Blue and silver streetcars are coming soon to the University of Arizona. When the cars begin rolling in 2014, the system, called Sun Link, will recast the streetscape along the 4-mile line. It will serve new classes in a downtown campus. New restaurants and shops. New dorms.
With a car arriving every 10 minutes, “it will be a critical catalyst in the revitalization of downtown Tucson,” says Peter Dourlein, UA assistant vice president for planning, design, and construction.
Students will be able to use the streetcar for classes at the UA’s downtown campus, the Roy Place Building at Stone Avenue and Pennington Street. The Urban Design Studio is located there, and the School of Government and Public Policy and the School of Geography and Development are expanding course offerings at the site.
For now, let’s imagine it is 2014. Take a ride — your final destination is a gourmet lunch at Mercado San Agustin on Avenida del Convento. Board at Helen Street near Campbell Avenue.
You head west, past the BIO5 Institute, which houses top bioresearchers in the United States. Dip south under Speedway Boulevard through a remodeled pedestrian tunnel, emerging near the Delta Chi fraternity house on First Street.
At Second Street, your journey heads west again at the UA softball field entrance.
Pass the National Solar Observatory, the Newman Center, the Tri Delt house, and the Steward Observatory, then the SAE house and the Hillel Foundation.
Next you’ll see the Civil Engineering and Harvill buildings. Jog south to the environmentally sustainable, LEED-certified residence halls at Park Avenue.
At the Main Gate, you’ll turn west at the door to Wilko, the high-end wine and dining site. Pass Gentle Ben’s, Frog and Firkin, and a host of clothing stores and other restaurants on University, rolling near new student housing at Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street.
Rumble past dozens of new pubs and businesses that have opened along Fourth Avenue and Congress Street. You will swing south at the Tucson Convention Center, then head west past the Greyhound Bus Station at Interstate 10. You will cross the Santa Cruz River on a new bridge and make a loop through the zone for Rio Nuevo developments.
At the Mercado San Agustin, you’ll reach the Agustin Brasserie for your gourmet lunch. For dessert, you might try the famous Tres Leches cake at Dolce Pastello next door.
Then, it’s back to campus on the next streetcar.
Mercado San Agustin