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As part of Mesa City Council and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) 2009 approval of the 3.1-mile Central Mesa Extension), a 1.9-mile extension on Main Street east to Gilbert Road was recommended as a future project. This segment, known as the Gilbert Road Extension, was recommended because of strong transit ridership, opportunities to optimize regional transportation connections, and an optimal location for an end-of-line park-and-ride.
Valley Metro and the City of Mesa began a study of the potential Gilbert Road Extension in 2011 and completed it in summer 2012. This planning study identified and evaluated various alternatives, on where and how light rail could be placed in this 1.9-mile segment of Main Street. Three potential alternatives were identified, representing various ways to configure traffic lanes to incorporate light rail into the middle of Main Street:
Alternative 1: Four traffic lanes along Main Street (two travel lanes in each direction)
Alternative 2: Two traffic lanes along Main Street (one travel lane in each direction)
Alternative 3: Two traffic lanes along Main Street with up to five roundabouts at select intersections
Click on the video below to view an example of light rail traveling through a roundabout in Salt Lake City.
Valley Metro and the City of Mesa have entered the next phase of the planning process, the Environmental Assessment (EA), which was introduced to the public in September. In this phase, these three alternatives will be analyzed in more detail. Additionally, the EA will evaluate station locations and a park-and-ride facility. Currently, there are two potential station locations on Main Street: one each at Stapley Drive and Gilbert Road. A park-and-ride facility is also currently proposed on the west side of the Main Street /Gilbert Road intersection.
The City of Mesa is in the process of repurposing federal funds originally identified for street projects to instead fund the Gilbert Road LRT Extension. Federal transportation funds may be used for either street improvements or for transit projects. Mesa demonstrated that the street projects were low priority projects and that the LRT extension was a better use of the funds.
For more details about this extension, please download the latest project update.