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May 22, 2023


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I apologize in advance for this disjointed comment.

Traveling to Atlanta I used and loved MARTA.

Traveling to Salt Lake I used and loved their rail system from the south valley into downtown.

In San Fran I used and loved BART, until the entrances to BART were blocked by mountains of feces.

I would have loved the light rail for the 10 years I commuted from Mesa to downtown, but that was years before light rail.

I loved the idea of light rail even though it would not benefit me. I was quite happy when it opened.

Then I was quite sad when I heard that fares would be on the honor system, security would be non-existent. How could the operators be so naive?

I truly can't tell you the status of the light rail operation at this point. I hear nothing.

By status I mean, is it operating in the red, in the black? Ridership up, down. Is using it good experience, bad experience.?

Normally, I take silence to mean it’s working routinely as expected.

I hope that is the case.

I ride light rail frequently in Seattle and exclusively in Phoenix. My experiences are uniformly positive. Although transit systems were hurt by the pandemic, I don’t care if they’re in the black. Car culture doesn’t pay for itself and we don’t demand that the Pentagon show a profit. Public transit is a public good.

The $50.5 billion Hobbs gave ADOT has no light rail funds????

I just returned from a trip to London and Oslo - a joy in using trains and the underground to get around. It's great to see the development along light rail routes as people really want to live near them. By the way, I bought the David Mapstone mysteries on this trip and read 8 of them. One to go... Fun books!

There were also two other votes focusing on light rail.

One was that disingenuous piece of work where opponents sought to defund light rail through the message of communities to be given a vote if they wanted light rail. The messaging and the law's text were contradictory. By voting yes, the money used to fund light rail projects would be diverted to roads and highways. The messaging was urging people to vote "yes" to have a say in where light rail would be built. Voters saw through this confusion and voted no. Turns out, the strongest no votes came from communities slated for a line or extension.

Phoenix also passed a city-specific tax to expedite light rail construction, but more importantly, expand bus service by offering more frequent daytime service and extending service to midnight.

Bobson thanks for the update.
S0 lite rail, roads and buses will continue to be added to the transportation grids in the
Great Sonoran desert.

All this makes "sense" if the plan is to grow cities. Lite rail is a good choice even if it is uglier than Palm Trees.

If I live long enough I look forward to taking the lite rail to my favorite cantina in Nogales Sonora Mexico.

Of course in Nogales Mexico I will use the services of Pablos ambulance for my destinations.

Maybe someday a train ride to Juarez from Phoenix. Where on the south side of the Mountains I can visit with El Pastor and having lunch with his asylum inmates.
Note on the road to El Pastors you will note the huge Chinese developments in progress and of course if you look to the north you will see the Huffington Horse located near as Illegal drug compound guarded by Mexicos Presidential Military service.
Yep the future is MEGA CITIES. Note NY finally hired a new fool to administer RAT control
Shades of the fake word, Sustainability.

Rightly or wrongly, if you haven't taken a trip down Apache Blvd in Tempe lately, you haven't seen the profound effect light rail has. What was formerly a blighted corridor of old motels and boarded up properties etc. is transforming into a dense urban environment--including a "car free" housing development--and the attendant restaurants, shops etc.

While I thought coronavirus might be the earth's immune system finally kicking in to rid itself of unhealthy levels of human infestation, it looks like populations are still barreling ahead. That being the case, this is the way to house and transport them that doesn't sprawl ever more.

When I was born, I was 2,500,000,001.

No matter how you cut it, 8 billion is too many.

Tempe used to be a nice village. Thanks to Harry and Neil and out of control developers its a nightmarish quagmire of extreme ugliness.
And mosquitoes.

Little entertainment side note:

Heard they are remaking the movie, The Sting. Originally starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. About a couple of lovable grifters.

The new movie will star Wendy Rogers and Kari Lake. A couple of grifters with the "loveable" removed.

Before cars had AC, people in the metro area didn't usually want to commute thirty or forty miles on blazing summer afternoons, with the wind wings blowing hot air in their faces. Not saying nobody did it, but it wasn't easy.

Back in the day, as they say, all the cities in the valley were separated by miles of fields of agriculture. Thus, you drove through nature's natural air conditioning from the irrigated fields. The drives were pleasant.

We slept on cots outdoors wrapped in wet sheets. Mom prayed for a breeze on the slope of North Mountain.
We worked the fields and swam in the canals.
It was a quieter time in the Great Sonoran Desert.

Rogue, what are your thoughts regarding the New Mexico Rail Runner Express service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe? I've always thought it was a great idea, but it just doesn't seem to catch on with folks there. When I lived in New Mexico eons ago I knew of a lot of people who made the daily drive.

I agree with Doggie Combover that there has been a transformation along Apache Boulevard in Tempe in recent years, but that may have more to do with the boulevard's convenient location for ASU's ever-expanding student population than with light rail.

Relatives and friends of mine in north-central Phoenix seem to be unanimous in their thoughts that the 19th Avenue section of light rail has increased crime, blight, and decline in that area of town. City of Phoenix crime maps seem to support their perception.

Was it light rail that caused the decline, or was the decline going to happen regardless?

The decline was well before light rail

Ruben, that may be the case, but when I drive down to Phoenix to visit my brother and sister-in-law, I've noticed a significant change for the worse since the light rail went in at 19th Avenue and Dunlap, which is the current end of the line for Valley Metro rail.

I used to fill up my gas tank at the QT there, and it was pleasant before the light rail station opened up across the street. Now, there are usually numerous characters meandering about.

The City's "Person Crimes Hotspot Map" for the first quarter of 2023 shows that 19th Avenue and Dunlap had the highest rate of violent crime in the entire area of Phoenix that is north of I-10. Areas near the 19th Avenue light rail stops have levels of violent crime that are among the highest in the city. Yet, in most areas along north 19th Avenue where there is no light rail (from I-10 to Indian School Road, for example), violent crime levels are very low.

I don't know how to find pre-light rail crime statistics for 19th Avenue and Dunlap, but my own anecdotal experience, coupled with current crime statistics, indicates that light rail brought a great number of drifters, loiterers, and criminals to an area that previously had few, even if it had experienced some decline earlier.

From 7th Avenue to 19th Avenue on Hatcher a few blocks north of Dunlap is pretty solid homless area. A few sections of that area has always had a lot of poverty. Such flows over into the area of 19th and Dunlap and trickles down 19th avenue to south of Camelback.

In 68 maybe 69 there was a bar at 1100 west Hatcher where Johnny Gamble president of the Texas Bandito Motorcycle gang got mad at his right hand dude, Peter Henry Smith (6'3" and 235lbs) and sliced his stomach open
Peter died a few months later of peronitios in KC Lincoln hospital.

Johnny was about 5'6" and 150 lbs and while chatting with me as Peter bled out,
Johnny bragged to me about his badge.
I fell for it and said what badge? He pointed out the half tampon sewed to his Levi jacket.
Well Kevin thats, Sunnyslope.

The area you describe on 19th Avenue is an example of the many linear slums that have evolved from the tract houses around ChrisTown. They weren't caused by light rail.

By contrast, the neighborhoods south of the Grand Canal have better-built houses, more stable ownership.

All that said, Valley Metro needs a transit police of sworn and armed officers on the trains, especially north of Camelback.

My rides are from Midtown to downtown, with safe, real neighborhoods of the Historic Districts, along with the offices and ASU downtown.

For what it's worth, the May 22nd issue of The New Yorker has an interesting article by Adam Gopnik about mass transit, cars, urban vs suburban, and the ongoing struggle between them.

In 1980 when i was Phoenix Police Chief Lawrence Wetzels administration Sergeant i learned Phoenix had two police departments for many years. Maybe since the years of trolley cars. With lite rail in the works a Sworn Phoenix Police Commander was selected from the police department to fill the Chiefs position of the Phoenix Transportation enforcement department
Since then, IMHO city managers have not satisfactorily maintained adequate public saftey programs for mass transist. Additionally many consider the Phoenix police department sworn officers, understaffed.
At one time Sworn Phoenix police officers were also assigned to City Parks. City efforts to reduce costs, did away with Sworn officers handling these issues.

Note: SWORN officers are officers recognized by the state of Arizona as Peace officers vested with all the state enforcement codes and statues. When you hire security not endowed with these powers it brings many subsets of enforcement issues.

Your correct Jon. Those issues were in pockets of a number of areas prior to lite rail.
The Slope has seen a number of different poverty and criminal issues since the 1950's. From poverty, motorcycle gangs to Hispanic and Vietnamese gangs. Currently the area of about 900 West Hatcher has a high density if poor and homeless.
In the 50's it was my buddies and the Glendale Pachucos duking it out. Zip guns were popular. But mostly it was hands and feet. Feet for running when the odds were not favorable. But then my last fight was in 1959. Me and the King of Buckeye taking on three dudes in the dirt field behind McDonalds at Central and Indian School.

I think Mesa has done a goid job of including lite rail as it continues to extend it East. They are getting closer to hundereds of trailer courts and RV parks as they work east towards the Superstitions. Jacob wont need his mule.

WBIYB indeed. If ever-a-wever a boondoggle there was, it's Interstate 11. Can you imagine stucco slums and chain store deserts are far as the eye can see, from Wickenburg to Sahuarita? Only in Arizona can you buy worthless land in the desert (Bianco Road anyone?), and make bazillions growing "homes." All with nary a mention of any form of transit. Freeways bring prosperity! Good luck, central Arizona, you're gonna need it.

Yep your right Jeff.
50.5 million in 2023 ADOT budget for asphalt and concrete.


Anyway follow the money. And while you counting check on whose applying for the ADOT pot hole damage reimbursement funds.

Alt/fuel Scandal in 2000 Republican Senator David Peterson said, "an embarrassment to the whole GOP."
And Republican Govenor Jane Hull who "missed it"?

One of the more interesting news accounts was by Utahs, Deseret News on 31 October 2000.

10 percent?

Note: Govenor Napolitano opened an investigation into the Alt/Fuel scandal.
No criminal charges were filed.
Janet who had ties to Salt Lake then snuck out of town leaving Arizona with GOP Jan Brewer.
Ties to Salt Lake?
Sinema makes statement she "can handle."

In late 2010 Gloria and i attended a Western Writers book presentation at the Historic Singing Wind bookstore near Benson Arizona. Gabby Giffords and her mom were there helping the owner, Winn Bundy (now deceased) with refreshments and book signings.
At that time in a conversation with Giffords she informed me that she had to pull 33 percent of the Mormon vote to win her elections.

Thanks, Jon and Calvin, for the additional insights about the history of the area that the 19th Avenue stretch of light rail runs through/to.

I agree that Valley Metro needs sworn and armed police on the trains. As a society, we Americans have let our social standards decline tremendously during the last several decades. And we're very passive and reluctant to confront people who are disrupting the peace on public transit infrastructure. So, the cost of adequate policing on a continual basis needs to be factored into public transit budgets. The key word being "adequate."

You know he lives in Phoenix?

I’ve ridden the rail quite a lot. Used to take it from my apartment in Tempe to my job Phoenix, which was especially helpful as I went a few years without owning a car. I’ve been living in midtown for the past five years and the train is quite useful for nights spent going out downtown. Never had any problems. There’s shenanigans present on any public transport but for the most part nobody ever bothered me.

But, something really needs to be done about the section north of camelback. I took the Christown stop down to Indian school the other night and it was one of the only times I felt a little unsafe. I get that 19th Ave just sort of has a reputation for being this way but I can’t help but feel that the more blighted sections negatively impact ridership as a whole.

In the early 50's i rode my bicycle south on Central Avenue from the Slope to "Downtown" Phoenix to go to the movies. And maybe drop a few coins at the Penny Arcade. And then ride back to 9822 N 3rd Street.
With no problems!

Today walking and riding a bicycle in Phoenix can get you killed.

This is how corrupt governments solve problems.


Feds, AZ, Maricopa announce a major decision on our ground water EMERGENCY.

Effective IMMEDIATELY (or soon) permits will not be issued for future housing developments.


We have no choice but to take drastic action.


EXCEPT ........................

This does not apply to the 80,000 housing permits pending. Does not apply to Phoenix, Maricopa and Pinal county cause they have so much water.

Oh, and any developer who can Pinky swear that they have a 100 year supply of water can go forward.

Conclusion: If you are a developer and you plan to build a housing development around Peach Springs, AZ , you better think twice Mister. The rest of the state...go crazy, build, build , build.

Stay tuned for next weeks update: Justice delayed is justice delayed is justice delayed.

rumor has it that soon the truth will be posted here.

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