modern Streetcar makes a positive first impression

Streetcar makes positive first impression

2013-10-04T00:00:00Z 2013-10-07T10:23:07Z Streetcar makes positive first impressionBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Grant Hawman ditched his pancakes and ran outside of the B Line cafe to snap a picture of the modern streetcar with his BlackBerry.

The daylight test of Sun Link’s first electric vehicle stopped pedestrians in their tracks on a quiet Thursday morning on Fourth Avenue, with many marveling at its nearly silent operation save for when the driver occasionally used the horn.

The streetcar — dubbed “101” by the city — ran on only a portion of 3.9-mile track, driving back and forth the length of Fourth Avenue and a portion of University Boulevard.

Hawman planned on sending the photo of the blue-and-gray vehicle to family and friends.

“It will be huge asset for the community,” Hawman predicted.

Leaving the Sky Bar, Cassidy Crane pointed out the passing streetcar to her daughter, Laura Milkins.

Crane had been waiting for a cab to go to the grocery store, before giving up and asking Milkins for a ride.

She wishes the streetcar would go to the grocery store, but is generally supportive of the project.

Milkins agrees but hopes Sun Link will operate late at night, offering a low-cost solution to university students drinking in bars in downtown Tucson and along Fourth Street.

“The real purpose of public transportation is so people don’t have to drive, especially when they’ve been drinking,” Milkins said.

Milkins primarily used public transportation while living in Boston.

“I think it is a good start. I think we need more public transportation,” Milkins said.

Streetcar testing will continue today between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The tests are necessary to train new drivers as well as to check out the safety of the brand-new vehicle.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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