Check out the quick video from StreetFilms and get a glance at the new 20-mile, 28-station Phoenix light rail line. It appears that the line has been incredibly successful right in the heart of one of the most sprawling cities in our nation. Ridership is near 40,000 passengers per day.
To my eye, this is what the Metro West County extension should have looked like, at-grade, easily accessible (and cheaper) stations with tracks running within Forest Park Parkway. Of course the building and engineering of the extension is a controversial issue and has been the subject of many past blog posts.
Perhaps going forward we can look to Phoenix for a model of light rail that would work on major streets within our city. Of course the cars are modern (it’s a new line), but they have some features our vehicles lack. Bicycle hooks inside the light rail cars are a nice touch. A north-south line utilizing Grand or Jefferson or Broadway for instance.
There are many options to consider regarding our public transit future, including buses, rapid bus transit and light rail options. To be a supportive and productive part of the conversation we should learn what we can from other cities. Visit Metro’s Moving Transit Forward website to become a part of the official conversation.