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Light Rail Changes Proposed For Downtown Phoenix

Light rail downtown phoenix
Mark Brodie/KJZZ
Light rail in downtown Phoenix.

As final designs are being drawn for the light-rail extension into south Phoenix, changes are also being proposed for downtown.

Here’s what city staffers are thinking: Since Phoenix is already working to extend the train five miles south of downtown and two miles west to the state Capitol area, they should be looking at the big picture rather than two separate projects.

Albert Santana, director of high capacity transit, recently told a subcommittee the latest plan calls for a hub surrounded by Washington and Jefferson streets and Central and First avenues.

“As the system expands, we know that transfers will probably become a reality depending on the multiple places that people want to go, and so in the event that people do need to make a transfer we want to make sure that those transfers are as seamless as possible,” he said.

The plan also calls for eliminating vehicle traffic on Central Avenue between Jefferson and Washington Streets, which is part of a comprehensive downtown plan the City Council approved in 2014.

Light rail is expected to begin running to south Phoenix and the state Capitol in about six years.

Here are the planning changes approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which must still be approved by the full council:

  • Extending rail track west along Washington Street from Central Avenue to First Avenue.
  • Relocating two passenger stations from currently planned sites on Washington and Jefferson Streets near Third Avenue, to the north side of Washington Street between Central and First Avenues, and to the south side of Jefferson Street between Central and First Avenues.
  • Adding a new station on the east side of Central Avenue between Washington and Jefferson Streets.
  • Installing additional track on Fifth Street and on Third Avenue between Washington and Jefferson Streets.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.