Thursday, December 12, 2013

Phoenix selects southern LRT route

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The Phoenix City Council, in an 8-to-1 vote, has approved plans for a five-mile Valley Metro light rail transit route extending south of downtown, choosing LRT over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and streetcar options.

Construction is still years away, according to local media with several other LRT extensions preceding it. But officials noted the South Central Corridor would serve a large potential market of transit-dependent users, many of whom have clamored to be included in the LRT network. "It will reach a lot of people who don't have a good alternative to get to work, who don't have cars," said City Councilwoman-elect Kate Gallego.

Besides modal selection 11 route variants also were studied. The recommended route would run south along First Avenue out of downtown before accessing Central Avenue.

The route must still be approved by several groups, including the Maricopa Association of Governments, the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Last month Valley Metro received the Finding of No Significant Impact (or FONSI) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a 1.9-mile Gilbert Road LRT extension to better serve Mesa, Ariz., east of Phoenix.