Sunday, December 21, 2008

Margin Notes: Holidays, Historic Signals, Signs

The holiday display at the Arizona Temple was viewed on 20-December-2008

TEMPE, ARIZONA - One of the better holiday displays in this area comes from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), whose Mesa, Arizona Temple grounds are well-decorated with lights this holiday season. Besides a nativity scene and three wise men to attract people to the display, it features lights on just about every tree on the block.

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A classic pedestrian signal was noted in Stockton, California on 18-December-2008

A different kind of light was notable in Stockton, California earlier this week. I was surprised to find pedestrian signals that said "Wait" and "Walk" in the pre-1970's style at San Joaquin and Washington Streets in downtown Stockton while passing through on Thursday. These signals should probably receive a historic designation if they have not already.

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ACE train #2 posed after its arrival in Stockton, California on 18-December-2008

What was I doing in Stockton? For some time, I have wanted to ride the Altamont Commuter Express commuter rail service between San Jose and Stockton, California on the former Western Pacific line over Altamont Pass, but it only runs on weekdays. I finally had my chance on Thursday, and enjoyed the scenery through the Niles Canyon and past the aging windmills on Altamont Pass. The section over the pass was especially significant, with signs quite visible of one-time parallel line of the Southern Pacific and the original US highway 50.

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A different kind of sign caught my attention upon arrival in Phoenix. I wondered why a barricade had lettering stating "king with us" until I realized that some of the message had disappeared and it was likely intended to say something like "Thank you for parking with us."

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Parking may be less of an issue in this area after December 28th, when the light rail line from Tempe to downtown Phoenix begins operation. Test trains have been noted in motion during this visit.

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