The past year was one of rebuilding streets and expanding public transportation. But it also included a deadly pedestrian tally.
Here are some of the top transportation stories for the Old Pueblo in 2013.
1. Pedestrians deaths
This year will go down as one of the worst years on record for the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in the Tucson area. Roughly two dozen died on city streets in 2013. The city launched a program to put up new signs in areas heavily used by pedestrians. City officials say alcohol use played a role in some of the accidents.
2. road repairs starting
The city broke ground on the first projects associated with the $100 million, voter-approved Proposition 409. Over the next four and a half years, the project will make roughly $85 million in improvements to main roads inside the city limits and another $15 million to smaller, neighborhood and industrial streets.
3. projected RTA shortfall
An economic forecast prepared by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management estimates a $364 million shortfall for the Regional Transportation Authority, potentially putting projects in jeopardy.
4. Handicar loses contract
The RTA board decided in December to give Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab, a $17 million contract to handle the day-to-day operations of its special-needs transit system for the next three years.
The decision ends a long relationship with Tucson-based MV Transportation/Handicar, which has roughly 200 employees.
5. Suntran card glitches
Problems with defective magnetic-strip cards, malfunctioning card readers on some buses and issues with the computerized recording of account balances and expiration dates plagued the new SunGo computerized fare system this summer.
Sun Tran officials were forced to adopt an informal policy of drivers taking the rider’s word that they had a valid card until the problems were fixed more than a month ago.
6. Streetcar work wraps up
The proliferation of orange traffic cones along the modern streetcar route ended this summer, after contractors finished installing the necessary infrastructure.
7. no sun van fare hike
The Tucson City Council killed a proposal to increase the economy fare for Sun Van riders, telling Sun Tran officials to find a more modest proposal than increasing the $1 fare to $3 per ride.
8. Modern streetcar arrives
A new streetcar — the first of eight — was delivered in late August, with another arriving a few weeks later. The 65-foot-long, blue-and-silver cars are becoming a common sight along the 3.9-mile streetcar track downtown but won’t enter public use until next October.
9. deadly Dust storm
A dust storm in late October led to the death of three people near Picacho Peak, a reminder of a decades-old problem that pops up without warning.
The two-mile stretch near Picacho Peak is the deadliest portion of Interstate 10 in Arizona. At least eight people have been killed in more than 50 crashes since 2000.
10. fine vs. streetcar firm
Frustrated by long delays in delivering the modern streetcar to Tucson, members of the Tucson City Council said publicly it was time to hit Oregon Ironworks in the pocketbook. The city is entitled to compensation under the contract, but how much the city will receive will have to be negotiated.