Posts Tagged ‘Metro’

4th June
2009
written by Sean Noble

As if you needed more reason not to ride the light rail in Phoenix, this should keep you off for good. 

Around 8 a.m., a train was stopped for cleaning after a man smudged feces in the interior of the train. Police were told the man on the train was flicking and playing with feces.

The light rail operator was notified and quickly took the train out of service.

“It is a biohazard, and we have protocol for how we handle a situation like this,” says Hillary Foose. Those protocols include disinfecting the train.

Are we really surprised?  Riders have to hold it until the end of the line and they’re not required to wear pants, so of course this kind of crap was going to happen.

5th February
2009
written by Sean Noble

Waiting at the light at 19th Ave and Camelback in Phoenix on Wednesday evening, I watched a northbound 3-car train go past with 18 passengers.  I then watched a southbound 3-car train go by with exactly 4 passengers.

Then I read the lede to today’s Arizona Republic story: Just as ridership is growing to record levels on the Valley’s public transit, authorities are edging closer to enacting big fare hikes.

Let me get this straight.  Ridership is at record levels, and there were 4 people on a train at 6:45 p.m. on a weeknight?  It only took one person to gain 50% in ridership?  I guess that makes it pretty easy to attain “record levels.” And now we’re worried that we’re going to reduce ridership because fares will go up?

Less than 30 days ago, light rail officials were reporting that they were “on track to meet or beat its ridership projections for the year.”  This was after exactly one week of operating with paying riders.

It’s not like there weren’t a lot of people telling us this wasn’t going to work.   We’ll just have to continue to pay for it for years and years to come.

28th January
2009
written by Sean Noble

Maybe I was wrong about light rail in the Valley.  Maybe it was a good idea.  I mean, it’s a nearly daily floodgate of material for blogging! 

 The latest is the tiff between Sheriff Joe and his plan to transport prisoners on the light rail, and the City of Phoenix in a panic to prevent that from happening.

There is some rich irony in this story.  Here is the quote from a Metro official: “I can’t speak for the sheriff or his office, but public transportation is not a controlled environment, and it is not intended for this kind of use.”

So according to metro, guards transporting prisoners is not an intended use.  But people claiming to be artists can take off their pants and we are supposed to celebrate the “public space” that is now available?

The joke that is light rail will be the gift that keeps on giving.

12th January
2009
written by Sean Noble

Good grief.  Light rail’s blight in the greater Phoenix area is only getting worse.  First, it was the completely dishonest campaign to convince voters that it would reduce traffic congestion and that it wouldn’t remove any traffic lanes (renderings of Central Avenue showed three lanes in each direction).  Then it was the construction phase that was ten times worse than promised by light rail boosters.  Lately it’s been trains hitting cars and smaller-than-hoped-for ridership numbers.

And now this: “artists” riding the light rail with no pants on.

The Arizona Republic carried a story on Sunday headlined “Light-rail riders shed trousers.”  Here is one of the craziest quotes I’ve ever read by an elected official: “The International Don’t Wear Your Pants Day is great; we need more things like this.”  That brilliance was uttered by Avondale Vice-Mayor Ken Weise.  Uh, sir, it just isn’t good public service to be cheerleading people taking their pants off in public.  What’s worse, he apparently had his 11-year old daughter with him.  She is obviously the adult in the family, her quote was, “It’s kind of bizarre to look at.”  Yes, dear, bizarre is one way of putting it.

Now, I don’t know Weise, never met him, heck, I’d never even heard of him before this story, but it just isn’t setting a good example when  your daughter witnesses your glee at pant-less patrons of light rail.  It’s kinda creepy.

There are a couple other gems in the story.  Apparently, we haven’t seen much of this kind of thing in Phoenix in the past because we didn’t have enough “public spaces.”  Now that we have light rail, we have “a public space in which diverse groups can come together.”

According to “urban-studies expert” Nan Ellin at ASU, “Things like this get people excited, and that’s the promise of the public realm. You’re in a space where people don’t know what will happen. I think people will start to say, ‘Phoenix is cool.’ People get excited when they see the possibilities of things like this.”

Well, without pants on, I hope they don’t get too excited.  And I don’t think this is the kind of “excitement” most people want in Phoenix.  This woman has a PhD and she says that taking your pants off in public is going to have people saying Phoenix is cool?  Did she do that on the subways of Manhattan when she was “earning” that PhD at Columbia? Her comments are not only embarrassing to Columbia (although they won’t be embarrassed by it) they’re especially embarrassing to ASU, or should be.

Hasn’t this cost us enough?  It’s costing us credibility and now more money for Metro to invest in signs that say, “No shirt, no shoes, no pants, no service.”