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|Locale||Tucson, Arizona, United States|
|Termini||Arizona Health Sciences Center
|Stations||21 (17 per direction)|
|Opened||July 25, 2014|
|Owner||City of Tucson|
|Operator(s)||RATP Dev McDonald Transit|
|Rolling stock||United Streetcar 200 (8 cars)|
|Line length||3.9 miles (6.3 km)|
Sun Link, also known as the Tucson Streetcar, is a single-line streetcar system in Tucson, Arizona, United States, that began service in July 2014. The system's 3.9-mile (6.3 km) route connects the Arizona Health Sciences Center (including University Medical Center), the University of Arizona campus, the Main Gate and 4th Avenue shopping and entertainment districts, downtown Tucson, the Tucson Convention Center, and the Mercado District under development west of Interstate 10. The streetcar project's overall cost of $196 million was met through a combination of local funding sources and federal grants. The streetcar shares a common payment system with the Sun Tran regional bus service.
In May 2006 Pima County voters approved a $2.1 billion, 20-year regional transportation plan which included $75 million toward construction of a modern streetcar and an additional $12.7 million toward its operation. In December 2010, a $63 million federal TIGER grant was awarded to the City of Tucson, meeting most of the remaining funding gap and allowing the project to move forward. An additional $6 million of federal funding was obtained through the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program. Funding also came from utilities for relocation and improvements along the streetcar route, most significantly $10.6 million from Tucson Water.
A $56 million contract for removal of existing roadway, utility relocation, installation of track, resurfacing, and construction of the system's 21 covered, accessible stops was awarded to Old Pueblo Trackworks, a joint venture of Granite Construction and RailWorks Track Systems, in March 2012. Construction began in April 2012 and continued through summer 2013. The first phase addressed straight sections of the route east of the Congress and Granada stop and required rolling closures of sections of Congress Street, Broadway Boulevard, 4th Avenue, University Boulevard, 2nd Street, the Warren Avenue underpass, and Helen Street. Phase two began in November 2012 and included all work west of the convention center, corner sections requiring fabrication of curved track elements, and additional work on Broadway and the Warren underpass.
A 320-foot bridge across the Santa Cruz serving streetcar, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic was constructed in 2012 under a separate contract. Named for former Tucson city manager Luis G. Gutierrez, the bridge extends Cushing Street from the I-10 frontage road to Avenida del Convento, providing a link between the Tucson Convention Center and the Mercado District.
Construction of the Sun Link Operations & Maintenance Facility, an eight million-dollar depot centered on the system route at 5th Avenue and 8th Street, began in May 2012. A public open house celebrating its completion and delivery of the first streetcar's delivery was held on September 6, 2013, with speeches from officials including Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild and state senator Steve Farley, a longtime advocate of the streetcar.
Sun Link maintains a fleet of eight United Streetcar 200s, using up to six cars at once. The streetcar is 66 feet long, double-ended (bi-directional), and articulated into three sections. Its center section floor is at platform height for accessibility with two double-door entrances on each side. Each side has a third passenger door located behind the operator cab. Propulsion is provided by four 90-kW motors drawing power via pantograph from an overhead wire. The streetcar has a maximum speed of 43.5 mph (70 km/h) and a capacity of 156 passengers (29 seated and 127 standing).
The United 200 is largely identical to the 100 model produced for systems in Portland and Washington, D.C., the only major difference being that the 200 is equipped with upgraded air-conditioning. The design of the 100 model itself is based on the Czech-made Škoda 10 T.
Tucson placed a $26 million order with United for seven cars in June 2010. An eighth was ordered for an additional $3.6 million in July 2012 in order to satisfy FTA requirements for a second spare. United's first model 200 car arrived in Tucson by flatbed truck on August 30, 2013. Delays in streetcar production pushed Sun Link's projected start of service from a forecast of late 2013 as of the start of construction to July 2014. Tucson officials notified United Streetcar in May 2013 of their intention to assess contractual damages for late delivery. United's parent company, Vigor Works, formerly Oregon Iron Works, settled with the city in 2016 for $1.7 million to be paid in additional parts and labor.
Weekday service runs every ten minutes during peak hours and every fifteen minutes mornings and evenings. Saturday morning and Sunday service runs every twenty or thirty minutes. Half-hour late-night service, discontinued in June 2016, ran through 2am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Travel time from one end of the line to the other is approximately 30 minutes.
One-way fare is $1.50, and includes transfer to connecting Sun Tran busses. A SunGO pass or fare card, available at the Ronstadt Transit Center, online, and at various retail locations, must be purchased prior to boarding; payment is not accepted by Sun Link drivers. 24-hour passes are available for $3.50 from ticket vending machines located on all Sun Link platforms, payable either in exact change or by credit. Passengers must record payment by placing fare cards on electronic validators after boarding. No fare to kids below 6 with fare-paying rider; limit 3.
North of the Warren Avenue stop, the streetcar passes under Speedway Boulevard on a single-track line in a dedicated right of way. After reaching its northern terminus at Helen, the car reverses direction. In all but one or two other places along the route, the streetcar operates with traffic.
|Districts, connections, & destinations|
|University|| Helen St. at Warren Ave.
|| Sun Tran: 4, 5, 15
Cat Tran: Purple, Green
|Arizona Health Sciences Center|
|Warren Avenue Underpass|
| 2nd St. at Cherry Ave.
|| University Bike Blvd.
Cat Tran: Mountain
|Hillenbrand Stadium, Flandrau Science Center, McKale Center, Arizona Stadium|
| 2nd St. & Highland Ave.
|| Mountain Ave. Bikeway
|UA Student Union Memorial Center|
| 2nd St. & Olive
|| Cat Tran: USA, Inner Campus
|Center for Creative Photography, UA Museum of Art|
| University & Tyndall
|| Sun Tran: 1, 6
Main Gate, Tyndall Ave.
|Centennial Hall, Arizona Historical Society, Arizona State Museum|
| University & 3rd Ave.
||University Bike Blvd.||Rogue Theatre
| 4th Ave. & 5th St.
||4th Ave. Bike Blvd.|
| 4th Ave. & 7th St.
||Sun Tran: 3|
| 4th Ave. & 9th St.
||Golf Links-Aviation Path|
|4th Avenue Underpass|
|Downtown|| Toole & 4th Ave.
|Centro||Rialto Theater, Historic Tucson Depot, Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, Hotel Congress|
|Congress/Broadway & 6th Ave.|| Sun Tran: 1-4, 6-8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 21-23, 25, 421
Sun Express: 102, 103, 105, 107, 109, 110
Amtrak: Sunset Ltd., Texas Eagle
Depot Plaza, Pennington St.
|Ronstadt Transit Center, Children's Museum Tucson, Armory Park|
| Congress/Broadway & Stone
||Main Library||Fox Tucson Theatre, Saint Augustine Cathedral, Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Downtown History Museum, Scottish Rite Cathedral, Temple of Music and Art|
| Congress/Broadway & Church
||Sun Tran: 1, 2, 6-8, 12, 21, 22, 25||Pima County Courthouse, Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, Tucson City Hall, Tucson Arena, Leo Rich Theatre|
| Congress & Granada
|| Sun Express: 101, 102, 104, 108, 110
Hotel Arizona, City/State
|Tucson Music Hall, Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House, DeConcini Federal Courthouse, Tucson Museum of Art|
| Granada Ave. & Cushing St.
|| Liberty-10th Ave. Bikeway
Tucson Convention Center surface lots
|Tucson Convention Center|
|Interstate 10 Underpass|
|Mercado|| Cushing & Frontage
||The Loop (Santa Cruz River Park)|
|Luis Gurierrez Bridge|
| Cushing & Convento
| Convento & Congress
||Sun Tran: 21, 22||Mercado San Augustin, El Rio Community Health Center|
Stops listed from east to west; district names and coloration taken from official Sun Link routemap.