Northwest Phoenix Light Rail Extension Set to Open Jan. 27

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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Valley Metro recently announced that the Northwest Extension Phase II light rail project, connecting Mesa, Tempe and downtown Phoenix, Ariz., will officially open for service on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.

A ribbon cutting and community celebration is being planned on that day to commemorate the occasion.

The 1.6-mile extension expands light rail service farther into northwest Phoenix, running west from 19th and Dunlap avenues, going north on 25th Avenue, then west on Mountain View Road, crossing the I-17 freeway to the redeveloping Metrocenter area.

This extension, Valley Metro says, introduces unique features, including the first elevated rail station, a rail-only bridge over the I-17 freeway and seven community-driven public art installations. The project also includes a transit center named in honor of former Phoenix Mayor and Councilmember Thelda Williams, who also served as Chair of Valley Metro Rail.

Other project features include:

  • Three new light rail stations.
  •  A four-story parking garage.
  • 200 new trees along with enhanced landscaping.

In addition to federal grants, funding of the extension comes from Phoenix Transportation 2050 and regional Proposition 400. This project, Valley Metro says, builds upon the success of the Northwest Extension Phase I, which opened in 2016.

In 2016, the Phoenix City Council approved accelerating segments of the future high-capacity transit system under the Transportation 2050 plan. As a result, construction on the project began in 2020 and is opening two years ahead of the original 2026 projected opening date.

Since light rail service began in metro Phoenix in 2008, Valley Metro says the system has attracted more than $17 billion in public and private investment development with another $2.1 billion in planned commercial and residential development. This extension is expected to spur continued community investment and economic growth in northwest Phoenix and serve thousands of new riders each day, according to the agency.

“As Phoenix continues growing, so does the need for reliable, affordable transportation options that can connect Phoenicians to opportunities all over town,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Whether it’s going to work, to the doctor’s office, or to visit loved ones, I believe every person should be able to get where they need to go without relying on a car. The Northwest Extension II — by way of the newly named Thelda Williams Transit Center — is going to deliver on that vision, while at the same time helping us reduce carbon emissions in the long-term. Three years in the making, the extension is going to breathe life into neighborhoods around the Metrocenter development, accelerate private and public investment in the area, and improve quality of life for Phoenix residents.”

“The opening of the Northwest Extension Phase II is a remarkable milestone in Valley Metro Rail’s vision to provide multi-modal connectivity across our region,” said Phoenix Councilmember and Valley Metro Rail Board Chair Laura Pastor. “Extensions like this demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver high-quality public transit that our region both needs and deserves.”

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