Mesa and Chandler Consider Potential Light Rail Corridor
Mesa is looking 15 years into the future, the time usually warranted for planning and developing mass transit additions, and the East Valley Tribune is reporting that plans could include a second light rail line running all the way to downtown Chandler.
A 2012 study indicated a potential corridor for high-capacity transit that could include a light rail extension, express bus service, or street car. However, both cities say that the eventual plans will depend on factors that are currently indeterminate, like financing availability and how the cities develop over the years.
Should a second light rail be deemed necessary, it would be built in phases along Country Club and Baseline roads in Mesa, first running alongside the Rancho Del Mar neighborhood and finishing on Arizona Avenue in downtown Chandler.
Another holdup could be Chandler’s unwillingness to pay their share for a transit alternative study. The cost for the study is $900,000 but Chandler has not decided if they want to pay $600,000 to participate. If the study does happen, Valley Metro would make a decision in the year 2019, including their recommendations for the type of transit and route they prefer.
While Jodi Sorrell, Mesa’s transit services director, believes populated areas like Banner Desert Medical Center, Mesa Community College and the Fiesta District, call for a second light rail in the future, Chandler is taking a conservative approach. Noting their preference to add more frequent buses or express buses before considering the light rail, Chandler city engineer Dan Cook told the Trubine that he doesn’t know if their city “will ever meet the criteria in ridership to have light rail transit.”