Just in time for the busy holiday travel season and next year’s Super Bowl, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, members of the Phoenix City Council, and local leaders celebrated the opening of the final stage of the PHX Sky Train. The 2.5 mile extension connects the terminals with the Rental Car Center and adds two new stations – the Rental Car Center Station and the 24th Street Station. Stage 2 opens to the public on December 20.
“The new PHX Sky Train extension is a perfect example of why I believe Phoenix is the city of the future,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Phoenix is a hub for innovation, and we are constantly using data-driven technology to make life easier for our residents, as well as our visitors. When fans arrive for the big game in February, they will instantly see why Phoenix is a top-tier destination for business, for jobs, for vacationers, and for those who’d like to build a life here.”
The extension of the PHX Sky Train to the Rental Car Center has been long-awaited for many travelers. It provides a more efficient and convenient travel experience between the terminals and the Rental Car Center. In fact, it will take under 8 minutes to go from Terminal 4 to the Rental Car Center, and about 13 minutes to ride the entire five miles from the 44th Street Station to the new Rental Car Center Station. Trains arrive and depart every three to five minutes 24 hours a day.
In addition to the new Rental Car Center Station, a new station was added at 24th Street and Buckeye Road – the 24th Street Station. This provides a convenient option for travelers arriving from the West Valley and downtown Phoenix. Roadway improvements mean that drivers will find improved access to and from nearby freeways. The Station features public and commercial pick-up and drop-off at the curb and will allow travelers to get to the terminals in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the new 24th Street Express Pay Parking, with 1,600 economy parking spaces will open just to the south of the station, also providing easy access to the terminals and another option for those travelers entering the airport from the West. The parking area will also feature a number of electric vehicle charging stations.
Both stations feature beautiful artist designed terrazzo floors. The design of the Rental Car Center PHX Sky Train Station terrazzo floor, From the Earth to the Sky by local artist Bill Dambrova, is inspired by the human curiosity of Earth and what is beyond. Many terrazzo materials and aggregates are from shells, fossils, etc. At the 24th Street Station, local artist Frank Gonzales created a design called Sonoran Essence. The design spans more than 8,000 square feet and magnifies small details within the native Sonoran desert, including native plants. The Rental Car Center Station also features a piece called Sky Curtain which was inspired by the changing colors of the Phoenix sky. The artist team of R&R Studios designed two sculptural weather screens which include layers of colorful pipes that reveal different colors as passengers walk along the platform.
Additional benefits of the project include improved accessibility, especially for customers using wheelchairs. The project also helps to reduce traffic on Sky Harbor Boulevard, easing transit to and from the terminals.
Other project improvements include enhancements at the PHX Sky Train’s maintenance and support facility. The size of the facility was doubled, and the project saw an additional 30,000 square feet for storage, an automated vehicle wash and storage tracks. Additionally, 24 cars were added to the existing 18 vehicles. With the opening of this final stage, the trains will run in a three car format compared to the two-car format they have previously been running. Each train car accommodates up to 53 passengers. It’s estimated that future ridership could reach 79,000 people daily which would include both Rental Car Center customers as well as those who park at the 24th Street Station or who are picked up or dropped off there. With Phoenix Sky Harbor being so focused on being future-friendly, this project in particular has a number of sustainability features, including diverting 76% of on-site construction waste from landfills; using 23% of building materials manufactured from recycled materials; using high efficiency air handlers and chillers to help reduce energy consumption in the station by 30%, and using efficient plumbing fixtures to achieve a 43% reduction from the airport’s baseline water usage.
Stage 2 of the project received the Envision Gold Award. This award was presented by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and evaluated the project’s performance across 60 sustainability criteria addressing a wide range of indicators including: community, quality of life, management, planning, materials, energy, water, environmental impacts, emissions, and resilience.
The $745 million project was paid for with Rental Car Customer Facility Charges and airline Passenger Facility Charges. No tax dollars were used.
For more information, visit skyharbor.com/PHXSkyTrain.