After more than a decade of planning, $1.4 billion dollars, and its share of controversy, the Phoenix light rail officially opened today.
Francy and I braved the coldest day of the year to join an estimated 200,000 other people in riding the rail.
Festivities took place all across the 20 mile route. We initially tried to get on at the far east end of the light rail route in Mesa. When presented with a line packed 15 deep, we decided to drive west a few stops where we were able to board in short order.
The train cars were packed….
But we had a great ride. We talked to a lot of different folks, got toes stepped on by obnoxious out of control kids and enjoyed some views of Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix that we rarely get to see as we’re normally focused on navigating traffic and not getting killed while we’re behind the wheel.
Right now the light rail doesn’t quite come far enough east to be convenient to us in most cases. Expansion is planned, but who knows how long (or how many dollars) that will take.
I can tell you one thing for sure though. If I’ve got a destination along the route, I’ll almost certainly take advantage of a Park & Ride, hop a train, and leave the downtown driving to someone else. The $1,400,000,000 question is, of course, how often will I have a destination that lies on the route?
If you want more info on light rail, go to the fabulous RailLife.com. It will have everything you need, and more. And who knows, maybe you’ll score a cool t-shirt.
See my Flickr Light Rail set for more light rail opening day pics.