At 2 years old, where Tucson streetcar has been and is headed

At 2 years old, where Tucson streetcar has been and is headed

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Sun Link, the Tucson streetcar, has logged some two million boardings, according to a city of Tucson spokesman.

When the University of Arizona is in session, that is about 4,000 riders a day. The spokesman said 60 percent of riders are UA students.

"I'm planning on going to the U of A and I think the streetcar is a really excellent way of transportation . I'm all for eco-friendly options," said Marana resident Kelsey Roddy.

"We've gone to Fourth Avenue and we've gone clear to the end of the line, had dinner, worked our way back through downtown. So it's a lot of fun," said Tucsonan Toni Matison.
City leaders said new downtown construction is happening thanks to the streetcar. That includes the first hotel to be built downtown in 40 years, an AC Marriott.

There are plans for another hotel, housing and a bus transit center to go in where the Ronstadt Transit Center at Congress and Sixth Avenue now stands.

Businesses along the route that endured and survived the streetcar construction and rising rents believe Sun Link has helped some of them, but they're hoping the new construction will boost their bottom lines even more.

"We've already gone through the pain of building it, but now I can see only positive things," said Steven Pike of A Perfect Pantry.  "It helps. The addition of Johnny Gibson's Market helps. I think when the hotel opens up, it'll help,"

"I think that it'll get more people down here and hopefully we'll get more business," said Juan Madrid of the Iguana Cafe.

Some also believe that the streetcar route should be expanded way beyond downtown and the university area in order to bring in customers from other parts of Tucson.

"I would like to see the streetcar expanded, definitely out to outer lying areas. What we need now to sustain us and to bring future business is clients from outer lying areas," said Hydra owner Margo Susco. "We need to bring people from Marana, Oro Valley, the east side, the northwest side. We need to bring them down here and because many of they are still afraid to park, the streetcar would be the perfect solution for that."  

The city spokesman said Tucson wants to study expansion, taking a look at what the preferred route would be.

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