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MJLO

Light Rail in the valley

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Metro Lightrail link

Here's a map of the metro's starting line for light rail. What kind of an impact do you think this will have on the valley. Do any of you plan on using it. I haven't seen to much on it, but just that this has started and gotten underway is outstanding. Do you think this will help fill in some of the less dense spots in the valley, or really boost the CBD? I'd love to hear what people have to say, any insider info, any news.

thanks Matt

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Do you think this will help fill in some of the less dense spots in the valley, or really boost the CBD?

It already has. Just look at all of the new apartments going up along Washington north of Tempe. Most of those aren't aimed at students.

I think that this will also make the Central Avenue corridor even more of a viable mixed-use community. It's a little too office-oriented now and unfriendly to pedestrians.

When I was there a few months ago, they had one set up at Park Central that you could tour. There didn't seem to be a line of people waiting for the chance, but it did get a pretty good reception.

I would totally ride it if I had the chance. Stay Downtown, hit the bars on Mill, maybe even use it to get to the airport. Sounds great.

I was disappointed that their future proposals aren't more ambitious. They need to get it further out into the suburbs, and especially hit the suburban town centers, especially Scottsdale, which seems to have been completely left out of the system.

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It's a good initial line. I would like a second line north into Scottsdale. A good one would be East up Camelback then North on Scottsdale. This is some of the most expensive real estate in the PHX metro and probably wouldn't be very practical but it would be cool...haha.

One thing I hope the planners do is spend the extra money on platforms. They will need misters at the very least...indoor facilities would be much better. One problem with transit in PHX is having to wait for the train or bus in the blazzing 115 degree mid summer heat. A good idea would be to have buisnesses along the line co-sponsor the platforms like they do in Portland along the streetcar line...the trick is that the platforms in PHX will be more expensive due to the weather. It'll be nice in the winter, though.

My family lives in Fountain Hills so I expect it'll be a hundred years before a line makes to their area. Anyway, good for PHX to be doing something.

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About thinking it should go thru the Scottsdale city center, Is the city of Scottsdale buying into the light rail concept at all? In other regional centers, mass transit options really are weighed heavily municipality to municipality. In Chicago, the city can have elevated rail lines and bus lines, but if the city of Rosemont does not want to subsidize the transit services, they will not run thru the city. I would assume the same is true out here in the valley. That lines have to be paid for city by city. Is there a chance that the leadership in Scottsdale feels the city is healthy without lightrail and would not benefit from it?

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I always assumed that Valley Metro was paying for it.

According to their site, Scottsdale does not participate in Valley Metro although Tempe, Mesa and Glendale all do, which also explains the absence of Chandler and Peoria in the plans. Maybe they'll jump on board once the project gets off the ground a little.

You're right though, Scottsdale is not exactly a mass transit town. There's just too much money. No sense in paying to build something that the majority of your citizens won't use. There's also the stereotype that mass transit brings in undesirables, which typically keeps systems out of the suburbs (such was the case in Houston).

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Scottsdale is not the only exclusive community in the country, they exist every where. As exclusive communities go, it's pretty average. At some point, the economy will turn to where operating a vehicle will be more and more nill. Given time, I think even Scottsdale, where the only reason the residents live there, is because they are strung out on credit, and can't afford to live in California, will get on board.

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Phoenix-area light-rail construction lags

http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/130711

It seems like it's not just snags, either, but major obstacles. Maybe the start of Murphy's Law.

The line will, of course, be built, but 2008 now seems like it's a little unrealistic.

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I've heard rumors, that the line, is not elevated, stops for passing traffic, and will move only at an average speed of 22 mph. That's got to be the most pathetic light rail system in the country. Is this true guys?

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Ok i've read the descriptions. Light Rail looks like more of a pain in the rear end than anything. Do you guys think that people will actually ride these trains? I'm sure some people will, but light rail is not much different than trolley service. Do you think that if this is successful, and the city uses it, that they will eventually switch to an Elevated/Sub level, heavy rail?

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Do you guys think that people will actually ride these trains?

I think the initial line will be successful because of the areas it'll be linking. A lot of people come from Tempe to Downtown and, seeing that Tempe is generally more progressive, a lot of them will probably be willing to give up the car. Light rail has been pretty successful recently in both Dallas and Houston, both of which are comparable, car-centric cities, so I don't see why it would utterly fail in Phoenix provided its managed properly.

Do you think that if this is successful, and the city uses it, that they will eventually switch to an Elevated/Sub level, heavy rail?

Hmm. Albuquerque is opening a heavy rail service in July, but ABQ has growing suburbs like Belen and Los Lunas in the South Valley and Bernalillo, all of which are far separated from the Downtown core, so rail made sense there. More info, if you're interested.

As for sub-level/subway, it doesn't work in Arizona because of the caliche. That's why we don't have basements in the Sonoran Uplands. I don't know that the elevated would work either.

The only route where I see heavy rail being viable is between Downtown and Maricopa or Casa Grande, which are both becoming suburbs of Phoenix, but is separated by the Tohono Chul land. Putting it to Maricopa, though, would also once again connect Phoenix to Amtrak. However, neither has a direct rail link to Downtown Phoenix. Although, there is a line running north from Picacho via Coolidge and Florence that could be used, especially since Florence is starting to turn into a Phoenix bedroom community. I can see a lot of people going for that actually. Well, but this is all hypothetical. But I certainly like the idea.

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perhaps i've been listening to the critics on the radio to much, alot of the people I have heard talking, feel that this light rail that we are getting, is a half-hearted effort to appease environmentalists. They don't see it working all to well, I can see where they are coming from. Does anyone know when they are going to start constructing the Sky Harbor trains? This needs to be done badly because Sky Harbor is so horribly connected. But I work at the airport, noone seems to know much about it, and I can't see a viable space thru the terminal roads in which a rail line could run.

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I think the initial line will be successful because of the areas it'll be linking. A lot of people come from Tempe to Downtown and, seeing that Tempe is generally more progressive, a lot of them will probably be willing to give up the car. Light rail has been pretty successful recently in both Dallas and Houston, both of which are comparable, car-centric cities, so I don't see why it would utterly fail in Phoenix provided its managed properly.

Hmm. Albuquerque is opening a heavy rail service in July, but ABQ has growing suburbs like Belen and Los Lunas in the South Valley and Bernalillo, all of which are far separated from the Downtown core, so rail made sense there. More info, if you're interested.

As for sub-level/subway, it doesn't work in Arizona because of the caliche. That's why we don't have basements in the Sonoran Uplands. I don't know that the elevated would work either.

The only route where I see heavy rail being viable is between Downtown and Maricopa or Casa Grande, which are both becoming suburbs of Phoenix, but is separated by the Tohono Chul land. Putting it to Maricopa, though, would also once again connect Phoenix to Amtrak. However, neither has a direct rail link to Downtown Phoenix. Although, there is a line running north from Picacho via Coolidge and Florence that could be used, especially since Florence is starting to turn into a Phoenix bedroom community. I can see a lot of people going for that actually. Well, but this is all hypothetical. But I certainly like the idea.

Sorry to get offtopic here but I have wondered how the Rail Runner will do in Albuqueque. Not that this only applies to the west but people out there in particular seem to really enjoy their vehicles and getting them out of them for other means of transportation isn't always easy. But as you said Albuquerque does have some growing cities along the Rio Grande. I'm curious to see how any rail services do in that area of the country.

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Sorry to get offtopic here but I have wondered how the Rail Runner will do in Albuqueque. Not that this only applies to the west but people out there in particular seem to really enjoy their vehicles and getting them out of them for other means of transportation isn't always easy. But as you said Albuquerque does have some growing cities along the Rio Grande. I'm curious to see how any rail services do in that area of the country.

This may deserve its own thread, either in Urban Transit or USA West, especially since the opening is so close.

Denver has its fairly new light rail system, although I've never been on it, I've heard it's been fairly successful. Denver, though, is a much harder city to drive in with the snow and all, so it's maybe not the best compairson.

The thing about the ABQ route is that the South Valley, where Rail Runner is headed, is very mixed in income levels. I think that'll make it more successful. It's a great initial system as well, I think, considering that you can easily connect express bus routes, park and rides and even future light rail systems with it.

However, back to the Phoenix system, another reason why subways aren't popular on the West Coast is because people just like being outside. It's not gloomy or snowy a lot of the year as in cities like Washington, NYC, Toronto or Chicago. I was told this by someone fairly reputable, but I don't remember who.

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This may deserve its own thread, either in Urban Transit or USA West, especially since the opening is so close.

Denver has its fairly new light rail system, although I've never been on it, I've heard it's been fairly successful. Denver, though, is a much harder city to drive in with the snow and all, so it's maybe not the best compairson.

The thing about the ABQ route is that the South Valley, where Rail Runner is headed, is very mixed in income levels. I think that'll make it more successful. It's a great initial system as well, I think, considering that you can easily connect express bus routes, park and rides and even future light rail systems with it.

However, back to the Phoenix system, another reason why subways aren't popular on the West Coast is because people just like being outside. It's not gloomy or snowy a lot of the year as in cities like Washington, NYC, Toronto or Chicago. I was told this by someone fairly reputable, but I don't remember who.

I do have a topic on the Albuquerque one over in the general West forum, but it's been dead for a while now. But I didn't mean to hijack this topic for that. Anyway your comment about the the climate does make some sense. But to me it seems the further east you go in the country the cities seem to be overall more dense as well than most western cities. The lack of density seems to make mass transit harder to be successful. But I can't say I'm any expert on western cities. But I've just always gotten the impression people are more 'tied' to their vehicles in general than other areas.

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I'd say people being tied to there vehicles is pretty endemic of any place, that has experienced a significant amount of growth in the last 60 years.

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I'd say people being tied to there vehicles is pretty endemic of any place, that has experienced a significant amount of growth in the last 60 years.

True, and I could be wrong about this but I guess I've just gotten the impression it seems worse out west.

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I'd say people being tied to there vehicles is pretty endemic of any place, that has experienced a significant amount of growth in the last 60 years.

I'd say that it's mostly the Sunbelt cities. LA is notorious for that problem. Both Houston and DFW are the same.

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so Colin, when Phoenix gets light rail, will that make you like it more?

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so Colin, when Phoenix gets light rail, will that make you like it more?

:D

Well, I think it will improve its image. And I would certainly be eager to ride it.

The way Phoenix is headed, I think a nice community will develop around Downtown (and the light rail) in the coming years, and then I may like going up there more. There are some areas of Phoenix that I really like, but the amount of people just ruins it for me. I think I'm just a mid-sized city kind of person, and that will never change. In other words: "It's not you, it's me."

I'm actually headed up again tomorrow, but only for a night, and I don't know what we'll be doing.

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How long would you say it takes to get from each city? Maybe I should specify between the city cores.

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I hear what you're saying about midsized cities, i'm from a mid sized town and I love it. But I was born in Detroit and I really miss it too. Detroit however, has the population density to have heavy rail, but the regional governments have been at war for 40 years over there, so I'm greatful for the inter community cooperation that brings us the chance for light rail .

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I drove around down Central between about Indian School and Mc Dowell on Saturday. I was a little disappointed that the construction hasn't progressed as much as I thought it would have. Central is reduced to one lane in each direction, so things are happening, but there seemed to be little going on in the way of ripping up streets, which seems like the logical the first step in this whole thing.

I lived about 2 blocks from the light rail when they were building it in Houston, and I remember how freakin' chaotic everything was. Streets would just be closed off randomly, lanes were missing, huge bumps in the streets with those stupid metal coverings to try to replace them.

That brings up another potential issue: when the light rail first opened in Houston, there was a major issue with accidents. Cars were just not used to the trains, and would constantly turn in front of them. In almost every case, it was the driver of the car's fault, but still caused major delays and sometimes considerable damage to the trains.

Should we expect the same issue in the home of the unaware driver, Phoenix?

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As much as I'd like to say no, I too have had these same thoughts. I don't see how it wouldn't be almost catashtrophic at first. I also wonder about pedestrians. Although I know nothing about the foot patterns of PHX walkers.

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How long would you say it takes to get from each city? Maybe I should specify between the city cores.

1.5 - 2 hours. Lots of variables there. In Tucson, traffic is usually kind of slow from Downtown to Prince Road, and the traffic volume on the stretch between where it is reduced to two lanes (now extending to almost the Pinal County line) varies with what day you're traveling, what time of day and how many trucks are on the road. I've never had any problems with afternoon traffic in Phoenix coming into town, but it does sometimes back up at that big merge with the 60.

Speed between Cortaro Road in Tucson and Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix is still 75.

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