Last Saturday, I had an opportunity to attend a meeting at the Heard Museum honoring the artists that created the artwork for each of the light rail stops. After introductions etc., we all got to board the trains to head to stations where many of the artists were available to show and discuss their works.
I found this evening VERY interesting. I took advantage of the running trains and traveled the entire 20 mile route each way. (40 mile round-trip) The evening was actually designed so that people could travel to a stop to meet their favorite artist and then go to the station near the Tempe Transportation Center where they had a "wine and cheese" reception. Don't get me wrong, I like wine and cheese as much as the next guy, but I *really* wanted to experience riding the entire route. Since that was the case, I decided to stay on the train and travel the entire route instead of hanging out at any particular stop.
From the stop at Encanto / Central Ave., I traveled North to the end of the line at Montebello / 19th Ave. On my way back, I did stop briefly at the Melrose District station where I talked to "Nubia" about the art she created at the 7th Ave / Camelback Station. Nubia is a talented local artist and it was really cool to get an opportunity to hear about her excitement for the project.
Heading towards Tempe from Phoenix, it was cool to get a feel for what the schedule will be like when we all finally get to ride after December 27th. When heading downtown, I enjoyed making the turn towards US Airways Center and Chase Field. I can't wait to start riding the light rail to ball games! I took a quick video as I approached the arena district. When I finally made it to the reception in Tempe, I was able to take a group shot of the artists and then had the choice of hanging around at the reception or taking a "night train ride" to the East end of the line in Mesa and then return back to our starting point near the Heard Museum. Needless to say, I chose the ride over the food. 🙂
I have been lucky to ride the light rail a few times before this trip during different tests, etc. but have never had an opportunity to ride the entire route on a "round trip." I really enjoyed it and was very impressed with the ride, the technologies and with some of the areas along the way. Special thanks go out to METRO and to the cities of Phoenix and Tempe for their hospitality.