The last track: Major streetcar construction complete
Simone Del Rosario
The final rail in the 3.9-mile streetcar track has been welded. But what's more efficient: Riding or driving? We put it to the test.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sparks flew as the final rail was welded on the downtown streetcar's 3.9-mile track.
The crowd cheered, but not everyone is excited.
"A lot of people who are on the avenue, who frequent the avenue a lot, look at it as more of a nuisance," Moises Orozco said.
The streetcar construction has been tearing up downtown for more than a year. But now, with the major groundwork complete, people are beginning to look past the cones and detours and toward the final product; and whether it will pay off.
"I know it's been difficult for some of the businesses during this construction time, but I think the payback is going to be enormous," Roger Pfeuffer said.
"It's like making an airport from Tucson to Marana," Orozco said. "I don't know if it's going to bring in the revenue that they want or if it's going to have the effect that they wanted."
The desired effect is for people to ride instead of drive. The track starts west of the interstate and goes through downtown, Fourth Avenue and the university.
The trip has 18 stops and the estimated travel time from beginning to end is 30 minutes.
Behind the wheel, Nine On Your Side tested the travel time by car. With traffic, construction, red lights and pedestrians, the trip clocks in at 17 minutes.
But some say the streetcar is about more than just getting from Point A to Point B.
"The city can develop into a more pedestrian, alternative mode of transportation city than it is right now. Right now, it's saddled with a car," Pfeuffer said.
Drive or ride: Ultimately the choice will be yours. But Tucson is closer than ever to having that option.