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Phoenix - October 2010

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Phoenix — Streetcar For Tempe

Rail Transit Online, October 2010

A plan for a 2.6-mi. (4.2 km) modern streetcar line along Mill Avenue in Tempe was published by Valley Metro on Sept. 23.

Planners are recommending that a streetcar be adopted as the locally-
preferred option and be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration as part of an application for funding.

The double-track alignment would operate in mixed traffic, running north along Mill from Southern Avenue to University Drive where it would split into a one-way couplet, looping on Mill and Ash Avenue to a connection with the existing LRT line. Studies have found that the streetcar option is a low-cost alternative to light rail that avoids excessive construction, utility diversion and parking impacts on Mill Avenue while helping to generate development on the west side of downtown Tempe.

The result would resemble the Portland Streetcar, connecting city-center neighborhoods with the intention of fostering local commercial development. Tempe officials have said they support the project, which will cost approximately $150 million to $175 million, but a final vote by the city council is scheduled for later this month.

If approved, more detailed design would begin, including selection of stops. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in 2013, if at least $75 million in federal funding can be secured, with revenue service beginning three years later.


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