Daily Archives: December 27, 2008

Long waits greet riders along metro Phoenix light rail stops

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People lined up at Central & Roosevelt stop (Photo: Jack Kurtz, The Arizona Republic)

[Source: Glen Creno and John Faherty, Arizona Republic] — The trains left the station right on time.  After more than a decade of planning, and $1.4 billion in spending, the Valley’s light rail system finally became a reality Saturday morning.  One train left from a station in Mesa while another departed from downtown Phoenix at precisely 10 a.m.

Riders clapped and cheered as the crowded trains departed.  Many sat transfixed looking out the windows.  On the first east-bound train, people cheered again as the cars crossed over Tempe Town Lake.  Lines started forming for the trains about one hour before the launch and didn’t let up through the morning or into the early afternoon.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Will metro Phoenix small businesses use light rail?

nullThe O’Neil Associations/ASBA Economic Indicators Monitor asked 3,000 Arizona small businesses whether they would be likely to ride Metro Light Rail when it becomes available.  A majority (57%) indicated that they are either very unlikely (41%) or somewhat unlikely (16%) to use it.   The potential usership among this group, however, is considerable.  Fully 35% said they are at least somewhat likely to use it.  This includes 13% who are very likely to use it and 22% who are somewhat likely to use it.

The poll’s director, Dr. Michael O’Neil commented, “Obviously, the potential usership of the system is constrained by its currently limited geography.  A perhaps more significant obstacle however, is a psychological one: Phoenix has always been an automobile-centric community and convincing people to use light rail involves crossing a psychic barrier.  How, and under what circumstances, users will respond to the actual availability of light rail remains to be seen, and will of course depend on the totality of riders’ experiences.  In addition, the accessibility and availability of parking spaces near the point of origin and appropriate transportation or proximity at users’ destinations will be important factors.  It will be interesting to track the changes in these figures once light rail actually becomes available later this year.”