell.

All three cities are going for the gold with their opening day celebrations. Local rock favorites Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will play during the Saturday festivities in Tempe. Mesa is hosting the legendary Grand Funk Railroad.

Phoenix, it seems, couldn’t find or didn’t want to spring for the cost of musical entertainment and is instead combining the light rail event with the ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly renovated Convention Center. Nice job keeping an eye on our tax dollars at work, Mayor Phil!

All light rail train rides are free through December 31. What a great reason to head downtown to enjoy New Year’s celebrations!  Trains will run every 10 minutes, with additional buses on hand to move visitors from train stations back to the park and ride stations as needed.

“Several streets will be closed for the crowds, including Main Street between Sycamore and Dobson in Mesa; Third Street between Monroe and Jefferson streets; Washington Street between Second and Fifth streets; and parts of Third and Fifth streets and sections of College and Forest avenues in downtown Tempe.” (direct quote from the Biz Journal, as linked above)

Want more info? Get it straight from the source, Valley Metro Transit