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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Phoenix Launches Light-Rail Service

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

After four years of construction, the city of Phoenix has finally begun operation of it’s long anticipated Light Rail service, connecting the central phoenix corridor and the east valley.

Contrary to reports, however, all did not go quite as planned. Although trains were scheduled to arrive at each station every four to six minutes, some folks waited hours in line, as trains already packed with riders arrived every twenty-five minutes or so. Still, the weather was pleasant, and the throngs who came out for the days festivities left satisfied.

Light Rail
Phoenix Metro Light-Rail Train

For residents of the valley, this day has been long in coming. Construction of the project began back in 2004, and as is nearly always the case with projects of this magnitude, an array of problems, most notably with the track, delayed the launch date.

Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon certainly appeared pleased, and with good reason. Gordon, a light-rail advocate, was seeing his vision come to life. The mayor spent his morning riding the new trains and exuberantly shaking hands with riders.

The sleek new trains are quiet and energy efficient, providing a viable alternative for some valley commuters. Not all residents, however, will reap the potential benefits, as service is currently limited to approximately twenty miles of track. The service should have some impact on downtown traffic and airport congestion, but won’t do much to relieve the untenable snarl of vehicles suffocating the surrounding suburbs.

Still, most everyone on hand was optimistic about the new service. Although this high tech new Metro Light-Rail system cannot be the solution to all of the valleys transportation woes, there is little doubt most residents minds. At least the city of Phoenix is finally on the right track.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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