Streetfilms looks at the new light rail line in Phoenix as well as the new streetcar line in Seattle.
The Valley Metro light rail line is a 20-mile starter line with 28 stations serving Downtown Phoenix and the suburbs of Tempe and Mesa. The Metro line has exceeded expectations carrying 40,000 passengers per day.
Seattle’s South Lake Union Streetcar is 1.3 miles long and opened in December 2007. It carried half a million passengers in its first year. On July 18th a new light rail line opens connecting the southern end of the streetcar line to the SeaTac Airport.
The ridership numbers in Arizona have been pretty impressive. April was the highest month so far with over 1,000,000 boardings.
Weekday ridership was reported at 32.6% over projections while Saturday and Sunday projections were exceeded by 49.1% and 92.9% over early projections.
The Phoenix light rail should have been built at least 20 years ago. The odds of Phoenix ever being able to catch up after 80 years of completely irresponsible development are very small.
I’m not sure it’s too late for Phoenix, sad as their downtown is, but certainly if Phoenix had done this 20 yrs ago and had been building a system since then it would be a very different place than it is now. Traffic is just sooo terrible in the Phoenix metro that any well designed rail system I think has a good chance of attracting riders who are really frustrated with commuting there, thus possibly the good ridership numbers so far…
Downtown Seattle is just great, and rail must only make it better…
Is there any light rail that has been built anywhere where the numbers for ridership *haven’t* been great? (Maybe Buffalo?)
Phoenix had the chance back in 1989 but they shot it down