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The Tempe City Council supported a route recommendation for the Tempe Streetcar project at its June 12, 2014 Issue Review Session. Valley Metro, in coordination with the City of Tempe, recommended this modified streetcar route to better fit the new federal funding criteria and meet community goals. 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.
The next steps for the project are to share the updated route with the community and continue coordination with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
For additional information, to request a presentation or to be added to the Tempe Streetcar mailing list, please contact Lisa Saldin at 602-495-8213 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Following a three-year study that evaluated high-capacity transit improvements to support the Tempe and Chandler areas and enhance the existing, regional transit network, a streetcar project in the Mill Avenue corridor was adopted locally and regionally into the Regional Transportation Plan in 2010.
The 2010 adopted project ran 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 current recommended route shown in the map [above], was supported by the Tempe City Council in June, 2014.
The FTA has continued to express interest in the streetcar project, and 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 Tempe Streetcar project capital costs are estimated at $175-190 million and will be funded using regional Proposition 400 funds, federal grant dollars, and potential other sources. The City of Tempe will be responsible for operating costs.
The next steps for the project are to share the updated route with the community, continue coordination with the FTA and seek regional route approval from the Valley Metro Rail and Maricopa Association of Governments boards.
Streetcar is an important 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. Stops are also more frequent than light rail.