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.  -  Photo: Valley Metro

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.

Photo: Valley Metro

Valley Metro will soon provide a new connection from Mesa, Tempe, and downtown Phoenix to northwest Phoenix, with the Northwest Extension Phase II light rail project set to officially open for service Jan. 27.

“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,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “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 Northwest Extension

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.

The extension 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.
  • Four-story parking garage.
  • 200 new trees along with enhanced landscaping.

Funding the Northwest Extension

In addition to federal grants, funding of the extension comes from Phoenix Transportation 2050 and regional Proposition 400. The project 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, 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. The extension is expected to spur continued community investment and economic growth in northwest Phoenix and serve thousands of new riders each day.

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