Streetcar video tour: Ride the entire route in 3 minutes
Set to the strains of "Old Pueblo Ska," here's a tour of the entire route of the Sun Link streetcar. Sped up almost 20 times normal speed, the hour-long complete circuit takes just under three minutes in this video.
Rolando Balance, a Sun Link operator, handled the throttle of the streetcar during the run Thursday through post rush-hour traffic Downtown. He's one of 18 operators who've trained for months for Friday's public opening. All eight of Tucson's new streetcar fleet will be riding the rails Friday as the city will provide free rides through the weekend.
While the streetcars were tested at about 50 mph on the 4th Avenue tracks, the normal rate for the electric vehicles is about 20-25 mph, Balance said. To ease the flow of traffic, some streetlights Downtown have additional signals to allow streetcars to pass while red lights show in four directions.
The $197 million line runs 3.9 miles, from the University of Arizona Medical Center, down 4 Avenue and through Downtown to the Mercado District on the West Side.
Music by the late, great Tucson band Dave's Big Deluxe.