Commuters crowding the aisles of the Park-N-Ride transit center at the corner of Pecos Road and 40th Street will find ample room for their cars this summer when an expansion adding 350 covered parking spaces is completed.
The lot, with a present capacity of 560 spaces, is the busiest of five in the Phoenix Park-N-Ride system, according to Debbie Cotton, director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department, and allows commuters living in or near Ahwatukee Foothills to park their cars and take a non-stop shuttle service to downtown Phoenix.
At a dedication ceremony Jan. 29, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the project benefits both local commuters and the workers the project employs.
“This is about families,” Gordon said. “This project has saved or created 200 jobs, both blue collar and white collar.”
The expansion will cost an estimated $3 million and is funded by the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act, the federal stimulus package enacted in February 2009.
Melissa Donati, 29, says she’s noticed the lot’s capacity can be tested during peak commuter hours and so she welcomes the expansion.
“It does get crowded, especially in the evening,” she said. “People pull up on the curbs so it will be nice to have the extra spaces.”
Donati, an employee at Wells Fargo, says she’ll continue to use the service in the meantime because of its many advantages.
“It’s cheaper than parking downtown,” she said. “It’s efficient, comfortable, and the bus drivers are personable.”
Commuters can expect to pay $3.50 for round-trip service with RAPID buses leaving for downtown Phoenix beginning at 5:10 a.m. and returning to Ahwatukee Foothills between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Debbie Hall, 45, also praised the transit system’s effectiveness.
“I love it,” she said. “I can snooze; I can read; I can do work.”
Hall, an IT manager at the County Attorney’s Office, commutes five days a week and says on certain days the lot can be overcrowded. The expansion, she said, is necessary.
“You sometimes have to park in dangerous spaces when the lot is full so it’s long overdue. My only complaint is that there needs to be more buses because they’re crowded as it is, and people have to stand.”
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Robert Oppermann is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a senior at Michigan State University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.