METRO Dragging Feet While Tempe Looking Forward

We’ve heard talks of a Tempe Streetcar line for years. There have been many studies, community focus groups and surveys to determine the best route.

In today’s paper, Dianna Nanez reminds us that there has been a lot of silence lately concerning the Tempe streetcar route. Apparently, the Feds are interested in the project but are not yet in a position to make a move.

Heck, what’s the rush?

For quite some time now we’ve been waiting to see which route would be chosen by Metro. The joys of federal red tape appear to play a large part of any transit-related process.

If you recall, METRO’s first option, heading south on Mill to Southern, was shot down even though we were told that it “couldn’t be changed.” Then, we took a break for a while and found out that two new choices had emerged. For some, the choice doesn’t seem too tough. For others, it’s a painstaking process. ( can you say bureaucrats? )

Take a look at these two choices and have a conversation with yourself or someone who will listen to reason.

See the green line? That’s the “Apache” choice.

See the yellow line? That’s the Apache-Rio Salado choice.

The purple line is the existing ( and not going away ) light rail route.

Some of the “pros” for the green route are density and proximity to student housing. Yes, there is currently density between Rural and the light rail station at Dorsey. Apparently, people can’t walk or ride a bike between the vast distance from Rural and Dorsey?

For the yellow route, the density isn’t exactly in place just yet, but the Rio Salado route ( to most sane people ) appears to be the greatest impact-maker going forward. A couple of little things like a $600 million development project and a stadium district plan from ASU that is starting out with a $225 million project of its own are just two examples of things that are happening before any tracks will be laid. Heck, everyone that I know of has already decided that a streetcar route extending along Rio Salado to Tempe Marketplace and then to the new Cubs Stadium / Mesa Riverview would be a no-brainer. You want to talk economic development potential, just take a look at what is coming to this area. Heellloooo. Anyone paying attention?

Part of the red tape process:

We’ve heard this before and the AZCentral article mentions it again: “To obtain federal funding, Valley Metro and city officials must show the project meets certain standards, which include cost-effectiveness, ridership, economic development, population and density levels.”

So, the density at Rio Salado isn’t there today. Big freakin’ deal. It’s coming. To try and say that the people who make these decisions don’t know about the new developments that are coming to Rio Salado is just crazy. If the Apache choice is given more weight just because we currently have a bunch of students and some restaurants in place, someone needs to have their head examined.

Hopefully, we’ll have an answer, soon… Can you guess which route we prefer?


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