Aug 30, 2023 - Development

Phoenix breaks ground on project to make Grand Canal grander in Maryvale

Council member Betty Guardado speaks at the Phase 3 groundbreaking at 63rd and Clarendon avenues. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

City officials, neighborhood leaders and others gathered Tuesday for the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 3 of Phoenix's Grand Canalscape project, which will improve the waterway in the Maryvale area.

Driving the news: The third phase will cover the Grand Canal from 47th Avenue just north of Osborn Road to 75th Avenue and Camelback Road, at the boundary of Glendale.

  • Pedestrian and bicycle paths, trees, lighting, public art and fitness areas will be added to the north side of the canal, with a new pedestrian bridge at 63rd Avenue and HAWK crossing signals at major streets along the way.
  • SRP, which manages the canal, will continue using the south side for maintenance.

What to watch: The project is expected to be completed sometime next year.

  • The first segment of the project will be between 75th and 67th avenues.

Why it matters: Phoenix City Council member Betty Guardado, who represents the area, said voters often told her during her 2019 campaign that they wanted such enhancements and to "put Maryvale back on the map."

  • Guardado championed Phase 3 through Maryvale after attending the ribbon-cutting for the previous phase at Central Avenue and the Grand Canal in 2020.
  • The project shows residents the city "is finally investing and that they have a place that they can gather."
  • "They see a lot of these things on the east side of the Valley and they don't see much of these resources on the west side. And that's been one of my commitments," Guardado told us Tuesday morning after the groundbreaking ceremony.

Zoom in: Phase 3 will create a walkable area l providing access to Maryvale High School, American Family Fields

  • Paths and lighting will help people feel safe as they walk, jog and bike through the area along the canal at night, Guardado told us.

Between the lines: Neighborhood leader Sandra Oviedo, who worked with Guardado on the project, said she's looking forward to the area becoming more walkable, and hopes it will encourage people to visit from other parts of the Valley.

  • "It will bring the community more together," said 19-year-old Iris Oviedo, Sandra's daughter.
  • Phoenix Fire Department Station 25 is just north of the canal on 63rd Avenue, near the site of the future pedestrian bridge, and spokesperson Capt. Kim Quick tells Axios Phoenix the firefighters see firsthand the need for the improvements.
  • "They're excited about it because it gives the community a healthier aspect of getting out, getting in shape and having a safe place to do it," she says.

The big picture: Once Phase 3 is completed, the canal will be walkable from 47th Avenue to State Farm Stadium and Loop 101 because of Glendale's Grand Canal Linear Park.

  • On the eastern side of Interstate 17, which the canal goes under, the Grand Canal is walkable and bikeable to Tempe Town Lake.

Jeremy's thought bubble: I enjoy bicycling along the improved area of the Grand Canal between 19th Avenue and Tempe. It makes our otherwise car-centric city navigable by foot and bicycle.


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