Monday, June 27, 2011

Let light rail be your ride to July 4 celebrations‏

METRO light rail will increase service on Monday, July 4, to support patrons of the Phoenix and Tempe holiday celebrations.

METRO will ramp up from 20-minute holiday service to running every 10 minutes by 5 p.m. for patrons’ ingress to these events. METRO will also be prepared with a similar level of service when the events end.

Service will be extended that evening to have the last full trips at midnight, rather than 11 p.m.

The system will be busy on this holiday. Passengers are advised to expect crowds on board, at park-and-rides and possible delays. Please be patient and plan ahead. Post-event, look for the proper queue line or train headsign to board a train headed in your return direction.

Passengers are also highly encouraged to purchase an all-day pass in advance for their round trip service on light rail. Buying in advance minimizes your time at the fare vending machines on the day-of. Buy your pass today online, from a transit center, retail outlet or station fare vending machine and simply activate it on July 4.

For more information, visit or call Customer Service at 602-253-5000.


METRO is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system. The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 12.6 million riders in 2010, exceeding the prior year by 11 percent. METRO serves an average of 40,000 riders each weekday while also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031.

Source: Metro Light Rail

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reverse Lanes Update

Reverse lane changes are coming soon this summer. I was pleased to see my fellow Phoenix City Council members join me on a vote Wednesday night to address traffic safety concerns on the "Sevens," including the installation of a new left turn signal at 7th Avenue and Camelback Road. This is the first major change on these streets in 30 years! In addition, Streets Dept. will install new flashing beacons/lights and replace old signs with signs featuring universal traffic symbols. Click here to see a mock-up of the new signs.

This contentious issue was difficult to negotiate and I've appreciated your support, participation and comments during this long process. Although elimination of the reverse lanes was the ultimate goal, I felt strongly about and fought hard for the left turn signal at this major intersection to help ease cut-through traffic in our neighborhoods. Once implemented, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on whether these upgrades improve traffic concerns on the “Sevens” for our central city residents and businesses.

Source: Tom Simplot, Phoenix District 4 Councilman

NRG Using the Sun to Make Phoenix Light Rail Riders "Cool"

PHOENIX, AZ and PRINCETON, NJ; June 16, 2011—NRG Thermal LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG), is building an innovative system that uses solar power and the Company’s downtown district cooling system to provide cooling to the seating areas of the popular 3rd Street/Washington METRO light rail station. The system will launch this July and operate May through September annually, when summer temperatures often exceed 110 degrees.

“I was able to experience a similar system during a business trip to Dubai and brought the idea back to Phoenix,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. “NRG took the ball and ran with it, investing its money and expertise to make this happen. This solar-powered system will make riding the light rail in Phoenix even cooler. It’s an example of public-private partnership at its best!”

“This partnership with NRG will have a direct and positive impact on our riders,” said METRO CEO Steve Banta. “In addition to being a welcomed customer amenity, this project is the first use of solar energy on our system. We’re hopeful it can lead to other solar opportunities along our current line and as we grow.”

NRG plans to design and build this project in an unusually short time—by July 5, the week before the Major League Baseball All-Star game is held in Phoenix. Throughout the project’s construction, access to light rail service and station amenities, including fare vending machines, will not be affected.

Project benefits include:

Free and on-demand cooling for passengers will improve the rail system experience.

The system is environmentally friendly, leveraging the existing energy-efficient downtown district cooling system and using solar power to operate the air-conditioning/air-moving system.

NRG will cover the entire cost of building, operating and maintaining this new system, which means no additional costs to local residents and commuters.

The project will include an educational exhibit showcasing the technology and how it works.

NRG owns and operates NRG Energy Center Phoenix, which provides cost-efficient and effective cooling for 34 major buildings in downtown Phoenix including Chase Field, US Airways Center, the Phoenix Convention Center, the Sheraton Hotel, Symphony Hall and CityScape among others. NRG also owns and operates distributed solar systems in Arizona at several schools, which help reduce the schools’ utility bills and provide shade for on-campus parking lots. NRG is in the process of building 12 large solar pavilions at schools in four districts across the state as the first stage of the program. NRG also provides large-scale solar solutions in Arizona as the Company is developing a 25 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Pima County and the 290 MW Agua Caliente PV project in Yuma County.

About NRG

NRG Energy, Inc. is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company that owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply approximately 20 million homes. NRG’s retail businesses—Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy Company—serve nearly 1.9 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers. With major investments in solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure, NRG is working to help America transition to a clean energy economy. More information is available at

About METRO light rail

METRO is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system. The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 12.6 million riders in 2010, exceeding the prior year by 11 percent. METRO serves an average of 43,000 riders each weekday while also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031. More information is available at


Media Contacts:

NRG Energy

David Gaier


METRO light rail

Hillary Foose


City of Phoenix

Michael Hammett


Source: Metro Light Rail

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Important Update on Reverse Lanes‏

Interested in the latest changes to the Reverse Lanes? Please attend the Phoenix City Council meeting next Wednesday, June 15th at 3:00pm at Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson.

City Council is set to vote on installing left turn arrows at 7th Avenue and Camelback. This will be the first major change to the "Sevens" in more than 30 years. I hope you can join us.

If you have questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to call my office at 602-262-7447 or send me an email at

Source: Councilman Tom Simplot District 4