By Emily Gersema for The Arizona Republic
Residents of a central Phoenix neighborhood near the Capitol have backed a new Metro light-rail proposal that would extend the light rail from downtown Phoenix west to Maryvale at 79th Avenue and Interstate 10.
The proposal calls for an 11-mile extension to start at Central Avenue, running west along Jefferson Street, north near 18th Avenue, west on Van Buren Street, and north on Interstate 17 to Interstate 10. The route would then run along Interstate 10 to 79th Avenue, the south side of the Maryvale area in west Phoenix.
The Phoenix City Council and Metro light rail’s advisory board have backed the latest proposal. It awaits approval from the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, which is expected to vote on the proposal in July.
After that, Metro light-rail officials said they will begin an environmental-impact and design study of the proposed route. The project could be under construction by 2017 and carrying passengers from Maryvale to downtown by 2021.
Originally, the route split the St. Matthew neighborhood generating opposition. Although the St. Matthew neighborhood has not been designated “historic” by the city to receive any sort of special historic-preservation consideration, it is home to some of Phoenix’s oldest houses. The oldest ones were built in the early 1890s, when Phoenix was a small town.
Early last year, John Maurin, 62, who lives in the same St. Matthew’s home where his parents raised him, had asked the city and Metro light rail to consider another route that wouldn’t bisect the neighborhood.
The latest proposal to route the rail through the neighborhood on Van Buren Street is much more appealing because it minimizes the potential impact of the rail’s construction on the neighborhood, he said.
Read more at AZCentral