For the past few years, ongoing construction along Interstate 17 has made the daily commute into central Phoenix a headache for residents of New River, Anthem, and surrounding areas. Soon, a new Park and Ride facility will provide North Phoenix residents with a new option for commuting into the city.
For those not familiar with the idea of park-and-ride, here's how it works: you drive your personal vehicle to a Park and Ride facility and then leave it at the security-patrolled lot. From there, you board some type of public transportation such as a city bus, shuttle, or light rail to take you to your final destination.
The idea of Park and Ride began back in 1994, when the City of Phoenix approved a public transportation plan that called for a system of buses and 30 park-and-ride facilities to be constructed across the valley over the long term.
A study conducted in the year 2000 set out to identify possible locations for the new park-and-ride facilities. The results were published in 2001, and the corner of Happy Valley Road and 29th Avenue (just West of Interstate 17) was ranked 7th on a list of 10 potential locations.
They couldn't have picked a better location, because traffic in the area has jumped dramatically thanks to the nearby Happy Valley Towne Center and the Shops at Norterra. The State of Arizona purchased the 7.7 acre parcel of land in 2007 for $1,426,645 dollars, and spent an additional $251,090 dollars for advance design work.
The money to build the Happy Valley Park and Ride came to Arizona through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, care of the Federal Government.
As part of the largest economic stimulus in our history, Arizona received $65 million dollars in funds with $30 million reserved for the City of Phoenix itself. Of that $30 million, $5.5 million was set aside for the Happy Valley Park and Ride facility in March of 2009.
Construction of the new Park and Ride is expected to begin later this year or in early next year. By December 2010, the station should be fully operational.
The Happy Valley Park and Ride will have 500 covered parking spaces when completed, making it the 4th largest Park and Ride facility in Phoenix. There will also be a security building, surveillance cameras, and additional landscaping. Improvements to 29th Avenue will be made, and a special freeway on-ramp will also be added for southbound buses along Interstate 17.
With the completion of the Happy Valley Park and Ride facility, North Phoenix will strengthen its connection to the rest of Phoenix and to the Valley Metro public transit system greatly.