07/182014

Find Out if Metro Light Rail is Coming Near You!

By: Taz Loomans

With the outstanding success of the Metro Light Rail, light rail extensions in the Valley of the Sun can’t be built fast enough. The ridership has consistently exceeded expectations in its 5 years in operation and now that Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa have experienced the huge benefits of this amenity, other parts of the Valley are wanting it in their areas as well. There are currently several light rail extensions underway. Find out if Metro Light Rail is coming near you!

Here is an update on the six extensions that are in the works:

Central Mesa Extension – est. date of completion 2015:

Central Mesa Light Rail Extension

Valley Metro received local and regional approval in 2009 to move forward with a 3.1-mile light rail extension in central Mesa.  It would extend light rail on Main Street from Sycamore to Mesa Drive and include four station locations and a park-and-ride facility. – See more at: http://www.valleymetro.org/projects_and_planning/project_detail/central_mesa#sthash.u5nKArtB.dpuf
Valley Metro received local and regional approval in 2009 to move forward with a 3.1-mile light rail extension in central Mesa.  It would extend light rail on Main Street from Sycamore to Mesa Drive and include four station locations and a park-and-ride facility. – See more at: http://www.valleymetro.org/projects_and_planning/project_detail/central_mesa#sthash.u5nKArtB.dpuf

The 3.1-mile Central Mesa project extends light rail east from the current end-of-line through downtown Mesa to Mesa Drive. It consists of four stations and a park-and-ride on the northeast corner of Main Street and Mesa Drive. The extension will add approximately 5,000 new riders. Construction is well underway and the extension is expected to open late next year.

Northwest Phase I Extension to Dunlap Avenue – est. date of completion 2016:

NWE-Route-Map-ENG-SP

The 3.2-mile Northwest Phase I project extends light rail north from the current end-of-line to Dunlap Avenue. It consists of three stations and a park-and-ride on the southwest corner of 19th and Dunlap avenues. The extension will add approximately 5,000 new riders. The project is currently under construction and is expected to open in late 2016.

Tempe Streetcar – est. date of completion 2018:

Tempe Streetcar

The three-mile recommended route of the Tempe Streetcar is Rio Salado Parkway from approximately the Marina Heights development west to Mill Avenue, downtown loop on Mill and Ash avenues and south to Apache Boulevard, then east to Dorsey . The recommended route is a combination of the two options studied over the past year by Valley Metro and the City of Tempe. The project is still in the planning stages and is expected to enter into construction in 2015.

The three-mile recommended route is Rio Salado Parkway from approximately the Marina Heights development west to Mill Avenue, downtown loop on Mill and Ash avenues and south to Apache Boulevard, then east to Dorsey (see map). The recommendation is a combination of the two route options studied over the past year by Valley Metro and the City of Tempe. – See more at: http://www.valleymetro.org/projects_and_planning/project_detail/tempe_streetcar#sthash.PO19WJKg.dpufThe route was just approved by the Tempe City Council in June. The project is still in the planning phase with the route still not officially approved by Valley Metro. It is expected to enter construction in 2015.

Gilbert Road Extension – est. date of completion 2018:

Gilbert Road Extension

The 1.9-mile Gilbert Road project will extend light rail beyond the Central Mesa extension on Main Street to Gilbert Road in Mesa by 2018. It consists of two stations and a park-and-ride on the west side of Gilbert Road. At Gilbert Road, there are significant transit connections and the ability to draw more riders from the East Valley. The project is currently in the design phase and will enter construction in 2015.

Capitol/I-10 West Extension – est. date of completion 2023:

Capitol:I-10 West Route Map

The 11-mile Capitol/I-10 West project will extend light rail from downtown Phoenix through the State Capitol area to 79th Ave. and the I-10 freeway by 2023. It will consist of several freeway and neighborhood stations and enhancements to the existing 79th Ave./I-10 park-and-ride facility. The project is currently still in the planning phase and it won’t enter construction until 2018.

Northwest Phase II Extension to Metro Center – est. date of completion 2026:

Northwest Phase II Extension

The 2-mile Northwest Phase II project will extend light rail from the intersection of 19th and Dunlap avenues west towards I-17. A project definition study is underway to look at the feasibility of a connection across I-17 to Metrocenter Mall. The study will include further definition of key project elements, including station locations, traffic configuration, park-and-ride size/location and new pedestrian/bicycle access points. The planning phase of this extension won’t begin until 2020 and construction is slated to begin in 2023.

For more information on the Light Rail extensions and ongoing updates visit Valley Metro’s website.

Photo Credit: Lead photo from HDR. Extension route maps from Valley Metro.

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