$32 million in federal funds headed to downtown Flagstaff

$32 million in federal funds headed to downtown Flagstaff

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  • September 22, 2022
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The Flagstaff Visitor Center is housed in the historic Amtrak train station downtown. It's a good first stop for visitors looking for information about the city.

Major changes are coming to a busy stretch of downtown Flagstaff thanks to $32.4 million in new federal funding for a collection of transportation improvements known as the Downtown Mile project. 

The project features numerous safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists, including the construction of a pedestrian bridge at Rio de Flag, pedestrian underpasses at Milton Road and connecting South Florence and South Walnut streets, and the installation of gates at the Beaver Street and San Francisco Street railway crossings.

The changes will also include track realignment on a railway that sees between 70 and 100 trains a day and will allow for the future expansion of Milton Road from four to six lanes. 

With only one underpass currently located at a high-traffic curve along Route 66, many pedestrians and bicyclists opt to cross the street elsewhere, often in places that could be even more dangerous. 

“There is very active trespassing over the rail corridor which is a very unsafe situation,” said Christine Cameron, a senior project manager with the city. “So these new underpasses will remove that conflict, provide encouragement to move people toward multimodal travel, keep people safe and make it much more fun and exciting to get wherever they want to in Flagstaff’s downtown.” 

Flagstaff is one of 26 communities nationwide that have so far received funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Flagstaff had to prove these projects met federal guidelines related to safety, multimodal travel and climate action, Cameron said. 

The federal funds will be supplemented by $15 million from the city and another $11 million from Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway, the company that owns the rail infrastructure that runs through Flagstaff. The project is expected to cost nearly $58 million.

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