Friday, January 2, 2009

Urban News Vol. 34

As we ring in the new year, the first phase of a new metro light-rail system has been launched in the continental United States. In Phoenix. I've twice been to Arizona and consider this system to be a boon to the traditional central business district of the city proper as well as the major university community of Tempe. Unfortunately, not much else about Phoenix is traditional, least of all the concept of an inefficient desert megalopolis designed with Happy Motoring in mind. It remains to be seen how ridership figures will fare over the coming year and whether expansion of the starter system is in the cards.

Putting cynicism aside for a second, here are some quick facts before I link you out to some news stories on the topic. 27 stations approximately 16 feet wide by 300 feet long line the 20 mile route from Montebello and 19th in Phoenix to Main and Sycamore in Mesa. The standard gauge (56 1/2 inches) system cost $1.4 billion to construct. I've embedded a system map on the right, click to enlarge it to full size.

Long Waits Greet Riders Along Stops on Light-Rail Lines
by Glen Creno and John Faherty, The Arizona Republic

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