'Til 2: Staging a Sit-In To Protest Light Rail's Early Closing Time


The fervor over the light rail's early closing time continues to get bigger.

As we've previously written about here and here, a growing number of Valley urbanites are pissed off over the fact the light rail system stops at midnight instead of running until 2 a.m. and providing the drinking crowd with a way of getting home. (Currently the last trains of the night depart the eastern and western termini at 11 p.m.).

And now they're taking a page from the 60s protest playbook to try and get things changed: Morgan Bellinger, a local photojournalist, is organizing a light rail sit-in later this month as a way of voicing his dissatisfaction with the situation.

According to a posting on Facebook, Bellinger and some friends are planning to remain on board one of the final eastbound light rail trains on the evening of Friday, January 23, even after it reaches the end of the line at Mesa's Sycamore and Main Street Station.

"I am not advocating vandalism, violence, trespassing, or any illegal activity. I am advocating PEACEFUL protest for a good cause," Bellinger wrote.

The photojournalist is also aware of what consequences the sit-in might have.

"I don't really know what will happen to us. We may get arrested for trespassing. We may be forcibly removed. But at least we will make a statement. We will not resist violently, but we will not give up our seats unless removed from them. The more of us there are, the better," he wrote.

Don't forget to hum a few bars of "We Shall Overcome" while you're at it, Morgan.

All snarkiness aside, you really can't blame Bellinger or anyone else miffed at the midnight stop time. We're in the fifth largest berg in the U.S. for chrissakes, and should start acting as such. Even Salt Lake City, a conservative city if ever there was one, has light rail that runs past midnight on the weekends. So if the Mormons get ride until last call, why can't we?

There certainly would be enough riders to justify the move.

We happened to be onboard the light rail on New Year's Eve when service as offered until 3 a.m., and while it wasn't standing room only or anything, there were a decent amount of bar-hoppers and nightcrawlers using the trains to get home after a night of celebrating.

Here's a picture for proof:


By the way, if anyone else is planning on staging any similar protests about light rail's early closing time, be sure to drop us a line at benjamin.leatherman@newtimes.com. We'll be sure to give it coverage here.

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