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Mountain Line shares site plans for downtown connection center
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MOUNTAIN LINE

Mountain Line shares site plans for downtown connection center

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Downtown connection center

The Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA) released more details on the proposed redevelopment of the Mountain Line Downtown Connection Center. 

Mountain Line hosted a series of public information sessions last week to share updated site plans and ask the public for feedback on the project set for construction in 2022.

“The Downtown Connection Center is a major capital project for Mountain Line that we are excited to deliver for this community,” project manager Kate Morely said. “We have the vision of creating a public space that is welcome, open and elevates the transit experience in Flagstaff.”

The project plans to improve the current site of Mountain Line’s connection center, which consists of limited bus platforms and is located on Milton Road and Beaver Street.

While the current connection center offers a central location with a “good proximity to rider origins and destinations,” the transit service said it has since outgrown the facility that has operated since 2008.

Mountain Line then and now

Since the current facility was built that year, ridership has increased 150% and the number of buses accessing the facility daily has increased by 125%, according to Mountain Line.

The vision for the new connection center is to create a hub for multimodal transportation that accommodates future expansion of local and regional transportation services, according to the presentation.

To see those goals accomplished the new connection center will add an administrative building for Mountain Line as well as expand the current bus bays to accommodate growth in transit. Basic necessities such as restrooms and space for operations and dispatch services are included in the plans for the building. 

Also included in the development is a planned civic space for community use, featuring proposed outdoor seating and an elevated stage for events. Other amenities will include an indoor waiting area, a place to purchase bus passes, customer service, and separated sidewalks and bikeways.

Morley said the development will take a phased approach in coordination with city officials to see that the Rio de Flag flood control project that coexists on the land parcel is not interfered with. 

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Morley said the planned site of the administrative building, located to the west of the current connection center, is out of the way of the Rio de Flag and can be implemented right away. The rest of the project will need to match the pace of the flood control development.

“We’ll get the building done as soon as we can, and then we’ll work on the bus bays and the civic space area which we are really referring to as phase two,” Morley said. 

The third phase of the development is a parking structure the City of Flagstaff has proposed above the east end of the site, accessible to the public by an access ramp along Beaver Street. Morely said the project’s design will accommodate the future parking addition for which the city would be responsible.

DCC site plan

Mountain Line currently operates the connection center on the city-owned land parcel as part of an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Flagstaff. 

NAIPTA is working with infrastructure consulting firm AECOM on the development of the project. Staff are currently seeking public feedback through a survey on the city’s website that will run until Wednesday. 

Mountain Line recently received a $17.3 million grant from the Federal Transportation Authority to support a transition to an electric bus fleet. Of that funding, $15.6 million was dedicated to the construction of the downtown connection center.

AECOM project manager Jennifer Love presented the latest concepts for the redevelopment last week, giving the public an early look at the design for the public space and building architecture.

The building design is focused on matching the existing aesthetic of Flagstaff and the surrounding southside neighborhood, Love said. The planned sandstone and metal architecture features a large lobby, community rooms, a breakroom for transit operators and office space on the second story.

“We are trying to create a warm, open and inviting environment,” Love said.

Love said incorporating sustainability into the site plan was another goal, as-seen in the angled roof that leaves room for the installation of solar panels and the low water-usage landscaping.

When drafting concepts for the civic space, Love said designers looked to provide usage flexibility, such as  access to electricity and power needed for events. She said the space “should serve both the daily travelers and community” and will include flexible seating options.

Jana Weldon, City of Flagstaff Beautification, Arts and Sciences Project Administrator, said there are five public art installations planned for the site, including a crosswalk mural on Phoenix Avenue and bench designs based on Flagstaff’s historical lumber industry.

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