Opening on December 27, 2008, the initial 20 miles of light rail was a vision realized for community members and city leaders who had a dream more than a decade earlier.
Now, 10 years down the road from that celebratory opening day, it’s time to take stock. Has our system truly delivered as envisioned more than 20 years ago?
Today, more than 50,000 riders rely on light rail each day to take them to work, school and recreation. No doubt, light rail plays a role in attracting major events. It also provides an essential link between the downtown Phoenix and Tempe ASU campuses. We have expanded to serve a transit-reliant corridor along 19th Avenue and sparked new life into downtown Mesa. We are here to do more than serve, we are here to connect your community and enhance your life.
Our Quality of Life report examines progress in achieving that early vision, defined by four key goals:
Light rail has been a major economic driver that has spurred more than $11 billion in capital investments along the tracks since it opened 10 years ago. It’s been a catalyst for positive change, connecting people to education and career opportunities and connecting neighborhoods. The regional transportation system has become integrated into the daily lives of thousands of residents across the Valley.
of Valley Metro Rail riders walk 1/4 mile or less to access transit
increase in bicycle riders accessing transit after light rail operations began
of GRID bike stations and 84% of bike trips occur within the light rail corridor
percentage of single seat trips (no transfers), increased from prior route (Red Line bus) to light rail
more high schools have access to Gateway Community College, within an hour’s travel, after light rail
light rail rides to/from Talking Stick Resort Arena with Rail Ride Ticket Partnership in 2017
initiated during light rail construction and formalized in 2016, provides collaboration and support for neighborhoods, schools, churches, businesses, non-profits, local government and law enforcement along light rail
Today, a dream for many becomes reality. Light rail is rejuvenating downtown Mesa, offering residents and visitors across the Valley an opportunity to travel to new destinations and discover Mesa.
of customers are “very satisfied” with transit service, up from 74% before light rail
new pedestrian crossing signals
of all light rail boardings are school-bound student riders
and station locations are the two top reasons why ASU students ride light rail
public art pieces have been added along the light rail corridor in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa
2016 AZ Forward Crescordia Award for Art in Public Places and 2017 WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award for the Valley Metro Rail Public Art Program
I do depend on the train and it gets me from Point A to Point B. It is the most hassle-free way to get from where I live to downtown Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Sky Harbor International Airport!
in public and private investment in the corridor since light rail construction began
square feet of new construction across 344 projects
new residential units and 4,000+ hotel rooms
of all innovation spaces in metro Phoenix are along the light rail corridor
capital investment in educational facilities, including 60 new projects and 5.5 million new square feet
riders from Thursday to Sunday, including a record-breaking 126,000 on Saturday
special events were directly served by light rail in 2017
more rides at the 44th St/Washington station and 64% more rides on PHX Sky Train® after its extension to Terminal 3
The Northwest Extension set the stage and momentum to attract new businesses and visitors. It brought people together and ignited an effort to capitalize on the revitalization rail brings to the community.
*H + T © Index defines “affordability” as when combined housing and transportation costs are no more than 45% of total household income. See https://htaindex.cnt.org/map/
new K-12 schools, 17% increase in public and charter school enrollment and 21 new vocational schools and community colleges have opened in the corridor since light rail construction began
increase in 4-year college and university enrollment in the corridor since 2008
of Valley Metro Rail station areas with no access to grocery stores before light rail construction now have access to a grocery store within walking distance
tons of Criteria Air Pollutants were prevented by light rail from 2009–2017, reducing public health risks
decrease in bicycle and pedestrian collisions in the light rail corridor and 10% decrease in collision fatalities
of riders with access to a car chose to take Valley Metro Rail instead, equal to removing 27,000 car trips from the road daily and 8.2 million annually
gallons of fuel have been saved since the light rail began operating
We must be able to offer people a choice to go to any of the places people need. This extends the ladders of opportunities, leading to a better life. It’s really the embodiment of the American Dream.
Local transit-supportive sales taxes are approved in Tempe and Phoenix.
Maricopa County voters approve Proposition 400 that allows funding of the Regional Transportation Plan.
Valley Metro Rail receives signed Full Funding Grant Agreement for $587 million in federal funding for the 20-mile light rail line.
Official groundbreaking ceremony for the 20-mile light rail system.
The 20-mile Valley Metro Rail line opens for service.
Opening of the Central Mesa Extension to Main Street and Mesa Drive.
Opening of the Northwest Phoenix Extension to 19th Avenue and Dunlap Avenue.
Groundbreaking of the Gilbert Road Extension to Main Street and Gilbert Road.
Groundbreaking of the first new station along an existing corridor at 50th and Washington streets.
Major construction begins on the region’s first modern streetcar in Tempe.
10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF LIGHT RAIL
Ten years of light rail has invigorated our economy and revitalized entire corridors – our system is truly an Arizona success story that should be celebrated nationally.
One thing remains true, investing in light rail has improved the quality of life in our region. Its expansion will continue to be a catalyst for positive and exciting change for decades to come.