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METRO and the City of Phoenix have initiated a 24-month Alternatives Analysis (AA) study of the South Central Phoenix Corridor. An AA evaluates several high-capacity transit options, including light rail, bus rapid transit and modern streetcar, to determine which transit mode and route serves this community best. It is the start of the federal process to eventually apply for funding.
The South Central Corridor study area is bound by 7th Avenue on the west, 7th Street on the east, Washington Street on the north, and Baseline Road on the south.
The South Central AA study will complete the following:
• Develop the purpose and need for the project
• Identify and evaluate alignment and transit mode alternatives
• Conduct travel demand forecasting
• Identify potential station and park-and-ride locations
• Identify transit supportive land use and economic development opportunities within the corridor that might enhance a high-capacity transit investment
• Conduct public outreach to receive community input throughout the process
Following the completion of the AA, a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), or a single mode and route, will be recommended for review by the public and approval by the City of Phoenix and regional transportation agencies.
The South Central Corridor AA study is funded via a grant received from the Federal Transit Administration and with a local match from the City of Phoenix. METRO will execute the study.
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.
The Northeast extension will travel generally along the SR-51 corridor north to Paradise Valley Mall area and is scheduled to open in 2032.
Planning for METRO extensions begins nine to 10 years prior to the opening date.
When Valley voters approved Proposition 400 in November 2004, they approved an additional 27 miles of extensions. These 27 miles along with 10 miles of previously-approved extensions at the local level, will result in a total of 57 miles of light rail by 2032. see map
The corridors for the extensions are part of a regionally-approved transportation plan that includes the federal, regional and local funding necessary to construct them.
Any additional extensions, or any changes to the extensions already included in the Regional Transportation Plan must go through a process outlined in state statute (ARS 28-6353) .
The process calls for proposals to be considered by local, county, regional and state agencies and will include representation from elected officials, business interests and citizen groups. Any changes to the Regional Transportation Plan must also be approved by the Maricopa Association of Governments.
The Glendale High Capacity/Light Rail Transit Project will travel westbound though Phoenix to the city of Glendale. Planning is underway and the project is scheduled to open in 2026.
METRO has entered into Phase I of the Glendale Corridor Alternative Analysis (AA), which entails feasibility and funding analysis. The study will test five route options to better understand whether high capacity transit better performs in a freeway or arterial street corridor, or some combination of both. Routes being evaluated include a corridor traveling through downtown Glendale, as currently defined in the Regional Transportation Plan, and other corridors involving the I-10 and Loop 101 freeways and other West Valley arterials.
Phase I is a 1 – 2 year process and will conclude with a preferred corridor to analyze further in Phase II of the AA. Phase II will be a more detailed alignment and mode study.
This extension is part of METRO’s regional, high capacity transit plan that will develop a total of 57 miles by 2031 see map. The Glendale extension is supported locally through Phoenix and Glendale transportation sales tax measures and regional Proposition 400 funds. All future extensions will employ a mix of federal, regional and local funding to construct them.
Any additional extensions, or any changes to the extensions already included in the Regional Transportation Plan must go through a process outlined in state statute (ARS 28-6353). The process calls for proposals to be considered by local, county, regional and state agencies and will include representation from elected officials, business interests and citizen groups. Any changes to the Regional Transportation Plan must also be approved by the Maricopa Association of Governments.
|Public Meeting||Thursday, May 16, 2013|
The Phoenix West extension will extend light rail 11 miles from downtown Phoenix, through the State Capitol area, to approximately 79th Avenue and the I-10 West freeway. This is METRO’s first freeway corridor project, providing the growing West Valley with a higher-capacity and more efficient transit option by 2023.
In 2007, METRO and the City of Phoenix initiated the Phoenix West Alternatives Analysis study to identify potential high capacity transit improvements for the West Valley. Throughout the years, the project team has conducted significant technical analysis and integrated public input to define the route and transit mode, shown in the route map.
As shown, the route connects to the METRO starter line in downtown Phoenix at Central Avenue/1st Avenue and Washington/Jefferson Streets. From there, it travels west to 18th Avenue, then north to Van Buren Street. It would run along the south side of Van Buren Street, west to the Interstate-17 freeway. Then, it travels north along the frontage road that is just west of I-17 until it reaches the Interstate-10 freeway. In I-10, light rail would operate within the freeway median to about 47th Avenue, then transition via a bridge over the westbound freeway traffic lanes to the north side of I-10 where it would remain on the north side of the freeway, ending at the existing 79th Avenue park-and-ride.
Now that a preferred route and transit mode have been identified and approved, the project will enter the environmental assessment phase which is a detailed analysis of how light rail would operate along the route. Early design work, including identifying station locations, is also expected to begin during this phase. METRO and the City of Phoenix will continue to solicit community input as the project moves through the next phases. Please check back with this webpage for meeting dates, online comment forms, and updated materials.
Following a three-year study that evaluated high-capacity transit improvements to support Tempe and Chandler and enhance the existing, regional transit network, a 2.6-mile streetcar project in the Mill Avenue corridor was adopted locally and regionally into the Regional Transportation Plan in 2010.
The adopted project traveled in a one-way loop between Rio Salado and University Drive, going north on Mill Avenue and south on Ash Avenue. It continued to travel north/south on Mill Avenue between University Drive and Southern Avenue.
Following adoption, Valley Metro and the city of Tempe met with a Community Working Group, made up of residents and business owners along the proposed line, to further define the project. The group, guided by the project’s technical team, reviewed and debated various options for streetcar track and stop locations along Mill and Ash avenues. The group’s recommendations for how and where the streetcars will travel and stop were approved by Tempe City Council in fall 2011.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has continued to express interest in the streetcar project with slight modifications to the route to better fit the new funding criteria. In April 2013, the FTA approved Tempe Streetcar into Project Development. Entrance into Project Development signals the first step in receiving federal approval and ultimately federal funds for the project.
The modified project would continue to include the one-mile downtown Tempe loop on Mill and Ash avenues and a branch south to Apache Boulevard. Two route modifications are being explored:
Rio Salado Parkway west to Mill Avenue, downtown loop to Apache Boulevard, east to Rural Road
Downtown loop to Apache Boulevard, east to Terrace Road
The Tempe Streetcar project capital costs are estimated at $130 million and will be funded using regional Proposition 400 funds and federal grant dollars. The city of Tempe will be responsible for operating costs.
Valley Metro will be seeking community input on the two potential route alternatives this spring through summer, and will return to the Tempe City Council in late fall to present route recommendation(s).
Streetcar is a critical addition to developing a total transit network in this region. It supports the existing transit system and community with its ability to attract new riders, increase mobility, strengthen existing neighborhoods and create sustainable development.
Modern streetcar vehicles operate on tracks, typically mixed with automobile traffic, and are powered by overhead power lines. They differ from light rail vehicles in their smaller vehicle size and single-car operation. Stops are also more simple and frequent than light rail.
Valley Metro’s Northwest Extension is an expansion of light rail service that will eventually travel to the area near Interstate 17 and Dunlap Avenue. Phase I of the construction project is a 3.2-mile extension that will extend light rail north on 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue and serve 5,000 riders per day. Construction began in January 2013.
The Northwest Extension include three stations, one park-and-ride and connections to bus service at Bethany Home Road, Glendale, Northern and Dunlap avenues. This extension is scheduled to open in late 2015/early 2016 and will support nearly 20,000 residents and another 20,000 employees. It will serve as an essential means of travel in an area where 14 percent of households are dependent on transit compared to seven percent countywide.
Originally scheduled to open in 2012, the Northwest Extension was placed on hold due to the economic downturn and the completion date was revised to 2023. In 2012, the Phase I of the project received approval to move ahead utilizing capital funds from the countywide Proposition 400 transit sales tax, as well as funds from Phoenix’s Transit 2000. Phoenix is responsible for the operations costs of light rail service that travels in their city.
Phase II of the project will eventually expand light rail service west towards I-17. It is currently slated for opening in 2026. Alternative funding options will be sought to accelerate this phase.
The design phase of the project has been completed and construction activities will began in January 2013. Light rail construction involves work that is mainly performed in or along the street where the service will be operating. The first activity will be utility relocation. Utilities located under the future light rail trackway must be relocated in order to maintain access. The construction contractor, Sundt/Stacy Witbeck Joint Venture, and the utility companies will be relocating several utilities such as water, gas and electric lines.
Next steps include roadway widening, track installation and system and station installation. Once this work is complete, light rail testing will occur. Notifications will be provided prior to the initiation of any construction activity.
Business assistance programs are available and owners or managers are encouraged to participate. To learn more, or to start taking advantage of these programs, click here for the Northwest Extension Business Assistance Brochure.
|Utility Relocation||Winter 2013 - Spring 2014|
|Roadway Widening||Summer 2013 - Summer 2015|
|Track/Station Installation||Winter 2014 - Fall 2015|
|Light Rail Testing/Operations||Fall 2015 - Winter 2016|
Valley Metro received local and regional approval in 2009 to move forward with a 3.1-mile light rail extension in central Mesa on Main Street from Sycamore to Mesa Drive including four station locations and a park-and-ride facility.
In August 2010, the Central Mesa extension was approved to enter into Project Development by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Entrance into Project Development signaled the beginning of the project’s design phase as well the first step in receiving federal approval and ultimately federal funds for the project. The project will be built using a mix of regional Proposition 400 funds and federal grant dollars. City of Mesa is responsible for the operating funds.
In addition, Valley Metro has completed an environmental assessment for the Central Mesa extension to document any potential environmental impacts of the project and received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the FTA. The FONSI signifies METRO has complied with all federal environmental laws. Download the environmental documents for more information.
In October 2012, a Project Construction Grant Agreement was signed by federal officials endorsing the value of the project and paving the way for $75 million in support for the construction of the 3.1-mile Central Mesa Extension. Total cost of the project is $200 million with funds provided by a combination of regional transit and federal support.
It is anticipated that the construction of the Central Mesa Extension will generate more than 700 local jobs at the peak of construction in 2013 and 2014.
Light rail construction includes utility relocation and street work, track installation and station platforms, and system and station finishes work. Following these activities, integrated testing will occur.
Construction activities began in July 2012, with the first activities focused on utility relocations. Utilities located under the future light rail trackway must be relocated in order to maintain access. VTC and the utility companies will be relocating several utilities, such as water, gas and electric lines as well as nine storm drain manholes throughout the project. Ample notification will be provided prior to the initiation of any construction activity.
Business assistance programs are now available. Valley Metro in coordination with the City of Mesa and community partners have developed a wide array of business assistance programs to provide businesses with the resources to stay well-positioned during the construction phase. To learn about the programs and start taking advantage of these programs, download the Central Mesa Business Assistance Brochure.
As initial construction activity begins, final design will continue to progress. Valley Metro and City of Mesa will continue to solicit community input throughout the design process. Please check back with this webpage for meeting dates and updated materials.
|Environmental Assessment||Summer 2009 – Summer 2011|
|Design||2010 – 2012|
|Initiate Utility Relocation||Late spring 2012|
|Construction||2013 – 2015|
|Pre-operation and Start-up||2015 – 2016|