More Rail for Metro Phoenix August 1st, 2001
by William Lindley
Glendale is gearing up for a transit election this autumn, the purpose of which is to extend the Central Phoenix – East Valley light rail system westward. The terminus of the light rail in Glendale will be â€œdowntownâ€ which, one hopes, will include a multimodal station at the Santa Fe depot just north of 59th Avenue and Glendale, where commuter train riders from Wickenburg and the Sun Cities could transfer to the light rail for destinations like Central Avenue.
Meanwhile, Scottsdale is continuing its North-South corridor study. The most promising option is light rail along Scottsdale Road down to Curry Road, where the line would proceed west to approximately the Red River Opry for a connection to the Phoenix – Tempe route; from there, trains would proceed south to the station by the once and future Tempe Amtrak/commuter rail depot, ASU, and thence south along Rural or McClintock. Other light rail options would entail yet another new Salt River bridge. Busways are also under consideration, as is an express bus on Route 101. In addition to the light rail on Scottsdale Road, I would like to see a limited stop bus run along Pima Road â€“ not the highway â€“ connecting the ends of all the east-west local bus routes from Phoenix and Scottsdale down to Tempe and the rail terminals.
Furthermore, the MAG/Valley Metro/RPTA sponsored Commuter Rail study is set to begin, with funding from the Salt River Project, and strong support from East and West Valley cities.
All this is the fruits of our many years of hard workâ€¦ THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!
The Southwest Rail Corridor Could Be A Reality August 1st, 2001
by Jay Smyth
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), led by Director Mary Peters, has had several meetings with the Union Pacific (UP) and Amtrak to discuss retaining the Phoenix West Line for future development of the Southwest Rail Corridor (SWRC). After meeting with Amtrak, Peters stated, â€œWe think it would be in our long-term interest to retain that corridor.â€
Reports indicate that the UP is cooperating with ADOT to preserve the corridor. Although the UP still intends to remove the rail for use elsewhere in their system, they appear willing to work with the State of Arizona to retain the corridor right-of-way. Talks between ADOT and the UP continue as we go to press.
The SWRC coalition ( http://www.southwestrail.org ) members have fanned out to meet with numerous Arizona business leaders, city officials and state legislators to educate them about the benefits of the SWRC and to ask for their support. We have had overwhelmingly positive support for the corridor from all we have contacted. The coalition has received letters of support from the RPTA, the City of Phoenix, the Town of Buckeye, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce. We expect more letters in the near future. The coalition will continue to expand contacts and develop relationships with key players. Similar activities have started in California.
The time appears to be right. With two states working together, the lead taken by ADOT, and the efforts of the SWRC coalition, the corridor could become a reality – possibly within the next five years.
Note: Readers of the Western Rail Passenger Review interested in the development of the SWRC who would like to contribute to the coalitionâ€™s efforts, contact Jay Smyth ( email@example.com, 480/947-5710)