Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Mesa Trades Road Improvements for Light-Rail Extension
The Phoenix suburb of Mesa has put the final piece of a financing package for a planned two-mile extension of the Valley Metro light rail line in place by reallocating sales tax revenue earmarked for intersection improvements to the project, the East Valley Tribune reports.
The funds, which come from a regional sales tax, were to have gone to upgrade five street intersections in the northeast part of Mesa. Instead, they will cover an additional $1.3 million needed to meet the city’s 5.7 percent share of the $186 million extension project. The extension will take the line from its current terminus at Valley Drive eastward to Gilbert Road. The extra money covers added construction costs along with retention basins to prevent flood damage and landscaping improvements recommended by residents living along the line.
A report prepared for the Mesa City Council showed that the intersection improvements, which were first proposed in 2000 and 2003, were no longer as urgently needed as they once were thanks to the opening of a new freeway that reduced traffic through them and caused crashes and fatalities at the intersections to plummet.
Beijing Kicks Off Tests of Chinese-Built Maglev Train
The Railly News reports that testing and debugging has begun on Line S1 of Beijing’s metro system, the first maglev train line in the country to use Chinese-built equipment.
The trains, built by CRRC Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company Ltd., will operate on a 10.2-km (6.3-mile) maglev line with eight stations. The line will connect Pingguoyuan in the Shijingshan district with Shimenying in the western district of Mentougou.
The zero-emission trains have a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).The first of 10 trainsets was delivered in December of last year, and the Beijing Suburban Railway, which will operate the line, anticipates a trial run of the trains by the end of the year.
Another Step Forward for Mexico City Commuter Line
Meanwhile, in Mexico, dynamic testing has begun on the new regional rail line connecting Mexico City with Toluca, as a CAF Civity trainset ran slowly under its own power between Zinancantapec and Pino Suárez stations on June 12.
The International Railway Journal reports that the first of 30 five-car CAF Civity EMU trainsets arrived on the property in January.
The 57.7-km (35.9-mile) standard-gauge line will have six stations and run from Zinancantepec in Toluca to an interchange with the Mexico City metro at Observatorio. The line, which is set to open in April 2018, is projected to carry 230,000 passengers a day and complete the end-to-end trip in 39 minutes. CAF is the lead company in a consortium that received a €690 million ($773.2 million U.S.) contract to build and equip the line.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.