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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson Modern Streetcar partners with UA, launches safety campaign

Larry Gaurano
Larry Gaurano/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Construction nears completion at all Sunlink cable car stops. Educational posters informing the public on proper safety precautions will be in place soon.

A campaign to educate Tucson citizens on ways to be safe around the streetcar tracks begins this week.

To bring attention to community safety, Sun Link plans to advertise the safety campaign through various outlets around Tucson. Outreach efforts will include a 30-second public service announcement, brochures, and social media announcements, according to Joan Beckim, public outreach project manager for Sun Link.

“The education materials will target bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and people with disabilities so that it will be a universal, all-inclusive awareness campaign that educates all people traveling in all different ways,” said Bill Davidson, manager of public information and marketing for Parking and
Transportation Services.

The Tucson Modern Streetcar will be able to serve a population of around 100,000 people who live and work within the nearly four-mile alignment tracks, according to Shellie Ginn, program manager for the Tucson Modern Streetcar. With so many potential riders, the education campaign must try to reach the entire community and take advantage of social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Ginn said.

To gain student ridership, the UA is partnering with Sun Link. The UA invited Sun Link to participate in campus events such as Wildcat Welcome week and New Student Orientation, according to Beckim. Sun Link is also hoping to play the PSAs on the TVs in the Student Union Memorial Center in addition to presenting the campaign to various on-campus organizations, Beckim added.

“The university is an important part of the project,” Davidson said. “Certainly the university campus will benefit greatly by having the streetcar project operational on campus and it’s certainly going to help students get around with the new way and I think it’s exciting.”

Streetcar construction is back on schedule, Ginn said. The $196 million project is under budget and is to remain there, even with the cost of previous setbacks, Ginn added.

The next step is testing the overhead lines in preparation for when the vehicles arrive, according to Ginn. All of the final vehicle inspections must be conducted before the vehicles arrive in Tucson in late August to early September, Ginn added.

Inspections will include testing the brakes, checking electrics, track lining and overhead safety.

After this is completed, the vehicles will run in a pre-revenue service, meaning the cars will run on the tracks, but without passengers, to ensure they are in proper working condition before the public opening to riders.

“[This education program] will teach the public ways for all of us to move with confidence with the new streetcar system in place,” Davidson said. “I think it’s also going to be a good way to tell the community exactly what’s happening when.”

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