TagPhoenix

So many photos from Tempe

I started uploading photos yesterday from my recent trip to Arizona. I’m glad I was able to visit downtown Phoenix, wonderful Tucson, and downtown Tempe, including the ASU campus. I made sure to visit places I missed last year.

The City of Tempe built Tempe Town Lake in the 1990s. The lake, along with the city’s good efforts, has attracted a lot of good development, and gives residents a great recreational asset. The Arizona State University rowing team train on the lake. The Hayden Ferry Lakeside condos and Class A offices (above) overlook the lake.

I’ve got a new and faster photo process. I’ve got a GPS device that automatically geotags all my photos (with the help of HoudahGeo software).

The Valley Metro light rail system shares a parking lot with the apartment complex. Valley Metro provides free parking in its Park & Ride lots. I believe this is to attract people to use the train. I hope someday the train becomes so popular that they can charge for parking.

Video: Bicycling next to Phoenix Valley light rail train

UPDATE: View overhead photos of all of the bicycling treatments on Jefferson and Washington streets (the one-way couplet) between 7th and 24th Streets in Phoenix, Arizona, courtesy of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists.

My dad and I rode our bikes in the inside left-hand bike lane on eastbound, one-way, Washington Street in Phoenix, Arizona (purely to take this video).

The left-hand travel lane is for home and business access while the one-way light rail track (and its stations) run in the middle of the street. The lane is here so that there aren’t gobs of driveways and track crossings – it’s a safety feature. I think the bike lane is here instead of on the right side of the street (and next to the curb) because less traffic drives here. Also, there are few opportunities for right turns in front of the bicyclists.

Eventually, though, going east, the bike lane moves over to the right side through the use of a “perpendicular bike lane” adjacent to a crosswalk in a signalized intersection. The perpendicular bike lane looks like a bike box. This happens at 24th Street because the left-hand access lane disappears and Jefferson Street merges into Washington Street, between 25th and 27th Streets, which becomes a two-way street with the light rail tracks dividing the travel directions. (I would add links to Google Maps, but the imagery is outdated and doesn’t show the 1-year old train line; it does show some construction.)

I would call all of these features innovative designs and good solutions. I think tomorrow I will ride the area again (probably alone) to get a better feel for how it works and how safe bicyclists would perceive the design.

The video is sped up by 20% to be less droll. The audio drops out a few times because I was talking (giving my dad directions like a movie producer), but you can still hear the electronic sounds of the train as it approaches and departs the station. I didn’t have my camera’s bike mount so I held it in my hand. I want to come back to take photos instead of video. It was fun to make this video!

Annual trip to Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe

I have lots of family who live in the Phoenix Valley in southern Arizona. I take a trip out there annually to visit, usually around Thanksgiving or Christmas. I’ll be leaving in a week and I haven’t yet planned what I’m going to do. Neither of my siblings will be coming at the same time (odd), so I’m going to have a lot of me time. I know the Phoenix area has had some of the worst foreclosures and job losses in the country, and maybe I can try to find visual, apparent indications of this (not sure how, though).

I’ll have a car, a bike, or a light rail train!

So far, I’m thinking of these things:

  • Photoshoot of the construction of the new Bombardier People Mover at the PHX SkyHarbor airport. When the light rail opened last year in December (see my photos), the connection between the Valley Metro station at Washington and 44th and the northern terminal of the people mover was this disconnected, unadorned viaduct. I hear construction has progressed at a steady rate on the $1 billion, 1 mile system (keep in mind that the entire light rail system of 20 miles cost $1.4 billion to construct).
  • Visit the Phoenix Trolley Museum. I found this just now through someone’s Flickr photostream next to a photo of the people mover construction area. I’ve never heard of the place, and I don’t know anything about it right now, but it has at least one train, so why not go!
  • Visit Tucson! I’ve heard that the University of Arizona, Tucson campus, is very bike friendly (my former coworker, Christy, studied there). The Tucson Bike Lawyer keeps everyone apprised of the local comings and goings. The city is a 2.5 hour drive so I can easily handle it by myself in a day (or perhaps my dad or one of my cousins would come with). I don’t know what there is to do, but I get a lot of joy from walking and taking photos.
  • Lastly, I’m thinking of visiting Los Angeles. I’ve never been to L.A. and I want to go to test ride a bike I’ve recently started researching. I still have a big soft spot for Dutch bicycles, but the Yuba Mundo has caught my eye as a bike that can handle just as much cargo, costs less, and I can customize it with many Dutch bike attributes (like internal gearing, brakes, and dynamo-powered lighting). A Chinatown bus is $60 roundtrip, but the duration is 6 hours. Also, Amtrak no longer serves Phoenix but does stop in “nearby” Maricopa (not the county).

If you live around here and want to show me something neat, I am interested.

Whose light rail train do you prefer?

In just one year, I’ve traveled to the grand opening for the Phoenix Valley’s (Arizona) first light rail line, visited the light rail lines in Salt Lake City, Utah, (opened before the 2002 Winter Olympics), and took the Megabus to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to check out the Hiawatha light rail. My devotion to monorail is unphased, but in the United States we build monorail lines at a rate of one per decade. To get my train fix, I ride light rail trains around the country. Each of the systems I mentioned uses rolling stock from different manufacturers.

Here you get to pick the best looking cars:

Kinki-Sharyo, a manufacturer from Japan. LF LRV (low floor light rail vehicle).

A Valley Metro train waiting at the Roosevelt/Central Avenue station in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 28, 2009, for the grand opening festivities. Kinki-Shary makes many commuter and shinkansen trains for Japan.

Bombardier, a Canadian builder. Flexity Swift car.

The Metro Transit Hiawatha line (route 55) travels northbound along the Hiawatha corridor multi-use path, approaching 24th Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Siemens, a German company. SD-100 or SD-160 car.

UTA’s TRAX light rail in the Salt Lake City valley operates trains from the Canadian-originated Urban Transportation Development Corporation (now part of Bombardier) and Siemens SD-100 series trains. The UTDC trains have butterfly doors (like some cars on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line); an example from TRAX.

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