Though the city of Tucson is moderate-sized, our community is spread out. If you don’t have a car in this town, you are really lost. Biking and the public bus system can only go so far. That is why the arrival of our new Sunlink Tucson Streetcar (aka “The Tucson Modern Streetcar”) is such a big deal.
The streetcar only covers a 4 mile radius, but check out these benefits that are listed on the website:
- 500 construction jobs created
- 1500 + new housing units
- 50+ new restaurants, bars & cafes along the route
- $63 million+ in streetcar federal funds
- $800 million invested from the private sector to-date along the route
- 8 “Made in America” streetcar vehicles
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- 100,000 people live and work within a half mile of the route.
- Sun Link will improve transit service, adding service frequency, hours and capacity.
- Sun Link will be integrated with Sun Tran bus route and the UA’s Cat Tran system.
- The Sun Link-Sun Tran system will have one easy to use, card swipe fare system.
- Sun Link is part of a regional plan that includes new bike lanes and paths, sidewalks and greenways.
- All-electric streetcar vehicles help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Approximately 148 passengers per vehicle.
- Riding Sun Link will reduce trips by bus and personal vehicle, thus reducing congestion and pollution.
All of this for 4 miles of public transportation. That’s amazing!
Last night, my family joined the thousands of people who wanted to ride the streetcar on opening weekend. It was jam packed! In fact, it was so crowded that an overflow city bus had to be sent for us at the end of the evening. It will be interesting to see when the excitement wears off how many people actually use the street car on a regular basis.
For sure students will use it, as the streetcar directly connects the University of Arizona campus with Tucson’s downtown. The hope that our downtown area will become a thriving booming center of activity as it should be and as it has lacked for as long as I can remember. You can already see the downtown’s revitalization beginning to take shape, and it is exciting! Tucson is getting up to speed with the rest of the world, and it feels great!
My song for the streetcar is one of my favorite public transit songs. Perhaps we have a long way to go to be anywhere compared to Paris’s “Metro” system, but this weekend, Tucson took its first baby step. So my song of the day is from the 80’s – Berlin’s “Metro” is so much fun….a perfect song for Tucson’s newest addition.