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Phoenix gets $17.5M federal grant to improve safety along 35th Avenue

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PHOENIX – The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded nearly $17.5 million to Phoenix for safety improvements along a busy westside corridor.

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will go toward upgrading 35th Avenue between Interstate 10 and Camelback Road, the city said last week in a press release.

“This segment of road currently serves 250 small businesses and 8,000 employees across a wide spectrum of business sectors, including manufacturing and distribution,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in the release.

“This addition of the most modern infrastructure will spur the attraction and expansion of businesses in this area.”

The corridor is one of the city’s busiest areas for bus usage, the release said, and also a hot spot for pedestrian-related collisions.

“This is an area where many students and families walk or bike by necessity – to get to work, school or local businesses,” Vice Mayor Betty Guardado said in the release.

“Adding the signals for mid-block crossings will make it safer for all road users, but especially for people on foot or riding bikes.”

According to a 2019 study, the 35th Avenue Safety Corridor Project could reduce travel times by almost 20%, saving tens of thousands of hours a year for commuters.

The grant money will target a long list of improvements, including:

  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons at/near the Coronado Road, Grand Canal trail and Turney Avenue intersections to increase pedestrian crossing opportunities.
  • Raised medians to improve pedestrian safety.
  • LED street lighting along the west side of 35th Avenue to improve visibility for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Pavement improvements between McDowell and Camelback roads.
  • Broadband fiber optic cable along the corridor to increase the data capacity for future technology, such as autonomous vehicles.

“The BUILD grant is an extremely competitive process and receiving a grant to increase safety on one of Phoenix’s busiest roadways by implementing innovative technology will reduce travel time and improve quality of life,” Councilwoman Thelda Williams said in the release.

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