[Source: J Seth Anderson, Boy Meets Blog]
A street-car system, dating back to the 19th century in Phoenix has been covered by asphalt for over 50 years, until parts of it were uncovered on March 30, 2011 in a tangled mess destined for a landfill. (Thank you to Sean at the skyscraper page for posting these pictures.) This particular line was known as the Kenilworth (5th Ave.) Line. It ran south from Encanto Blvd along 5th Ave past the Kenilworth School and terminated at the 2nd Ave station. It’s been buried under asphalt since the late 1940s.
Quick history lesson: Phoenix had an extensive streetcar system up until the 1940s! Look at these maps from Wikipedia (this doesn’t even show the Grand Avenue line)
This burns me up! The city had an effective, extensive public transportation system in the hub of the city that got people into town, to shopping, to restaurants, to work, to public spaces, to concert halls and theaters then back to their neighborhoods. Sound familiar? Since 2004 the city has poured billions of dollars into the light rail in order to create a public transportation system… a system that already existed and was better than what we have now!!!!
We wouldn’t even recognize Phoenix today if these lines were still in operation. City officials know as well as I do that the key component missing in every single redevelopment or “revitalization” of downtown was effective public transportation. The light rail debuted in 2008 and by all accounts has been a huge success. We need more of it, we need it now. And sadly, we already had it.