Tag Archives: Hawaii

Train to Hawaii

This weekend is the Aloha Festival and, unlike previous years, this year it is being held at the so-called Tempe Beach Park. (Definition of Tempe Beach: a huge cement slab positioned near a horrid man-made lake.)

Still, the park itself is green, if lacking shade, and large, which easily accompdated the large crowds.

The park is also a block or so from the Light Rail, which makes it convenient if you want to ride rather than park in downtown Tempe.

The downside is that it was 53 minutes there from the 19th Ave & Camelback station.

I like the train, but that is too long on those hard-as-nails seats.

The festival is alright, but mostly an excuse to get vilovilo chicken, so I’ll just say the chicken was really good and leave it at that.

It was my first time to disembark at the Mill & 3rd station in Tempe. They need to do some work on that one. Traffic is brought completely to a stop in all directions and yet somehow pedestrians are left stranded on the train platform. This happened both when we arrived and when we were departing.

By and large the vast majority of people tired of waiting and crossed illegally. The strange part is: there was just no way traffic could have interacted with them, so why the No Walk signal?

The ride back was worse because I got to stand for nearly the whole trip. Almost made me long for the harder-than-nails seats.

Perhaps a trip to Tempe is just a bit too far. Next time we’ll use it for a trip to Heritage Square for the Asian Festival. That’s only 27 minutes from station to station.

Addendum: (3/14/2009) – One advantage to the train ride was I had time to write and publish that post entirely on the train while standing there. But something happened when we arrived at the departure station that makes me ask, “how am I supposed to teach my young children traffic safety when the train seems hellbent on forcing me not to?”

I mentioned that at the Tempe stop, the lights for the pedestrians were so grossly screwed up that most everyone just jaywalked across the street. It was completely safe, and, had I not had my kids there, I would have crossed and thought nothing more than, “man, what lousy traffic lights.”

The same happened again at 19th an Camelback. (See illustration, which is, sadly, so out-of-date that neither the park and ride nor the train station are visible.)

Like most of the stations, it is positioned in the middle of two-way traffic, just off to one side of a major intersection. Access is via the existing crosswalk at the intersection. I’d hazard to say that most of the others have no access at the far end of the station. This station; however, is different because of the park-and-ride. It has a one-side-of-the-street-only crosswalk to get you into the park and ride. The crosswalk has a light to stop traffic – only activated when someone hits the button.

We got off the train, and several people headed with us towards this backside crosswalk. I was there first, and hit the button. There was no traffic. The light didn’t change. East-bound traffic was completely blocked by the light at the intersection. There was no way traffic could enter the street between the intersection and the crosswalk. Still it didn’t change. More people arrived, they waited a few, observed the situation and walked across the street anyway. I can hardly blame them, but I’m trying to teach my children to obey the traffic laws. (When they’re older, they need to learn a certain amount of discretion, but for now, I want them to err on the side of caution.)

Still the light didn’t change. More people crossed. This time a couple with a baby in a stroller. We stood at this light fully 4-5 minutes. I watched them walk to their car, pack up their stroller and prepare to leave. Then, the east-bound intersection light changed to green and traffic began to flow.

Just as it reached the crosswalk, the light turned red and let us cross.

Whoever setup that traffic light, is an idiot.

19th and Camelback