Stage 2 of the 2.5-mile extension to the PHX Sky Train, linking Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the Rental Car Center, has opened.

It will now take under eight minutes to travel from Terminal 4 to the Rental Car Center, and about 13 minutes to ride the entire five miles from the 44th Street Station to the new Rental Car Center Station. Trains arrive and depart every three to five minutes, 24 hours a day.

In addition to the new Rental Car Center Station, a new station was added at 24th Street and Buckeye Road – the 24th Street Station. This provides an option for travellers arriving from the West Valley and downtown Phoenix. Roadway improvements mean that drivers will find improved access to and from nearby freeways.

The new 24th Street Express Pay Parking, with 1,600 economy parking spaces, will open just to the south of the station, also providing easy access to the terminals and another option for those travellers entering the airport from the West. The parking area will feature a number of electric vehicle-charging stations.

Both stations feature beautiful artist-designed terrazzo floors. The design of the Rental Car Center PHX Sky Train Station terrazzo floor, From the Earth to the Sky by local artist Bill Dambrova. At the 24th Street Station, local artist Frank Gonzales has created a design called Sonoran Essence. The design spans more than 8,000ft2 and magnifies small details within the native Sonoran desert, including native plants. The Rental Car Center Station also features a piece called Sky Curtain which was inspired by the changing colours of the Phoenix sky. The artist team of R&R Studios designed two sculptural weather screens which include layers of colourful pipes that reveal different colours as passengers walk along the platform.

Additional benefits of the project include improved accessibility, in particular for customers using wheelchairs. The project also helps to reduce traffic on Sky Harbor Boulevard, easing transit to and from the terminals.


Behind the scenes
Other project improvements include enhancements to the PHX Sky Train’s maintenance and support facility. The size of the facility was doubled, and the project saw an additional 30,000ft2 created for storage, an automated vehicle wash and storage tracks. Additionally, 24 cars were added to the existing 18 vehicles. With the opening of this final stage, the trains will run in a three-car format compared to the two-car format they have previously been running. Each train car accommodates up to 53 passengers. It’s estimated that future ridership could reach 79,000 people daily, which would include both Rental Car Center customers, those who park at the 24th Street Station and those who are picked up or dropped off there.

Sustainability features on the project include diverting 76% of on-site construction waste from landfills; using 23% of building materials manufactured from recycled materials; using high-efficiency air handlers and chillers to help reduce energy consumption in the station by 30%; and using efficient plumbing fixtures to achieve a 43% reduction from the airport’s baseline water usage. 

The $745m project was paid for with Rental Car Customer facility charges and airline passenger facility charges. No tax dollars were used, the airport authority stressed.

Image: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport