By Tristan Ettleman for The Arizona Republic
New light-rail stations connecting the current line with future lines that will go south and west are coming to downtown Phoenix, creating a centralized transfer hub for Valley commuters.
The Phoenix City Council last month approved building two additional stations west of Central Avenue on Washington and Jefferson streets, as well as permanently closing the block on Central between those streets to passenger vehicles.
Only buses and light-rail trains will have access to that portion of the roadway, which also will get a new station.
The goal of the project is to “create a nice transfer hub,” said Albert Santana, director of high-capacity transit for Phoenix.
The three stations will be around CityScape, and the portion of the roadway that will close goes through the middle of the development and under a pedestrian bridge
The approval means the start of the final planning and design phases, Santana said. The city estimates the design will be finished in summer 2019, with construction completed in fall 2023.
Completion of the downtown hub is planned to coincide with the opening of new lines, one west to the Capitol and one south to Baseline Road along Central Avenue.
Santana said the schedule focuses the bulk of construction at one time, rather than stringing it out across more years.
The final design and engineering costs will run about $35M, while preconstruction costs will be about $15M, he said.
The hub project is funded by Transportation 2050, a sales-tax increase approved by Phoenix voters.
Downtown Phoenix Inc. CEO and President Dave Krietor said the organization’s working relationship with the project is “very strong,” though he added, “The devil is in the details.”
Krietor said he is concerned about the light-rail hub’s impact on CityScape because Downtown Phoenix Inc. often coordinates events in the area.
Due to the closure of the block, the city will widen First Street to add an additional northbound lane.
The Washington and Jefferson stations, which will be between Central and First avenues, will not reduce current traffic lanes, although the Washington station will remove a small number of street parking spaces.
The stations’ design will be tailored to the area and integrated into the existing adjacent architecture, Santana said.
Read more at The Arizona Republic.
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