By Lauren Griffin
Grand Canalscape and partner Arizona Forward were pleased to announce the project received 10.3 million dollars in federal grant money at the end of October. The Tiger VII grant is given to transportation and commuting related projects and will be applied to the next phase of the expansion venture of the Grand Canal from central Phoenix throughout the valley. Due to start in 2016, Phase 2 will include work in the east valley and has a projected completion date of fall 2019. An eight-mile trail will be added spanning from the I-17 to the border of Tempe. One goal of this initiative is to promote public transportation, biking, and walking to destinations. To make that goal a reality, pedestrian and bike crossings, bridges, lighting, bus/light rail connections, landscaping, and integrated artwork will be added to increase the ease and quality of transportation.
SRP, the City of Phoenix, and ASU’s sustainability program have also played large roles in the partnership with Canalscape and Arizona Forward. They have taken part in sponsorships and/or community engagement with the project. The hope is to involve local students in an art aspect of the canal and encourage public feedback.
Phase 1 is still on its way to completion and should be finished next fall. Phase 3, addressing the west valley, will be tackled after Phase 2 is complete.
On November 17, a community-involved canal cleanup will take place. In December there will be another opportunity for engagement during a public meeting.
Visit arizonaforward.org/committees/92/ for more information about project specifics.