Light Rail Service to be Tested by Crowds on Wednesday; Obama and D-backs Cause Service Changes
Light rail trains will not be allowed to run past Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday because of President Obama's commencement speech. Metro Light Rail says shuttle buses will serve as a "bridge" around the service gap.
On top of that, thousands of people are expected to use the light rail system on Wednesday to see Obama, slated to begin speaking at 7 p.m., or the Arizona Diamondbacks, which has a game against Cincinatti starting at 6:40 p.m.
Metro put out the following tips tonight to help light rail users:
METRO 5/13 service plan for ASU Commencement and Diamondbacks game
METRO will run all available trains to service ASU Commencement goers, Arizona Diamondbacks' fans and light rail commuters on Wednesday, May 13.
While system capacity will be maximized, passengers should expect crowds on board the trains and at METRO park-and-rides and delays.
METRO requests that passengers be patient, plan ahead and give themselves more time to travel to their destination.
METRO is a convenient way to get to and from Sun Devil Stadium for the commencement ceremony. Below are the details needed for a more informed and smooth roundtrip:
METRO will operate regular service until 6 p.m. All guests have been encouraged by ASU to arrive no later than 5 p.m.; gates open as early as 1:30 p.m.
Westbound passengers coming from the East Valley should de-board at the University Dr./Rural light rail station.
Eastbound passengers coming from the North or West Valley should de-board at the Veterans Way/College light rail station.
Bus shuttles will be provided from these stations to the stadium's north entrance from 2:30 - 6 p.m. Shuttles are for ticketed passengers only.
Walking is also a viable option. The walk from either station to the entrance is approximately three-fourths of a mile, potentially as quick as waiting for a bus shuttle. ASU volunteers and signage will provide direction to the entrance.
For attendees that arrive at either station after 6 p.m., shuttles to the stadium will no longer be in operation; walking becomes the only option.
From 6 - 9:30 p.m., METRO is prohibited from operating between the Veterans Way/College and University Dr./Rural stations, or in front of Sun Devil Stadium, due to security restrictions. Bus shuttles will provide a temporary bridge between the two stations.
By the end of commencement, METRO will return to regular service. No shuttle service will be provided post-event; however, the stadium's south entrance will be open.
For more on ASU Commencement, visit http://graduation.asu.edu/announcements.
Diamondbacks game attendees planning to use light rail will travel during the peak commencement arrival and departure periods (depending on when the game ends).
METRO encourages fans to allow for more time to get to and leave from Chase Field. More patience will be required unless passengers elect to travel to the game before 3 p.m. and from the game after 10:30 p.m.
For East Valley fans who will ride to the game after 6 p.m., expect a delay as a result of the bus bridge between the University Dr./Rural and Veterans Way/College stations. Passengers will be asked to get off at University/Rural station, board a bus that will transport them to the next station at Veterans/College where they can continue their light rail trip.
Game begins at 6:40 p.m.
Afternoon commuters can expect a regular service level until 6 p.m., but crowds and delays should be assumed.
From 6 - 9:30 p.m., commuters can expect a delay as a result of the bus bridge between the University Dr./Rural and Veterans Way/College stations. Passengers will be asked to get off at either station, board a bus that will transport them to the next station where they can continue their light rail trip.
METRO park-and-ride lots are free to use on a first-come, first-serve basis:
¡ Montebello/19th Avenue
¡ 19th Avenue/Camelback
¡ Central Avenue/Camelback
¡ 38th Street/Washington
¡ Dorsey Lane/Apache Blvd
¡ McClintock Drive/Apache Blvd
¡ Price 101 Freeway/Apache Blvd
¡ Sycamore/Main Street
If any of the lots become full, please try the next closest park-and-ride. For example, if the park-and-ride at Sycamore/Main St. reaches capacity, try the Price 101 Freeway/Apache Blvd. park-and-ride - it typically has greater availability.
METRO and its city partners have identified overflow parking opportunities along the line for this date only:
¡ Park Central Mall at Earll Dr., west of Central Ave. - designated "retail only parking" spaces
¡ 38th St./Washington - east side of 38th St. and the METRO park-and-ride; Gateway Community College parking lot
¡ Price 101 Freeway/Apache - southeast of the METRO park-and-ride, accessible using the same entrance
The peak ridership periods for these events will be from 3 - 7 p.m. and 9 - 11 p.m. Passengers should expect standing room only on board the trains, crowds at the stations and park-and-rides and the potential for waiting for more than one train or bus shuttle.
Event goers should purchase an all-day pass for roundtrip service. An all-day pass eliminates the need to wait in a second line to buy another single ride pass when leaving the event. Platinum Pass/U-Pass users, validate before each ride.
All plans related to ASU Commencement and METRO's service for this event are subject to change.