Light rail milestone: 3 more miles open in north Phoenix

Valley Metro marks another milestone as three more miles of light rail are now set to open in north Phoenix. The new stretch now brings he light rail almost all the way to the Metrocenter mall.

On March 19th, the newest stretch of the light rail will be up and running -- ending nearly three years of construction.

"I think you are going to see a significant revitalization of the 19th Avenue corridor," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. "As light rail has done throughout the city, the economic development inevitably follows where the station opens."

In other parts of the city, investment has poured in. According to Valley Metro, more than $8 billion has been invested in the project along the light rail since construction began about 10 years ago. For the businesses who've endured years of construction, the end can't come soon enough.

"We struggled a little bit, but it wasn't too bad," said Las Gloria Grill owner Carmen Gonzales. The restaurant is located right across from the soon-to-open 19th Avenue and Northern station.

"It is going to be more people,more business," she said.

Valley Metro made a major effort to keep afloat during construction, but many saw a significant decline in business.

"It has been kind of hard. It was rough, but it's getting better. now that the roads are paved, it makes it a lot easier too," said Carol Madaio, who has worked at Hobby Bench at 19th Avenue and Northern for more than 35 years.

The store has loyal customers who regularly braved the construction, but will the light rail bring a boost in business?

"I guess in a better year's time, we will be able to tell. Give it about a year and see what happens," she said.

While announcing the opening on Thursday, the city made a point to thank the businesses along the light rail line.

Through March 19th, Valley Metro will be testing the system.