The ARS study area is located in south-central Phoenix, approximately a quarter mile north and south of existing Broadway Road between 67th Avenue and Seventh Street. The study area extends from the proposed State Route SR 801 (SR 30) traffic interchange at 67th Avenue to a quarter mile east of Seventh Street. The overall length of the corridor is approximately eight miles.
The goals of the ARS study include:
- Connecting to the proposed SR 801 (SR 30) to provide improved west–east options for traveling between the southwestern metropolitan area and downtown Phoenix
- Providing an additional crossing over the Salt River to improve local traffic circulation
After consultation with the community and adjacent business owners, more specific project goals have been identified. These include:
- Minimizing impacts to the local residential and business communities
- Minimizing impacts to historic properties
- Improving access and circulation to existing commercial and industrial areas
- Enhancing access to the downtown area to promote economic development and growth
Providing opportunities for community cohesion and neighborhood continuity.
Study Purpose and Need
Phoenix has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. With a 2010 population of more than 1.5 million people, Phoenix serves as the centerpiece for almost 4 million individuals in the metropolitan area. By the year 2030, Phoenix’s population is projected to exceed 2 million people.
As the southwest Valley continues to develop, the number of vehicles will exceed the capacity of current east–west streets south of the Salt River. In anticipation of this increase in traffic congestion, the city of Phoenix, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), began the Avenida Rio Salado/Broadway Road (ARS) study to identify potential alternatives for increasing the capacity of Broadway Road and determine any potential environmental impacts.
Representative Pastor Secures Funding for Improvements
In 2005 with the help of Congressman Ed Pastor, federal funds were obtained to study and begin design of the Rio Salado Parkway, now renamed Avenida Rio Salado/Broadway Road, to connect the South Mountain freeway to Seventh Street in downtown Phoenix. The roadway is a critical part of providing better access from the Southwest Valley to downtown Phoenix.
The ARS project was included in the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan approved by the Maricopa County voters in November 2004.
Since fall 2007, the project team has completed a traffic analysis that determined the proposed number of thru- and turning-lanes necessary to reduce traffic congestion and improve operations. In addition, the team has conducted a series of technical studies including land use, socioeconomics, cultural resources, air quality, traffic noise, utilities, biological resources, visual resources, drainage, water resources, cumulative impacts and hazardous materials to determine any potential impacts from extending and widening Broadway Road.
Public meetings were held on Nov.15, 2007 and Sept.17, 2008 to obtain public comment. The questions and comments submitted through the public involvement process have been addressed in a Draft Environmental Assessment.
In the fall 2010, the project team conducted on-site surveys with property owners and business managers regarding the historical elements possibly associated properties along Broadway Road. A majority of the businesses interviewed had been in business at that location for less than 10 years.
Project concerns identified by the stakeholders and public include:
- Do not include a center island/median for this project. Many of the businesses have deliveries from larger trucks that have big turning radii that would not be able to make the necessary turns without a center lane, which to turn left
- Parking in front of our property along Broadway Road. Businesses are using the right-of-way for customer parking.
- The removal of the right-of-way for the project may reduce the amount of useable space for the business properties
- Potential impact to Rio Salado, Rio Salado Oeste and/or pedestrian and vehicle access to the restoration sites
The project team has completed the Draft EA based on the technical studies and public comments received since the project began in spring 2007. The Draft EA has been reviewed by local, state, and federal agencies and is ready for public review.
Residents and business and property owners have been involved throughout the study. The timeline below documents the meetings and input opportunities.
Avenida Rio Salado
The city of Phoenix made the decision, in cooperation with FHWA and ADOT, to study improving Broadway Road from 67th Avenue on the west to Seventh Street on the east.
With input from the public, four build alternatives and a No-Build Alternative were identified for improvements on the Broadway Road alignment. Proposed improvements would be constructed within the existing right-of-way where feasible; however, acquisition of new right-of-way in various locations within the study area would still be necessary to accommodate additional roadway width.
The four build alternatives have the following primary elements:
- Extending Broadway Road – Western Segment
(67th to 43rd avenues)
- Widening Broadway Road – Central Segment
(43rd to 17th avenues)
- Constructing intersection improvements – Eastern Segment
(17th Avenue to 7th Street)
- Accommodating future connections to the proposed SR 801 (SR 30) and SR 202L
- Installing new traffic signals and street lighting
- Adding and reconstructing bus bays
- Adding ADA accessible sidewalks and ramps at each intersection
The four build alternatives include:
- Alternative A – Symmetrically Widening
Widen Broadway Road approximately 37 feet on both sides of the existing road
- Alternative B – Widen to the North
Widen Broadway Road approximately 60 feet on the northern side and 17 feet on the southern side of the existing road
- Alternative C – Widen to the South
Widen Broadway Road approximately 25 on the northern side and 63 feet on the southern side of the existing road
- Alternative D – Combined Alignmen
Optimize the widening on Broadway Road to select components of design from Alternatives A, B, and C that would reduce impacts to adjacent properties
The build alternatives were evaluated through a screening process that evaluated each alternative on its environmental and engineering merit and on its ability to meet the specific project study goals. Three of these alternatives (A-C) were eliminated from further consideration because of social, economic, and environmental impacts, and because of engineering limitations such as sight distances, geometry, and roadway profile.
Based on technical studies and public comment, Alternative D has been chosen as the preferred alternative.
This alternative includes a new section of Broadway Road which would be constructed from 67th to 43rd avenues. Beginning at 67th Avenue, the eastbound on-ramp and the westbound off-ramp of the proposed SR 801 (SR 30)/67th Avenue traffic interchange would be constructed. Broadway Road would cross from north to south over the Salt River just east of 59th Avenue and continue along the south side of the river to 43rd Avenue.
In general, from 43rd to 17th avenues, Broadway Road would become a six-lane roadway with a raised median by widening symmetrically, to the north or to the south side of the road to optimize the alignment and minimize impacts to the adjacent properties.
From 17th Avenue to Seventh Street, the curb returns at all major and some minor intersections would be rebuilt to meet current city of Phoenix standards. At Central Avenue, Broadway Road would be widened on the south side to eliminate the existing lane reduction.