This week, dozens of transit geeks, METRO employees, politicians, local business owners and Mesa residents gathered to celebrate another light rail milestone. The unveiling of a new “future light rail route” sign in front of the Mesa Arts Center on Main Street signifies what many believe will be a large step forward in showcasing what this part of town has to offer.
The crowd of people heard from METRO CEO Steve Banta, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, local business owners and others as they shared their insight as to what is coming in the near future, a future they say will be here a bit sooner than what was recently discussed. According to AZCentral and Mayor Smith, the Mesa light rail extension will open in 2015 instead of 2016.
Sooner is certainly better when you talk about opening this next leg of our light rail system, and it is welcome news to people working on the project, as well as those working in the area. Construction is scheduled to speed up this coming year with utility relocation beginning in the spring.
Much talk and emphasis has centered around helping the business community along Main Street during the long construction process. METRO has reached out to the community and provided opportunities for business owners to participate in community meetings, receive marketing materials and assistance during the entire process. A ton of information is available to Mesa business owners on the Mesa extension page of their web site.
“20 years ago, I never thought I’d see this day come” William Lindley, Director, Arizona Rail Passenger Association.
Many people are not familiar with all of the things this part of Mesa has to offer. As the trains begin to bring people to downtown Mesa, the Arts Center, the museums, and the small businesses will more than likely be a pleasant surprise. As new businesses descend upon the area, it will be interesting to see how new transit-oriented developments blend in with this section of town. For Mesa, Santa is riding a light rail train…
Merry Christmas, y’all.