Phoenix light rail "Train to Nowhere" opens in 100 days: any Phoenicians excited?


I was reading this and checking out the community response. It seems like such an embarassment to our city. I didn’t live here when this started so I don’t know all the ins and outs but everyone I’ve ever spoken with about it hates it. I know they basically closed downtown Phoenix for the last couple years for this mess and it really seems like a train to nowhere to me.

A little bit of how the locals feel about this thing (there is over 8 pages of this stuff at the link up top, this amounts to about 1/3 of a page):

Phoenix is so spread out that life here without a car is hell.

Am I going to use it? I’d like to. 12th street/Osborn puts me close enough to the line.

I guess I’ll wait and see.

Do you drive car or ride bus currently?

I can’t speak specifically to the pros and cons of the new Phoenix light rail system, but in my experience the comments section on newspaper web sites are crawling with people pathologically opposed to public transportation in any way, shape or form.

I’d love to use it, but it runs just too far north of my commute to be useful. Biking to the rail then biking to work would take me an unacceptable amount of time.

The people bitching about it may not be aware that there’s plans to branch it out significantly. It’ll take a while to get everything placed, but at least they’re starting to get the rail infrastructure in place. It’s less ideal here in Phoenix than a denser city, but I think it can still work.

In my experience, the comments sections on newspaper sites are crawling with people pathologically opposed to reason, logic, common sense, accepted English grammar and a functional shift key.

Those comments sound similar to what was heard back when the Minneapolis Hiawatha Line light-rail was being built. Now that it’s in operation, it is used by 3 times as many people as predicted, years earlier than predicted. Mostly by people who never rode buses, and say they never will ride buses – but they like the light rail. They are having to expand some of the stations, to allow for bigger trains, because the current ones are too crowded at rush hour.

There is now great demand for additional light rail lines. They are working on one from Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul, and the western suburbs are crying for one out in their direction.

All along the light rail line, there is lots of development going on. New housing is being built, and businesses are being added. The proximity to the light rail is hyped by Realtors as a selling point – this area of Minneapolis is one of a very few where housing sales have gone up recently.

If the Phoenix one really goes to ‘nowhere’, my advice would be to quickly buy some of that ‘nowhere’ land as an investment! People who bought up vacant or underused property along the Minneapolis light rail line got rich from that.

I’m intending on using it. One of the stops is directly in front of my office building and it lets off at ASU. I can drive to work, park where I normally do, hop on the rail to ASU and reverse to get back to work.

I grew up in South Jersey where you could hop on the high speed line to go to Philadelphia. That ended up being cheaper and much less of a headache than driving to Philly.

I’m hoping that once they get their groove going, that the light rail works as well.

For the record, I was opposed to the thing in the beginning. With the plans of expansion, it will be much more palatable in the future (I hope). Unfortunately, it will take so long to really see any benefit.

Too bad they didn’t start this project ten to fifteen years ago.

I don’t get the part about not going to the airport, it looks like it does. (link) Yes, you have to transfer to a free bus but its free which is more or less all you have to say to appeal to the public transit crowd. I mean, people don’t take the train to the airport because it’s pleasant and soothing, they do it to either save money or beat traffic.

I’d think the main reason would be to save money on parking. I currently drive and the light rail won’t take me to work. But, I’m waiting to see how popular it becomes.

BTW, for all who see this thread, don’t forget about the proposed Phoenix dopefest

PHX Dopefest

Sorry for the hijack.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this happens, honestly. Most people have sour feelings about the light rail because the construction has been a nuisance for 2+ years, but I remember using the metro in Tokyo. I grew up in the Southwest, and I’m completely used to ignoring mass transit in favor of personal vehicles, which so many people do here. But out of everything I experienced in Tokyo, the memory that sticks the hardest is being able to walk to the metro station and let it take me wherever I wanted to go.

Granted, the light rail is far more limited, but for those people who have business along the line, and I don’t doubt many do, they’re going to fall in love with it. Buses just aren’t quite the same.

It’s going to take a couple decades, but after 15-20 years I’m willing to bet people are going to wonder how they ever got along without it.

The cost of the bus trip isn’t the issue.

The problem with the bus transfer is that it adds another layer of uncertainty to a very time-sensitive trip. It may work perfectly in practice, but you’re still going to have people thinking “what if the bus doesn’t come?” Also, adding the transfer means the trip is just a bigger pain for people–especially those with baggage and kids. That might be enough to tip the balance away from using the system. Over time, if the train/bus transfer proves to be reliable, then people will be less wary of using it.

This is not to say that the train to bus to airport thing isn’t a good solution. I’m sure it is. But I can understand why people aren’t happy about not having a direct train link.

If you ride a train bound for nowhere, be sure to bring some whiskey. Might need it to obtain advice from a gambler thereupon.

Another one comes ten minutes later? If you’re leaving less leeway than that for air travel nowadays, then you can’t blame the transport system for your plans having too much uncertainty.

A person has to have confidence that another bus will come 10 (or 20) mintues later if they’re going to rely on the system to get them to the airport on time.

People aren’t going to leave hours earlier so that they can feel comfortable about the uncertainly of the train/bus when they have other transport options available that they know and trust.

As I said, if the system proves to be reliable, then people will start using it more.

Bear in mind that there’s also another significant market for the airport link, for which it is nowhere near as time-critical, and that’s arrivals to the city. In many cases they’ll assume that the transport options do what they’ll say they do.

The light rail isn’t going to be very useful for me (I live and work far, far north of it), but I might use it to avoid traffic downtown during the 4th, etc. I’m all for it though - I’ve seen what the Metro did for DC (I grew up there), and I’ve tried to explain that the Phoenix light rail may not provide a lot of value today, but (hopefully) will in 25 years…

Are people from Phoenix really called Phoenicians? :slight_smile:

Oh yeah, the DC Metro is AWESOME. But from what I’ve seen, this won’t be much like the DC Metro. At least not, like you say, for 20+ years. By then I’ll be using a jet pack anyway.

Yes. Aren’t we special? :cool: