Phoenix changing

When I visited Phoenix, Arizona in 1996, it appeared to be the archetypal car-dominated city. I was told pretty much the only PT was buses once an hour. The freeways were packed at rush hour. Nobody walked anywhere.

The downtown area was (especially on weekends) so deserted that they had to have signs saying “Welcome to downtown Phoenix” so that you knew you were downtown.

While the people were friendly, it was exactly the type of city I’d hate to live in.

But it looks like it’s changing: they’re getting a lot more medium-density and mixed-use development, and… trams.

A new tram/light-rail line, 20 miles long. Quite impressive. Having spent all that money on infrastructure, they didn’t skimp on the services, either — every 10 mins weekdays, 15 weekends, 20 evenings.

Obviously it’s only one route, but apparently already they’ve got more patronage than expected, and are looking at more lines.

Nice to see even the most car-dominated cities are starting to move in the right direction.

(via Treehugger)