Valley Metro's newest addition to the Tempe transit landscape, a project called Tempe Streetcar, is still two years from completion. Until then, the ASU community can expect more changes to traffic patterns around campus.
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Tempe’s newest form of public transit is still two years from completion, but residents and ASU students are already feeling the impact of the project’s construction.
Tempe Streetcar is slated to begin service in 2021. The system will transport riders throughout the city in a manner similar to the light rail. What differentiates the project from the light rail system is the fact that the streetcars share the road with vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
The system will have 14 stops along a route that begins going West on Rio Salado Parkway, before turning South onto Ash Avenue. It will then run along Mill Street and Apache Boulevard, along the southern edge of ASU’s Tempe campus.
Tempe Streetcar won’t be ready to ride for a while, but students are already feeling the impacts of construction around campus.
Valley Metro is warning drivers that the intersection of Rio Salado Parkway and Ash Avenue will be highly impacted throughout the coming months as the roads are widened and a new traffic circle is installed.
In the same area, the busy intersection of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway will be closed entirely from October 25th to October 28. The intersection will reopen after that.
However, on the south side of campus, construction will soon begin to focus on building new station platforms, so drivers will begin to see fewer lane restrictions and closures.
While construction continues, Valley Metro offered a few tips on how to keep construction zone traffic flowing smoothly including limiting distractions, such as cell phones and headphones. Also, they suggest allowing extra time for travel in case of delays. And for pedestrians, always use the designated crosswalks, and follow the posted signage.
Andrew Onodera oversees the day-to-day needs of the State Press multimedia department as managing editor. He is also an intern at KPNX-12News and previously worked at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.