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Some Downtown streets to close for Sun Link celebrations

City officials will close some streets and restrict traffic on others overnight Thursday and into Friday as festivities Downtown mark the opening of the Sun Link streetcar.

The much-delayed public transportation system will offer free rides beginning Friday morning and throughout the weekend.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are planned at several streetcar stops.

The Tucson Police Department released details on the closures Tuesday evening, and city officials put out an update on road closure plans Wednesday morning.

Thursday — Closures at 6:30 p.m.

  • Congress between 4th and 5th avenues (Right lane closed Thursday night. Left lane open until Friday morning.)
  • 5th Avenue between Broadway and Toole Avenue

Friday - Close remaining lanes at 5 a.m.

  • Congress will be closed between Toole Avenue and South 5th Avenue.
  • Toole will be one-way westbound between 4th Avenue and Pennington Street.

All lanes are expected to be reopened by noon on Friday, officials said.

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7
1760 comments
Jul 24, 2014, 9:06 am
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...continued

Anyone who talks about project overruns and increases cost estimates have never managed a project of this scale or complexity.

Don’t try to make this exclusive to the choo choo train. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one recent public works project managed by the COT that hasn’t been both late and over budget. Can you?

I do know people who have left Tucson for better jobs and I know people who have moved here for better jobs – that has nothing to do with the street car.

Again, choo choo train symptom of the same problem. And, people moving here for a better job? Where do these people work? Seriously, I’d really like to know this one. I’ll send them a resume.

Here is some info on freeway constructions costs through urban areas: In 1994 it cost Los Angeles 17.7 Million per mile of freeway. In 1996, it cost New York $333 Million per mile of Freeway.
Source:
[url=http://www-pam.usc.edu/volume2/v2i1a3s2.html ]http://www-pam.usc.edu/volume2/v2i1a3s2.html
[/url]

6
1760 comments
Jul 24, 2014, 9:04 am
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...continued

The long term plan is to reduce the amount of traffic going through downtown and that is why they are connecting Aviation to 6th street. Once that connection is completed, the amount of through traffic on the street car route will be reduced and Street Car right away can be considered.  I agree however that future Street Car expansion should consider intersection right away.

I’ve been hearing promises since the 80’s that Aviation would connect to either 6th street, or I-10 like it really should. There was footdragging and footdragging and footdragging, then that idea was finally killed because a handful of whiny idiots thought that warehouses had historical value. Historical value in warehouses. What great event happened there? People stored stuff. Yeah, real historic. (rolls eyes)

I may have said this before, but after the honeymoon period, the only people riding the streetcar will be the people who were taking the bus. This is appropriate because all the streetcar is is a bus on tracks, anyway. People wanting to visit downtown will end up driving their car downtown to ride the streetcar, anyway. So, ultimately, this streetcar will end up removing a grand total of zero cars from the road.

I want to address your 4th, 5th, and 6th paragraph. Although your concerns are valid, your insistence on referring to it as a “Choo Choo Train” and your overall pessimistic attitude towards the process and Tucson in general really gets to the heart of your argument. You believe that Tucson is already lost and we should give up. It doesn’t really matter what solution would have been developed, you would have found a way to tie it back to the Rio Nuevo and there for dismiss it. Government mismanagement is hardly a uniquely Tucson activity but it is something we need to combat.  However, I would not include the Street Car in that category.

The streetcar, the Rio Nuevo theft and subsequent lack of consequences, Tucson Electric Park, all symptoms of the same problem: incompetent and/or corrupt leadership. Pessimistic? You bet I am. I have repeatedly said that Tucson has the potential to be one of America’s greatest cities, but the first obstacle we need to overcome to get there is we need better leaders. We’re never going to get that until we make the electorate understand that elections have consequences. What’s the definition of insanity? Voting in the same people over and over again and expecting them to do something different. As long as voters are basing their votes on skin color, or leaving an incompetent in an office because they hate a paradigm of what Republicans are, we’re never going to move forward here. So, yes, as long as the current leadership stays in place this town is a lost cause. You want to combat corruption and incompetence in government? You do it at the polling place. This town just doesn’t seem to get that.

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5
1760 comments
Jul 24, 2014, 9:02 am
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Well, I typed out this huge response yesterday, addressing every one of your points. Then I clicked submit, was then told that my response exceeded the 3000 character limit, hit back on my browser, and then what I painstakingly typed was all gone. Dylan, you have GOT to fix that. But, after an overnight cooling-off period, I am ready to try this again.

dsmith25 wrote:

@Bret Linden
The Phoenix model would have cost a great deal more (increasing the cost per citizen argument in your first comment) and is not really needed on the current route. Stopping at lights is similar to the way Portland’s Street Car functions currently.

First off, if we absolutely have to do this anyway, we should do it right. We’re already paying close to $200m for what really should be a $50 million job, what’s another few bucks to get it done right. Yeah, that’s right…I don’t buy for one minute that this project is really worth anywhere near what we paid for it. Some tracks, some wires, and a handful of cars and a hanger for them, $200m? Please…

And, why in the world have we been looking to Portland as a role model? We should be looking to Albuquerque if we want a model how to do things. Their population is roughly equal to ours, and they’re also in this region. They started their downtown revitalization effort right around the same time we did, the late 90’s. Theirs was complete several years earlier, was done without the theft of $230m, and to the best of my knowledge doesn’t include a streetcar. I have friends who live in Albuquerque (formerly of Tucson, but they left because there are almost no jobs here). They tell me that their downtown is thriving.

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com