Currently, the City of Tempe’s portion of the Grand Canal (located just north of the 202, east of Priest Drive) is separated from other off-street pathways in the area including the Rio Salado Path System, Crosscut Canal and Phoenix’s portion of the Grand Canal. The city is kicking off two projects that will begin to address the gaps in the off-street path network in this area.
Grand Canal Phase I (Design & Construction): This project will design and construct a concrete multi-use path with lighting and landscaping extending to Tempe's border with the city of Phoenix. This project will provide for a continuous off-street pathway that was originally envisioned through the Multi-Use Path System Detailed Plan (2000) and was also identified in the Tempe Transportation Master Plan.
In 2015, the Grand Canal was re-aligned as part of The Grand at Papago Park Center development, which provided for a multi-use path that connects to an existing multi-use path at Washington Street to the east and stops just east of Priest Drive on the west side of the development.
Grand Canal Phase II (Preliminary Design): This project will produce preliminary design concepts and report for the feasibility of a connection between the Grand Canal and the Rio Salado North Bank paths. (However, the final design and construction for this project are unfunded.) The proposed grade-separated project is located between the Tempe Town Lake/Rio Salado North Bank Multi-use Path and Washington Street along Center Parkway over SR-202.
Although the Rio Salado North Bank and Grand Canal paths are less than a quarter mile apart, they are separated by the 202 which is a barrier for continuous off-street travel in the region. The study will look at options that use grade separation to connect the paths. The proposed project would include public art, lighting and rest nodes with amenities.
Once built, people will be able to use the Grand Canal, Rio Salado Path and Indian Bend Wash paths for direct, continuous off-street travel into Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. The path will allow for better access to employment, entertainment and educational locations.