STV on Sept. 18 reported signing a contract with Arizona’s Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro), in partnership with the cities of Tempe and Mesa, to serve as the lead planner and designer to expand the three-mile, 14-stop Tempe Streetcar system, which launched May 20, 2022.
According to STV, the Rio East-Dobson Extension project will evaluate adding approximately four miles of track from downtown Tempe into Mesa, Arizona’s third-largest city. STV is the lead designer for the project and PARTNERS in Architecture is the architect-of-record.
“While previous feasibility studies determined the general route along Rio Salado Parkway and Dobson Road [see map below], STV will conduct an alternative analysis to consider and evaluate the line’s configuration and how it can best connect various regional activity centers, employment centers and residential areas,” the professional services firm said. STV will also study the potential to integrate the project with planned transit-oriented developments throughout the cities while serving Tempe Marketplace and Sloan Park in Mesa, and prepare conceptual designs for the streetcar and analyze the project’s potential for receiving federal grants in future phases.
The metro Phoenix area, which recently surpassed five million residents, is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, according to STV. Currently, there is no fixed-transit service along the Rio Salado portion of the corridor between Tempe and Mesa. The expanded streetcar line would travel to the area near the Sycamore/Main Street light rail station in Mesa, serving as a hub to encourage multi-modal ridership for travel to downtown Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, including the campuses of Arizona State University and entertainment venues, with the potential for additional streetcar expansion in the future, the professional services firm reported.
“This project will serve as a model for connecting other fast-growing communities nationwide, while showcasing how transit system expansions can provide more accessibility,” STV Project Manager Tyler Bonstead said. “We’re excited to plan for both urban development and transit improvements in this rapidly growing corridor, which is seldom done at the same time and is much tougher to accomplish piecemeal.”