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Valley Metro proposes alternative design to South Phoenix light rail expansion

Posted at 11:53 AM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 22:32:29-04

Valley Metro is sharing some new ideas when it comes to extending the light rail from downtown to Baseline Road.

The original plan meant part of Central Avenue would go be reduced to two lanes, a move that prompted people who live and work nearby to protest.

"We said listen to us," said Celia Contreras, a business owner in the area. "Listen to the community. Listen to those who are go to be impacted. Not investment people." 

Now, Valley Metro is working on an alternative.

"We're going to present the two alternatives in an unbiased manner to show here's what you get with the current design, here's what you get if we change the design," Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith said.

The second plan keeps Central Avenue at four lanes but would make the road less friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. However, Smith wants to remind everyone not to lose sight of the big picture.

"I think one thing that's gotten lost is, first of all, the history," Smith said. "This is a 20-year process. The idea of the light rail in Phoenix first came up 20 years ago and was first voted upon by Phoenix residents in 2000."

If you'd like to give input on which plan you'd prefer, Valley Metro is holding its second of six meetings Tuesday night at Cesar Chavez Community School at 6 p.m.