There’s been plenty of stories on how well-used the light rail is, how it’s become a convenient people mover for students, sport fans and a healthy amount of commuters, and even plenty of glamour shots of bands playing in cars, events at stations of the trains themselves.
I’m here to tell you what it’s REALLY like to ride the light rail. No fancy angles or impressive stats, just a blow by blow account of a typical experience riding the light rail from Roosevelt and Central (my ‘hood!) to Mill Ave and 3rd St (dinner with Katie!) on a random weekday afternoon. As seen from my POV and from my iPhone. Apologies in advance for the quality of images, I’m blaming that completely on me. Quite impressed with the iPhone 4’s camera quality, I am. Here we go:
My humble abode, as seen from my entryway. Yes, that’s Austin Powers.
Always good to lock your door. I do live in the CITY, you know. They’re all crime-ridden.
It’s like a fixie, but it has gears. Does that make it a cruiser? Notice Katie’s bike behind, still missing a seat. Jerks!
That there is a good-lookin’ car, no? Almost paid off. No interest. Only 23 mpg though, and I don’t think they’re making a hybrid model.
The downstairs security door where I always catch a whiff of dog feces.
Because pet owners don’t toss their poop out by the dog park, they throw it in here, and this garbage can isn’t emptied very often. The joys of city livin’, folks!
I didn’t know Lola’s had donuts! They must, because there are always cop cars around my place. This did not deter my old bike from being stolen, however.
Can you see the light rail in the distance? Just two streets and I’m there! Told you I lived close.
Now I bet you can see. It’s a short walk and I bet in this heat, most people aren’t willing to walk more than that. I think most people said up to a half mile would be acceptable. My commute is about 1/5 mile.
There’s my train! Think I’ll make it in time? I still haven’t bought my ticket.
Nope, it left. Damnit. Well, I’ll wait. Only 10-12 minutes, right? No big deal.
The ruffians you barely see behind the pole offered to sell me a bus pass. You know you’ve reached big-city status when bus passes are sold like drugs.
Ticket bought. 6:21pm and my wait begins. No one else on the platform, the DBacks must be out of town.
Air! Seriously, air vents out of here. It’s hot, but it’s better than standing on the platform in 100+ degrees with no wind, though it might be just as hot.
A comfy chair! Nice that it’s preheated from 5ish hours in the AZ sun. Hmmm…warm seat, warm air or just stand there?
Fair Trade is packed after dark, but slow during rush hour. Shoulda grabbed myself a coffee.
6:24 and STILL NO TRAIN. The sunbeams from the afternoon AZ sun are great for suntanning, bad for standing on a platform.
My lucky hat. Katie likes it. Still, even the straw doesn’t alleviate the heat. Now I’m sweating, but that’s nothing new.
Did I mention it’s 105 degrees?
Oh sure, a northbound train. Always there when you don’t need it.
6:27 and I’ve taken off my hat, contemplating going shirtless. Funny story, I’ve actually ridden the light rail sans pants and sans shirt, but not at the same time.
The nice voice in the loudspeaker says I have five more minutes until a train arrives. I’m unsure as to why exactly they announce both two and five minutes, but hey, it’s on the way.
FINALLY. Another train at 6:32. That’s almost exactly 12 minutes.
Oh god, where should I sit? So many options. Being used to AZ by now, I shall try to sit as far away from people as possible. Wow, that AC feels GOOD. Metro definitely got that part right.
Nice, upholstered seats are cool to sit on. In fact, the entire car’s temperature is very comfortable.
Visitors! From the sound of it, they’re from the east coast and have been in New York extensively. Their conversations seem…very east coast. They talk about issues and experiences, not people.
First stop on my journey to Tempe. Van Buren, maybe? Lots of students getting on and off. Wait, maybe this is the second stop. First stop after the bus station.
The east coasters are STILL ON THE TRAIN. They keep talking about trains (heavy ones) on the east coast. Makes me want to go.
Hey, biker dude. I see far more bikers use the train during the not as sweltering hot months.
Biker dude made it on. Now we’re on our way out of downtown Phoenix.
Hello, Chase Field sign! This marks the end of our downtown Phoenix tour. Anyone still call it the BOB?
What kind of shoes does someone like me wear on the light rail on my way to a date? Vibram KSOs. In black. These are my “dressy” barefoot shoes. Yes, Katie allows this.
I believe this is the New Times building, as seen through the window at the first stop outside of downtown.
Had never heard of Eastlake Park until I saw it written on this stop, but hey, we have an Eastlake Park!
One of the many businesses you’ll see while riding the light rail between Tempe and Phoenix.
Another establishment. Not sure what these businesses do, but at least they’re not real estate agents. We have enough of those!
Classy! I’m waiting for the four-sided billboard with lights. Wait, are these really called billboards at this point?
We’re almost to 24th street. Do YOU know what’s on 24th street and the light rail track? Seriously, because I don’t.
It’s that fish place! I’ve always wanted to go there, but I forget it exists until I pass it on the way somewhere. I have it on good authority it’s a tasty place. Wonder if their business has increased due to the light rail.
The former greyhound track and flea market, now I think it’s just a flea market. Pretty big one, too. Packed on weekends, empty during the week.
It’s the people mover for the airport! No more shuttles to deal with, though they work quite well.
About to catch a plane, I bet. Or staying at Aloft, which is a fantastic traveler’s hotel. This intersection is pretty nice.
We’re at the airport stop! Even with the shuttle transfer, the light rail to the airport is super convenient. Usually takes me 45 minutes from my door to the ticket counter, no matter the time of day.
I have never been to this business, but they seem to like girls!
Starbucks! Pretty sure this is one of only two that are visible from the light rail. So un-city like.
The views in Tempe by Rio Salado apartments and APS (or is it SRP?).
Hey, I used to live there! One of two apartment complexes I lived in during light rail construction. BOTH apartments completed light rail construction just after I left.
If you lived here, this would be your stop. Or if you worked for SRP (or maybe it’s APS).
It’s the bridge over Tempe Town…puddle?
Note the crane in the distance, hard at work fixing the ruptured dam bladder.
And the Tempe Center for the Arts, as well. Nice sunset.
The lake actually looks really pretty here, though it’s probably about three feet deep at this point, though I swear it was never much more than that.
I MADE IT! Felt like it took forever, but a mere 45 minutes after I leave my home, I’m in Tempe ready for my date.
Goodbye, light rail car. We had some good times.
The east coasters! WHY ARE THEY FOLLOWING ME?
Ahhh….A mountain, where the A stands for Arizona? ASU? AZ?
East coasters getting into a cab. See, just like a real, big city!
Who cares about the food, prices or when they’re actually in business, these guys open at 6am! Perfect time to get a drink after the night shift or keep your buzz after a loooong night.
Quality tshirts at reasonable prices. I’m a frequent customer.
Independent theater that I’ve never been to. I’ve heard it’s lovely.
If you have never been to CookieZ, go and order an ice cream sandwich. You will thank me. Lots.
I’m a huge fan of their ads, which I look at for the pictures.
Did we have a problem with antique tequila bars?
I’ve arrived. Time for nice dinner with a hottie.
Taking off my hat might have been a mistake. Perhaps I should put it back on.
Jeremy Vaught says
That’s a lot of pictures. Yup.
Thx. Awesome tour. Saw more here than when I actually rode the light rail.