Elena Mendoza

Monday, March 28, 2016

Valley Metro opens three light rail stations in northwest Phoenix

After more than three years of construction, Valley Metro has opened service to three light rail stations in northwest Phoenix.

The three-mile addition expands travel that once ended at Montebello and 19th avenues to Dunlap and 19th avenues.

Local resident Daniel Hardeman, who relies on public transit to shop, is grateful.

“Where I live is not too far from where the new station is, so it really helps a lot,” Hardeman said. “It’s a really fast trip rather than waiting for the city bus, I’ll tell you that.”

Many frequent commuters in the area said it was difficult to get around as the tracks and stations were being built but it it was worth the wait.

“It has made things a lot easier for everybody,” Kateri Jensen, a frequent light rail rider, said when the new routes opened in March. “Especially businesses, even if they did complain about all the ruckus it caused.”

Valley Metro handed out free day passes the morning of the opening to thank the community for their support and patience.

And potential riders are looking forward to more light rail routes.

“If we’re the 5th, 6th largest city in the United States, I think we need this in other areas,” said Janet Strhace, an employee of a nearby Fry’s grocery store.

Officials plan to extend light rail 40 more miles over the next 18 years.