City to celebrate northwest Phoenix light rail extension opening

Jan 26, 2024, 4:00 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2024, 11:20 am

PHOENIX — A new northwest Phoenix light rail extension will open for service on Saturday, city officials announced.

It’s been four years in the making, with construction kicking off in 2020.

The extension will add service west on Dunlap Avenue from 19th Avenue, north on 25th Avenue, then west on Mountain View Road, crossing over Interstate 17 to the Metrocenter area. Accordingly, city officials created three new light rail stations:

– One at 25th and Dunlap Avenue.
– Another at Mountain View Road and 25th Avenue.
– Near the former site of the Metrocenter mall.

Now that the project — known as the Northwest Extension Phase 2 — is finally ready, city officials will celebrate with a ribbon cutting and community celebration at one of the new stations: the Thelda Williams Transit Center, which is near the Metrocenter area.

It’s the snazziest of the three new stations, with a four-story park-and-ride garage along with several pieces of public art. Officials gave it the name to honor Thelda Williams, a lifelong public servant, who died on Nov. 14, 2023.

Juliana Vasquez-Keating, a Valley Metro spokesperson, encouraged the public to join the celebration, which will last from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday.

“We want the community to come out and celebrate this with us because it’s such a big moment,” Vasquez-Keating told KTAR News 92.3 FM. There will be giveaways, family-friendly entertainment and hourly raffles.

Northwest Phoenix light rail extension changes the Valley

The 1.6-mile project includes three new stops, including the system’s first elevated rail station, where trains can travel over the freeway on a rail-only bridge. There will also be 200 new trees and enhanced landscaping.

“It’s just a really cool station to look at,” Vasquez-Keating said. Five bus connections will run through the the transit center under the elevated rail station, she said.

“You’re not only getting connections to rail, but you’re also getting connections to buses. And then, you can also park your car there. You can ride your bike there. So it’s a true multimodal transit hub,” she said.

Funding for the project comes from Phoenix Transportation 2050, Proposition 400 and federal grants.

“This extension will breathe new life into the area, bring economic development. We know that this area is a little bit older, but we know that it’s going to come to life,” Vasquez-Keating said.

The extension will also help people connect to more services and jobs in the Valley, she added.

“Our county is growing at a rapid pace,” Vasquez-Keating said. “We need our public transportation system to keep up with that growth.”

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City to celebrate northwest Phoenix light rail extension opening