Tucson — Streetcar project continues moving forward

Simulation of Tucson streetcar line. [Graphic: Regional Transportation Authority]

Tucson, Arizona — This medium-size city’s electric streetcar project continues to advance, according to a Jan. 14th report in the Arizona Daily Star.

While there’s still a lot of work to do, what’s left should be a whole lot less disruptive to traffic, businesses and neighborhoods, according to project manager Jesse Gutierrez.

Like all such projects using urban streets, Tucson’s streetcar construction has grappled with relatively ancient underground utilities, such as 100-year-old pipes in bad condition, as well as newer obstacles such as fiber optic cables. Nevertheless, according to Gutierrez and Tucson Transportation Director Daryl Cole, the construction schedule has been accelerated on some streets, including those near the Tucson Convention Center, to get heavy work finished before major events at the center coming in the next few weeks.

The article reports that most of the rail infrastructure is now in place. “There’s rail on the streets on the University of Arizona campus, University Boulevard, Fourth Avenue, parts of Congress Street and Granada Avenue.”

For more, read the article

[Streetcar simulation: Regional Transportation Authority]


Streetcar planned for another Washington, DC suburb

Inekon Trio streetcar for Washington’s new line.

The Washington, DC area already has streetcar plans — a line on H Street in the central city and along Columbia Pike connecting the Virginia suburbs of Arlington and Fairfax — and now there’s another suburban line on the planning table. According to a December 30th report in the Washington Post, “Arlington County is planning a 2.5-mile-long streetcar line along the Route 1 corridor between Crystal City and the Alexandria city limits.”

Serving what currently is “a high-rise, car-centric area” according to the article, the line is intended by planners to “help to create a walkable neighborhood with street-level retail, dense housing and offices.”

It’s all part of a nascent regional network of light-rail projects, which combined with existing Metrorail, VRE commuter rail, buses, car- and bicycle-sharing and pedestrian-friendly paths, would remake the urban landscape into distinctive destinations.

With an investment cost currently estimated at $146 million, the project would apparently be financed from a special commercial real estate tax plus tax increment financing (which would rely on future increases in real estate value to help fund for infrastructure improvements such as rail transit).

For more on this, see the original article.

Simulation of streetcar in street.