I read an article from our friends at Wrangler News recently titled, “Metro Light Rail Benefits surpass expectations.”
The article starts out talking about the fact that we still have a long way to go in the Phoenix area if we want to make any real environmental impacts with our transportation system. Awareness of cool walk able lifestyles and neighborhoods, extending the light rail line and /or streetcar system further into other parts of town, and creating what METRO calls a “total transit network” should all help save a few trees in the future.
“Until it expands to reach a larger number of people, it will not be a major source of environmental efficiency.” – Rob Melnick, ASU Global Institute of Sustainability
Budget concerns and opposition to Prop 400 are also discussed along with the fact that we live in a car culture in the Metro Phoenix area.
METRO Benefits Communities:
Social and economic benefits of the light rail line are mentioned as they talk about several of the changes we have seen along the Apache corridor. While the Wrangler News has a good niche in Tempe and they focus the article on Tempe neighborhoods, the same benefits hold true for downtown Phoenix, the Central Avenue corridor and the entire 20 mile light rail line.
“Prior to 2004 and starting in the mid-1990s, Apache Boulevard, a thoroughfare in north Tempe, had become a haven for prostitutes, dive bars and drug addicts. After the opening of light rail stops along the way, the area was mostly able to shake off its rough reputation and, in recent years, has become a popular housing area for ASU students.”
With neighborhood improvements along the line many other benefits follow. New restaurants, shops, and housing opportunities have reportedly created BILLIONS of dollars in economic impact. While many feel the economy has pretty much sucked since the opening of the line, there has been some very positive growth in key aspects of “life along the line.”
Onnie Shekerjian is a member of the Tempe City Council and says in the article, “The light rail was a very expensive form of transportation, but the fact that it cleared up a blighted area and brought in immense economic development is something that made me very interested.” Onnie isn’t alone in her interest in the benefits of light rail. Politicians, students, and business owners all seem to agree that we have seen many benefits to the region since the trains began running a few short years ago.
Take a look at the Wrangler News article, the benefits are many…
Tyler Hurst says
Would really love to see each of the Light Rail cities focus heavily on promoting development around the line. I know Tempe is doing well with all the student apartments, but it would be great to see more stuff in between the two cities.
That’s going to take serious effort from our leaders, but it’s oh so necessary.
Rail Life says
I would certainly agree. I know the cities all have an interest, there is just not a ton of people willing to begin development projects, yet. I believe Phoenix and ASU both introduced some grant money, I hope there will be some takers.
There needs to be private investment dollars involved, I have a feeling we will see some more movement, soon.