Phoenix LRT (part ii)

In the downtown Phoenix transit plaza there were these brightly coloured display boards. From a distance, I thought they were route maps or timetables. Upon closer inspection, they proved to be laser-cut metal sheets. Each one showed a subway or rail transit map from the major cities of the world.

I felt a bit – discomforted – inspecting these. Was little Phoenix trying to cast itself in the Big Leagues, rather like Toronto (used to) cast itself as “world class” which simply proved it isn’t? Was it pompous? Or was it just Public Art?

The station closeup (above) shows a number of interesting features. The vines grow up in protective cages/trellises, giving greenery with very little take of floor space. The hip bar and foot rail are for leaning against, as there is minimal seating at the stations. (Something similar is promised for Bronson as the approved plan didn’t allocate any space for benches or bus shelters). To the right, the perforated shade louvres.

I found the station platforms felt crowded while waiting for the train, what with cyclists, wheelchairs, and other people. Students had backpacks. When the train arrived, and people simultaneously got on and off, it was unpleasantly congested. What would it be like if they were all wearing the parkas we wear for five months of the year?

The suburban station (above)had an artwork inserted into the mesh.

A cube of six bike lockers was nearby. Bring your own lock, apply to handle, and your bike is locked up while at work. No overnight parking. If these lockers were for transit commuters, it struck me as being more sensible to put the lockers at the outlying stations and leave the bikes there rather than transporting them on the bus or LRT and then parking them downtown. The empty-at-night rule might also prevent persons from moving into the boxes, given the mild Phoenix climate.


Travellers who brought a bike in with them onto the train, had these special hang-up posts. I took this pic at the end of the line, after everyone had left. But all the hangers were in use, and there 2 bikes and 2 motorized wheelchairs in the one car, split between the two car entries.

Tickets for the train were bought from curbside vending machines. People also had reloadable cards and passes. It was necessary to “tap and go” or validate the card before each trip. Here is the disposable all day ticket I bought (it was priced the same as two one-way tickets, and I was going out the line and back).

Once on the train, I spotted a fare inspector doing one end of the car. He got off after several stops. On the return trip, 3 inspectors got on. They insert your ticket or pass into a portable reader that tells him the characteristics of the ticket, date and geographic range, etc. I saw more inspectors in one holiday afternoon than I see on OC Transpo in a year. Presumably the free-loaders caught justifies the inspection cost. Personally, I’d pay them a lower salary PLUS a percentage of skipper fines. That would motivate them to check more users.

Did I mention that the line runs through multiple university campuses?

The inspector was quite friendly and delighted to demonstrate his toy.

Indeed, all the while I was on the LRT I was aware that there were tourists on board, and people taking a ride for entertainment. All the more reason we need to replace Colonel By Drive with a surface LRT from Gatineau across the Alexandra Bridge – Market – Colonel By Drive – Glebe Station/Lansdowne – Carleton U/O-Train. Ottawa just doesn’t see the benefit of soliciting tourism and special event revenue to supplement our transit system.

One thought on “Phoenix LRT (part ii)

  1. I thought I was pretty smart for being able to spot the Moscow subway on the metal sheet in photo one by the diagram alone. Then I saw the title at the bottom of the sheet. Oh well.
    I think the diagrams work well as public art, actually – and seems like transit geek nirvana as a bonus. Hopefully nobody gets confused by the London diagram and tries to change trains from the Phoenix LRT at Mornington Crescent.

Comments are closed.