Valley Metro Rail opens extension to Gilbert Road in Mesa

Valley Metro Light Rail. (Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

Connections from the east Valley to jobs, schools and entertainment destinations will be 2 miles closer with the opening of the Gilbert Road Extension on May 18.

The Gilbert Road extension expands the light rail system from 26 to 28 miles and includes stations at Stapley Drive/Main Street and Gilbert Road/Main Street. Each of the two stations and the new park-and-ride feature whimsical and eye-catching art created by local and national artists, according to a release.

The new extension links Mesa and east Valley residents with regional employment centers and activity destinations while also enhancing ridership potential. As with all areas near light rail, it will maximize the economic development potential of the corridor and expand the value of transit while also accommodating future growth in the Valley, the release states.

Since construction of light rail began in Mesa in 2006, there has been $240 million in capital investment including affordable housing, retail, education and residential development.

Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of 28 miles of light rail. In Fiscal Year 2018, total ridership for the system was 67 million passengers. Six high-capacity transit extensions are under construction that will create a 50-mile system by 2030, according to the release.

Valley Metro also offers transit options including alternative transportation programs for seniors and people with disabilities, commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two boards of directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Go to valleymetro.org.

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