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Security improvements being considered for Phoenix light rail line

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, November 6, 2023 - 7:03am
Updated: Monday, November 6, 2023 - 7:08am

Christina Estes/KJZZ
Light rail platform at 19th and Northern avenues on Sept. 11, 2023.

Some Phoenix leaders are pushing for more security along the city’s light rail line.

Valley Metro is responsible for light rail operations and uses private security to enforce code of conduct and inspect fares.

Councilman Jim Waring, a longtime critic of the system, said having guards ride in random cars isn’t enough.

We could put people on the platforms, which might make it a less attractive place to be basically a nuisance and trying to jump on the train and maybe cause havoc at the station and then perhaps in the neighborhoods," Waring said.

During a recent six-week period focused on light rail security, Phoenix police arrested more than 100 people for trespassing, drugs and outstanding warrants.

Christina Estes/KJZZ
Light rail heading south on 19th Avenue on Sept. 11, 2023.

In a memo to the City Council, Valley Metro said it’s evaluating stations “to identify and invest in improvements in maintenance conditions, lighting, safety, signage, and station access, collectively referred to as crime prevention through environmental design.”

At a council subcommittee meeting in September, Councilwoman Betty Guardado asked for information about adding barriers and infrastructure to keep out people who haven’t paid the fare. In its Oct. 20 memo, Valley Metro said it’s working with a design firm on two conceptual alternatives and associated costs that could control access at stations.

“This work is intended to provide a conversation point for Valley Metro and partners in the pursuit of a safer, more secure light rail system,” Valley Metro said.

The council is expected to discuss light rail security and potential infrastructure changes at a December meeting.

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