Streetcars were once the backbone of America’s urban transportation system, carting passengers across town in cities across America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1893 and 1947, Phoenix had its own electrified streetcar railway but the several lines planned to extend service to Tempe, Mesa, and Scottsdale were never built. Now Tempe is looking to the past for clever solutions that bring more sustainable, pedestrian friendly transportation to support its vision for the future.
The new Tempe Streetcar is an important addition to the regional transit system that will attract new riders, increase mobility, and strengthen existing neighborhoods. Valley Metro Rail travels through Tempe, the proposed streetcar system is in its design phase. Stantec, Logan Simpson Design and a host of talented companies are designing the line, while local artists are engaged in creating artwork for the proposed 14 stops.
Thinking Caps Design is the signage and wayfinding consultant for the stations along the route. Design of Tempe Streetcar should be completed this year, and the city believes construction may even start by the end of 2017.
“As lead designer, we look forward to working alongside Valley Metro, the City of Tempe, project artists and construction contractor,” said Stantec project manager Tom Wolf. “Together, we’ll find the best way to efficiently design and construct the first modern streetcar in the region, a vital extension of the Valley’s transit system.”
The three-mile Tempe Streetcar route travels along Rio Salado Parkway from the Marina Heights development west to Mill Avenue, forming a downtown loop on Mill and Ash avenues and south to Apache Boulevard, then east to Dorsey Lane. Opening of the line is anticipated in 2020.