They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I was at the opening of the Metro (light rail) this morning as an "ambassador". My assignment was to answer questions, give directions, etc. My shift started at 8 although the trains did not start taking on passengers until 10. I arrived at the Encanto station about 7:55. I had not slept very well, didn't feel good and it was really cold out, the exact circumstance under which to stay in bed but I had been waiting for this for years, literally, and was not going to miss it. We got our instructions and orange vests and then stood around for a couple of hours. I really needed coffee but had been afraid to consume liquids if I was going to stand out there for 4 hours. There was not much of a crowd waiting. By the time that 10:00 rolled around, there were maybe 20 or so people waiting on the platform. At 10:09, the first train (shown here), a northbound train heading to 19th/Montebello (Christown) rolled in, and a southbound train arrived before the northbound one left. The trains ran were supposed to run every 10 minutes in each direction but were pretty erratic. The station became fairly crowded as my shift progressed and there decidedly more passengers wanting to go south than north. On a few occasions the trains were so crowded that people refused to get on. Susan arrived a little after 11:30 and on my advice got on a northbound train (see picture). She went one stop up to Thomas and then walked back. By that time I was done so we squeezed on a southbound and got off at 1st Ave/Jefferson. We walked around a bit, found the booth where I picked up a t-shirt and key ring as reward for the volunteer work. We then got on at 3rd St/Washington and rode back to Encanto. As the day has progressed the crowds at the stations and at the parties has seemed to grow considerably. It was a good thing to get in early. It was all very cool. Trains are free through the end of the year. I think I might wait until about Tuesday and ride the full length of the lines. You can see more pictures here.

1 comment:

John Benjamin said...

YAY! Phoenix will begin to get the structure of an urban city, with neighborhoods, destinations and popular areas. Rents around the light-rail will skyrocket, which may not be good for individuals in low-income areas, but hopefully the added ease in transportation will help that a bit.