8 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Phoenix’s Bus Service”

  1. It’s very heartening to see transit start to get respect for public transit again, after about seventy years of not just lacking it, but despising it.

    My own call, as usual these days, is that the sheer number of cars itself has removed the automobile’s two chief attractions: freedom and fun. And also, we’ve got maybe two generations who’ve never seen cars be Their Grandfathers’.

    Loved my giant blue 1951 Oldsmobile with the visor over the windshield that got ripped off (not stolen) by a car-wash, and two fog lights (you still couldn’t see, but pretty) on a bumper that could’ve splintered a stone wall.

    But also had a transmission that made your car a snow-plow. Gas price/car weight calculation nothing but great, even with the traffic jams beginning before the War ended. Which nobody worried about, because everybody knew there were still the streetcars.

    Only one problem with these justifiably cheerful and positive video’s. Like the entire rest of the world except the hair-raising small-Benson-car roller coaster rides in Portugal, is wide, flat, and empty compared to Seattle and its environs.




    And as everybody knows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPXz-SMCpQA

    But these tools still leave us stuck with transportation’s worst problem: the land use pattern that makes it impossible to live without a car. And possible to move in one. “Desprawl” sounds like it comes in a spray can.

    But are we really going to have to wait ’til Crash of 2008 Chapter 2 again leaves whole county sections as a wasteland of defaulted houses we can buy and bulldoze, like we should’ve done last time?

    Any ideas?

    Mark Dublin

  2. OK, how about this. Through the expanding parts of this region, by property deliberately situated at individual points on arterials, for future construction of a transit line crossing the arterial, but little as possible parallel to it.

    And at these points, build small to medium sized transit-orient-able properties, just to cover their “keep”.For various uses short-term, but designed to become either fully transit-oriented developments or utility stations on a future line.

    Excellent plan for parking short-term easily converted to transit use when the time comes. Building plan might include structures with centerlines angled directly toward next future station or substation.

    When time comes, meaning when enough linear surface property becomes available for either surface, elevated,or shallow cut, and boring machines get fast enough
    fast enough to pay for themselves, connect the DOT’s (Developments Owned by Transit.)

    Not do say don’t use Elon Musk, but rules of both capitalism and caution dictate waiting ’til there’s more than one competing bid to choose from.

    Not to say “Covert” even though “Cut-And-Covert” might be better. Just no reason to pay to publicize. Every apartment, store, or factory will be legitimately paying for itself. And major part of the concept is never to give anybody a claim that they’re being bothered.

    When we’re ready to roll, TBM’s should run fast and deep enough they won’t be noticed ’til next station opens. I keep saying this, too: Instead of trying just to minimize land use damage horrible at its minimum… do whatever we can to already “be there” when they arrive.

    Like that dead labor organizer who talked like a Ballardite said: “Nothing to lose but our BANG!”


    1. OK, BUY it BY giving somebody money in exchange for it. Which is WHY they started saying PURCHASE even though it had more letters and an extra syllable.


  3. Perhaps brcause the Sound Transit Operations and Administration Committee meeting was delayed, the monthly ridership report for May 2018 has not yet been posted.


    The item is an information item at the Committee and rarely has committee member questions. Other transit agencies predictably report performance without a committee seeing it first.

    It really is an odd practice. Is ST afraid of public comment at the meeting if it is released beforehand? Do board members get a thrill be bring the first ones to see the report? Does ST staff need the pressure of a meeting to produce the report by the first Thursday of each month? Why has ST released past reports when the meeting is cancelled but not this month when the meeting is delayed?

  4. How does the signal priority work? I was in a 40 behind a C on Westlake and Mercer, and when the priority signal triggered, it only let the C ahead. What’s the point of signal priority that doesn’t work for all buses on the street?

    1. I’m not sure about Westlake/Mercer, but I know a lot of the older queue jumps are triggered by magnetic loop sensors. There’s probably only one detector loop, so it can’t tell the difference between one bus waiting and two, and the phase is only long enough for one bus. In that particular area that seems like it would be a real oversight, since a trailing bus stuck in the left lane has nowhere to go.

  5. Unfortunately transit funding in Phoenix is now under siege. Mayor Stanton recently resigned to run for Congress and two Councilmembers are resigning to run for Mayor. Those three were the pro-transit contingent. The remaining Councilmembers want to reallocate large portions of transit funding in the Transportation 2050 Program to streets and vehicular capacity improvements. It’s about to get ugly.

  6. I am a lifelong transit rider and advocate and a native of Phoenix. I have lived in Seattle for thirty years. I can tell you that that video is as close to fiction as one can imagine. Yes, transit there has improved a thousand fold.
    Up until my junior year in high school, the last trip leaving downtown was 6:15pm – and all service started and ended downtown. While the city is on a perfect grid, very wide and very vast with only a few minor obstacles, going across town meant transferring at Central Ave and waiting in the 110F heat for fifteen to forty-five minutes or riding an extra three to five miles downtown and back to avoid the sun. The biggest improvement in my junior year was putting 7:15pm departures on six routes.
    In my senior year a radical redesign which literally mimicked a proposal I had created for a school project and submitted to Phoenix Transit (predecessor to Valley Metro) was implemented: busses would now go downtown and generally be numbered by their hundred block (0 and 00 Express on Central, 41 on Indian School Rd, the 4100 block, etc).
    Even still, Phoenix Transit only served Phoenix. Scottsdale had an hourly mini-bus service on three routes and Tempe Trolley served areas around ASU, using the type of trackless trolleys touring companies use. Three cities out of more than a dozen with any service and none of it integrated.
    I was just there last week for a funeral. Now, the entire massive county has service. Light rail runs 26 Miles and has service nineteen hours a day. It is used by commuters in the morning and afternoon.
    During the mid-day and evening, trains and busses are occupied by a few homeless but overwhelmingly by the marginalized poor who can not afford te electricity for AC at home so they ride the busses to avoid the 110-115F heat. For an entire week I rode on twenty different routes and the train in six area cities and it was the same everywhere. The car culture has only been slightly affected. The adage of “if you build it, they will come” has only been true for those who have now found it important for survival. Working class Maricopa County families avoid busses and trains unless they are going to a baseball game or work in downtown Phoenix.

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