Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix held a public meeting about future high-capacity transit projects at Burton Barr Central Library, Saturday morning, Feb. 3 (photo by Isaias Soto).

A 10-mile light rail extension on Interstate 10 West may soon be a reality. Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix held an informational public meeting about future high-capacity transit projects, Saturday morning, Feb. 3. As part of their preliminary phase, officials are seeking public opinion on westward expansion as well as several other projects.

“We’re engaging with the people who live or use facilities in these communities, and so if it happens in your community, then you should have a say in how it’s developing,” stated Sarah Brown, Business Assistance Coordinator and TOD Grant Manager with the City of Phoenix.

The new light rail track will run in the middle of I-10 from 19th Avenue to 75th Avenue, affecting several neighborhoods of West Phoenix. Connecting to the Desert Sky Transit Center, the extension will begin on 19th Avenue from the newly approved State Capital extension, which solidified plans to connect via Van Buren and Washington Street. Valley Metro has proposed eight stations and three park-and-rides along the I-10 corridor, and continues to research overall design.

Four other projects were also discussed in the public forum as part of the Future Phoenix High-capacity Transit Projects informational at Burton Barr Library. About 25-35 residents were in attendance as they heard several project managers discuss the various plans to elevate Phoenix’s public transportation system.

According to a quality of life report released by Valley Metro, more than 50,000 riders rely on the light rail each day to commute to work, school or recreation. Margaret Dietrich, a midtown Phoenix resident stated she moved from north Phoenix to Central Avenue because of the light rail.

“You hop on the light rail, you go to the ballgame, you go to the symphony, you can go to the store, you go anywhere you want, so easily and really cheaply,” stated Dietrich about her experience with the transportation system.

Recently, the northbound light rail extension to the new Thelda Williams Transit Center at the former Metrocenter mall celebrated their grand opening on Jan. 27. The expansion, which travels west on Dunlap Avenue from 19th Avenue and over the Interstate 17, is said to add on 3,000 riders according to Valley Metro.

Plans are underway for an additional West Phoenix train route along Indian School Road from 19th to 99th Avenue. Valley Metro is finalizing public recommendations on the extension that will connect either on Central Avenue and Indian School Road or 19th Avenue and Camelback Road.

Phoenix resident Andy McNeal, who commutes on the light rail to downtown from northwest Phoenix said he “would be doing more of the meetings.” McNeal also said he had some concerns regarding what some of the information meant, but made sure to stay after the presentation for one-on-one discussions with several project managers present.

Neither Councilmember Laura Pastor of Phoenix’s District 4 nor her team were in attendance as announced. Pastor, who is on the Valley Metro Rail Board of Directors, had a vacant table at the event. The light rail administrator for the City of Phoenix was present to kick off the presentation with Valley Metro and was seen having conversation with several Phoenix residents.

Valley Metro is planning another public meeting Feb. 8 from 6-8 p.m. at Desert West Community Center and a virtual meeting on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit

Editor’s note: this story was updated Feb. 9 to reflect the correct title for Sarah Brown, who was incorrectly identified as with Valley Metro. 


  • Isaias Soto

    Isaias Soto is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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