At Rail Life, we are always looking for fun and interesting information to share. The following article was written by my good friend, D. Patrick Lewis, a guy who lives, breathes and blogs about life in Scottsdale Arizona. Bringing light rail to Scottsdale has been a hot topic for a while now and Patrick was the first guy I thought of when looking for opinions on the subject. Thanks Patrick, for sharing your opinion on this very interesting subject!
Scottsdale Needs to Have a Conversation about Light Rail
Recently, the City of Scottsdale decided to not renew its membership in the Valley Metro Rail, Inc, a decision I don’t like but can understand. I don’t like the decision because eventually Scottsdale is going to need Light Rail, so why not be part of the conversation. I understand the decision though, in these economic times cities are doing everything they can to save money.
Why do I think Scottsdale is going to need Light Rail in the future?
Reason number one, Skysong. Scottsdale has invested millions in this collaboration with ASU and various other companies to, among other things, improve South Scottsdale and bring some economic vitality back to the area. So, why not supply large scale transportation to Skysong? It would create a route from ASU to downtown Scottsdale, greatly benefiting the community and help relieve the parking congestion problem Scottsdale has. Light Rail would also bring some greatly needed economic stimulus to the area.
Second, the McDowell Motor Mile is dying and Scottsdale is losing that revenue and an eye sore is being created. There has been some talk of turning the old car dealerships into mixed use residential. A plan that I think will work but there are many other alternatives to be explored before choosing a path. Regardless of the path that is chosen for the Motor Mile there will still be a need to transport people without affecting the already low availability of parking in the area.
Lastly, the Diamondbacks and Rockies will be holding their spring training games at the 101 and Indian Bend in Scottsdale starting in 2011 and the Giants already have a very impressive training facility near downtown Scottsdale. Wouldn’t it be great to provide an easy way for people to travel from downtown Scottsdale to those training locations without having to worry about parking?
I know there is a lot of fear amongst Scottsdale residents about Light Rail going down Scottsdale Road and negatively affecting all those small businesses as it did down Central Avenue in Phoenix. However, to that I say there is a solution. With Scottsdale having ambitions of building up the commercial real estate between Pima and the 101, the remodeling of the Pavilions and the expansion of Casino Arizona’s Resort and Golf Course and the aforementioned Spring Training facility. It would make sense to me that the Light Rail tracks could run parallel to the 101 and since Scottsdale is much longer than it is wide, have express route buses running east and west with Trolley service to fill in the gaps.
There are many benefits I haven’t discussed here and there are many obstacles on the way to this scenario but Scottsdale needs to continue to have and participate in a discussion about Light Rail. Believe it or not, there will come a day when Scottsdale will need the Light Rail more than the Light Rail needs Scottsdale.