Road Runner: Top 10 transportation stories of 2013

2013-12-30T00:00:00Z 2013-12-30T10:26:23Z Road Runner: Top 10 transportation stories of 2013By Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

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.

Send your Road Q questions by email to roadrunner@azstarnet.com or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...
Get weekly ads via e-mail