Saturday, November 29, 2008

Naming Places Not Known

It's interesting what happens when you have a specific stop on a light rail line and name it. Partly, it seems to give a sense of place to that district and perhaps a permanent moniker. In Phoenix, some are excited that a district will now be recognized.

"Each stop has a different personality and we need to acknowledge and celebrate it," said Simplot. He said is pleased to see light rail give the Melrose District the recognition it deserves.

"When people go through here, they will know they are in Melrose," he said.


LightRailBlogger said...

Some people here are pretty excited about light rail...then again, some are not and think it's a big waste of money.
Our neighborhoods and districts have always had the names mentioned in the article. It's just now the names are in writing on a sign, and I think opponents are looking at that as more money spent on something they say will only fail.

Robert said...

Yeah, my favorite would have to be Smithlands station on Houston's red line. I recall riding it with people who'd lived in Houston for thirty years. They would say, "What is Smithlands?"

In fact, Smithlands is not a neighborhood, but the name of the parking lot across the street reserved for Texas Medical Center employees and special events at Reliant Park. Leave it to Houston to name a light rail station after a parking lot...

Anonymous said...

In Portland, a station on the airport MAX line with nothing (and I mean nothing) around it was given the name Cascade. Now the TOD and malls around it have adopted the name, and Cascade or Cascade Station is a commonly heard phrase for the area.

njh said...

A poster named sanktejo wrote:

You know, this is typical of so many Phoenicians. There were meetings, they were polls, there was a VOTE, there were more meetings, there was a lot of warning that this thing was coming, and sure enough, rather than participate in DEMOCRACY, so many would rather gripe and complain from their armchairs.

There were mistakes made, and expensive ones, but WHERE WERE YOU PEOPLE WHEN SOME OF US WERE TRYING TO GET YOU TO SPEAK UP BEFORE???

The line *should* go to Sky Harbor. The stops *are* too infrequent between Convention Center and Papago. Some of the names *do* make you go, "huh?"

But not enough people spoke up about it before, and now here it is.
Is it all worth it? I don't know, WHY DON'T WE GIVE IT A SHOT AND SEE? Name three cities who've built light rail in the past 30 years that have experienced a net increase in crime as a result of the rail? Explain to me why subsidizing rail is a boondoggle, but subsidizing gasoline and highways is a-okay. Since when are developers in the pockets of urban planners rather than the interests of the next suburban fringe "planned communities"?

This is a starter system. More stops can be added if it shows promise. The line can be extended or even spurred if it shows promise. It cost a lot of money, yes it did, but would have cost a hell of a lot more and taken a lot more time (disturbing homeowners and business owners to be sure) to create a complete system all at once. I suppose that would have simply made it easy to brand a "boondoggle" rather than an urban solution to the problem of moving people (particularly people who don't own or can't afford CARS) across the valley. As it is, Phoenix is paying for the sin of complacency and neglect.

I've (intentionally) spent a lot of time on Phoenix's metro transit system, and this is a dramatic improvement that will provide a viable alternative for a LOT of people. They are not all people who "talk to themselves", they are not all boozers or gang members...a great number of them are ordinary people who may not have the money to own a car, or are perhaps trying to do their part for Phoenix's carbon footprint, or maybe just trying to save some gas instead of sending money to foreign countries that sponsor TERRORISM. Gee, did that stupid trick get anyone's attention?

Phoenix has long been a city of real estate TRANSIENTS looking to make a quick buck before moving on to L.A., San Diego, Dallas, Denver or Seattle. These are people who refuse to put proper roots down and never feel "at home" in Phoenix, even if they manage to spend a decade here. They put no stock in the cities cultural identity or welfare. That's not to say there aren't people who care, but in a city where the dominant industry for two decades has been CONSTRUCTION, it's hard not to be influenced by these temporary residents (who, oh I know, have to live SOMEWHERE, or at least occupy some space.) Many of them, of course, don't live in Phoenix at all, and only purchase second homes in Phoenix as investments, leaving others to rent from them until the value on their property has risen sufficiently to sell. Now that the market's imploded, an entire market and way of life gets to be called into question...SO LET'S TAKE IT OUT ON LIGHT RAIL AND THE LEFTIST GOV'T THAT BROUGHT IT UPON US!!!

Oh the horror. The humanity. Because Phoenix has never built another "boondoggle" before. Even if it did, it certainly didn't survive it. Geez, people. America's "Best Run City" can't even fill it's downtown office space.
But they did build a great central library. And they did manage to create a number of good urban parks. They've even picked up some sports teams and major events from time to time. And in a conservative city, run for the people BY the that VOTED for light rail, they just might, after some trial, some error, and some constructive input from it's citizens, just might get this one right, too.