Work starts on bus system linking Chandler riders with light rail

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West Chandler residents got their first peak at the future last week with groundbreaking ceremonies for a pickup station that will link area passengers with light rail service in east Mesa.

The station, on the southeast corner of Elliot Road and Arizona Avenue, is among pickup sites scheduled for construction along a 12-mile route between downtown Chandler and the eastern startup point for METRO light rail.

Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn joined his counterparts in Mesa and Gilbert to celebrate the start of construction of the new LINK transit service that will provide westside and other Chandler residents with their first direct connection to light rail service at Mesa’s Sycamore Station, on Main Street just east of Dobson Road.

Phoenix-based D.L. Withers Construction will start construction a total of 20 pickup stations along the route, including two artistic shelters planned for downtown Chandler.
The new bus rapid transit service will provide a link from Chandler’s Park and Ride at Germann Road and Hamilton Street to light rail service in Mesa.

Completion of all 20 stations along the route is expected by the time the connecting service goes into effect in July.

Total cost of the project is $11.6 million, which includes shelter construction, landscaping, lighting, utility relocation, data and power hook-ups, dynamic messaging signs for bus arrival information, fare vending machines and bike racks. Additional elements include a traffic signal priority system and some of the right-of-way acquisition.
Originally funded by Proposition 400 funds, the project would have been halted due to a downturn in sales tax revenues if not for the funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Valley Metro Board selected the Arizona Avenue/Country Club Road BRT construction for the stimulus funding in May.

Regarding a future connection to the Arizona Avenue bus rapid transit system via Chandler Boulevard, no funding has yet been identified for such a program.

Chandler Boulevard was selected as a future BRT/Light Rail route in a High Capacity Transit Study approved by a Chandler City Council resolution in February 2003.

A study at the time saw such a route being implemented in 10-15 years. Implementation will require a combination of federal, state, regional and local funds. Currently, such funds are in short supply.

BRT service on Chandler Boulevard is considered a significant upgrade to serve substantial demand between Ahwatukee, Chandler Fashion Center and downtown Chandler.
Also in the planning stages is a BRT or light rail route in south Tempe/west Chandler, probably along Rural Road.

METRO Rail has been studying the feasibility of such a service, but METRO has yet to unveil their final recommendation. Attached is an article you published about the study. Like the Chandler Boulevard route, funding availability will be the issue.

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