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Valley Metro's 'Safe Place' Expands to New Stations

Valley Metro in Phoenix expanded its “Safe Place” program for at-risk teens with the opening of its light rail Northwest Extension on March 19 by adding the three new stations on the extension to those already covered by the program, bringing the total number to 35.

The Safe Place program designates places—such as light rail stations—where teenagers who are homeless, have left their homes or have been forced to leave can get help 24 hours a day. The new line opened during National Safe Place Week, an effort to raise awareness about issues that affect youth.

“Every person, especially our youth, has a right to feel safe,” said Scott Smith, Valley Metro interim chief executive officer. “Incorporating Safe Place into our communities served by ­Valley Metro Rail aligns perfectly with our strategy and focus on safety.”

Valley Metro’s partnership with Safe Place and the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, a nonprofit that assists homeless, runaway and other young people in need in Maricopa County, AZ, began in 2013.

More than 2,100 riders traveled on opening day on the new 3.2-mile line, which runs on 19th Avenue in north Phoenix. The day’s activities included a “World’s Fair”-inspired community expo featuring live entertainment and distribution of free, commemorative ­transit passes.

“Working closely with partners such as the city of Phoenix, we are building a transportation network that enhances our region’s quality of life and increases our ability to compete with other metro areas around the world,” Smith said. “What an exciting day for Phoenix and our region as we expand to connect more of the valley and continue on our path of building a 66-mile high-capacity light rail system over the next two decades.”

Local officials and community members including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, top row far left, and Valley Metro Interim CEO Scott Smith, top row far right, commemorate the departure of the first official train from the 19th Avenue/Dunlap Station with signs reading “We Are 19th Ave.”

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