By Jeff Grant for Daily News Sun
Three potential routes remain under study for extending Valley Metro’s light-rail line from west Phoenix into downtown Glendale by the year 2026. Adding rapid-transit bus service along those same routes is an alternative being explored as well.
A recommendation is expected early next year.
Planners with the Valley-wide public transit agency are continuing to gather public and business input on both routes and modes of transportation. Each route – either bus or light rail — would run from 19th Avenue west; two would do so along Camelback Road while a third would take users along Glendale Avenue.
Once at 51st Avenue in the downtown area, the routes become more varied, with six possibilities being considered, according to a study update recently presented to the public during a meeting at City Hall.
The extension could go beyond downtown. Valley Metro envisions riders traveling to the Westgate sports and entertainment district.
The project, whose costs are currently listed at about a half billion dollars, would be funded largely through federal transportation dollars, along with revenues from the 2001 GO Glendale Transportation Tax, Phoenix’s 2000 transit tax, and Prop. 400; a half-cent sales tax approved in 2004 charged throughout Maricopa County to fund transportation projects. There is competition for federal dollars, so planners need to demonstrate the project is cost-efficient.
The three route alternatives being considered from 19th Avenue west include:
- Glendale Avenue
- Camelback Road to 43rd Avenue north to Glendale Avenue
- Camelback Road to Grand Avenue to 51st Avenue north to the downtown area
A route along Bethany Home Road was eliminated because of the single-family home dominated neighborhood, Pyne said.
Within the downtown area, six routes are being considered, including:
- Lamar Road and 55th Drive
- Glendale Avenue
- Glenn Drive/Palmaire Ave. and 55th Ave.
- Palmaire and 55th avenues
- Myrtle Ave./Palmaire Ave. and 51st Ave., and
- Glenn Drive/Palmaire Ave. and 51st Ave.
Final decisions will be based on a series of factors, including ridership potential, right-of-way and traffic impacts, and cost. Ridership potential includes present and future demand.
While bus routes cost less — $40-$70M per mile to build vs. $80-$100M for light rail, according to Valley Metro – rail is more efficient. Up to 200 passengers per car can use rail, while buses hold no more than 90 passengers. Rail requires more space; something that is limited in the heart of downtown.
Study of the Glendale extension is now in the hands of community and business representatives through the fall, when they are expected to make recommendations.
Read more at YouWestValley.com