On June 28, streetcar vehicles will begin to make their way across Tempe as testing begins. Over the next weeks and months, residents can expect to see vehicles out on the alignment completing a variety of systems, signals and safety tests.
“Our first priority is operating a safe and reliable system,” said Adrian Ruiz, Valley Metro Director of Safety, Security and Quality Assurance. “It’s not quite time to get on board, but we want the public to be aware that they will observe and travel near the streetcars more frequently in the coming weeks. As opposed to light rail, streetcars share lanes with vehicle traffic, so be cautious when driving on or near the route.”
Testing the new system includes checking the vehicle clearance at stations, as well as integration with the traffic signals and the overhead electrification system.
“We are excited for these final steps in the Tempe Streetcar project,” said Valley Metro Rail Board Member and Tempe Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage. “As many residents, visitors and employees see, there is a lot of construction in downtown Tempe, and this is another important project to keep investing in the future infrastructure of our city.”
With the opening of streetcar, Valley residents will be seeing a new mode of transit for the first time. We encourage Tempe residents and visitors to Be Streetcar Smart and keep the following safety tips in mind when they see streetcars in Tempe:
- Cars and streetcars share the road and often travel in the same traffic lane. When driving, treat them like you would any other vehicle, leaving a safe space between your car and the streetcar.
- Bicyclists and scooter riders should avoid traveling between the streetcar’s rails where it can be difficult to maneuver in the tight space. Track grooves are slightly wider than bike or scooter tires, so tires could become stuck in the trackway.
- Pedestrians should only cross the tracks at designated crosswalks. Remember, the trains are quiet, so look and listen before crossing with the appropriate signal.
For more safety tips, please visit valleymetro.org/project/streetcar-safety.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.