High-speed testing for modern streetcar starts on University Bou - Tucson News Now

High-speed testing for modern streetcar starts on University Boulevard

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

This week will see University Boulevard become a high-speed test track for the Tucson Modern Streetcar.

"It's great to see it out on the street and moving along, running at full speed getting good brake rates.  So, it's really reassuring and positive after all we went through to build this vehicle," said David Gibson, project manager for the streetcar.

The streetcar will travel at speeds up to 42 miles per hour during the testing, which is faster than its daily operating speeds among city traffic.  But Gibson said that the streetcar must be tested at its maximum operating speed.  It has three braking systems: disc brakes, a magnetic brake, and regenerative braking, which can be compared to a truck using its engine brake.

The testing runs from Sunday to possibly Thursday.  No parking is allowed on University Boulevard from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., and no traffic is allowed after 8 p.m.  Some residents along University considered the closures, after months of construction, to be another test for them.

"It's been very tough.  I lost the use of my street and my driveway for over six months. And when you live here on University you have to pay 100 dollars a year just do park in front of your own house," said University Boulevard resident Joe Mikelaitis.

Streetcar testers remind drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians that the streetcar can still be tested at any time and in any place of the track, and that they should become accustomed to looking for the streetcar.  The overhead lines will constantly be energized.

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