Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Streetcar Returns! And It’s Rescuing Tucson From the Recession

November 26, 2013
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The Streetcar Returns! And It’s Rescuing Tucson From the Recession
street car
Flickr, Jay Galvin
A once-dormant area is in the middle of a $230 million construction boom.

Streetcars were once a common feature in American cities. New York once had an expansive network that seamlessly linked its two largest boroughs. They were, however, largely abandoned after World War II as communities were designed around automobiles. However, in the wake of an energy crisis, the streetcar is experiencing a kind of renaissance. According to the Associated Press, Tucson is one of several cities planning to launch streetcar service to promote economic development. The city just finished a four-mile-long streetcar track that will run between the University of Arizona campus and downtown. “Roughly 150 businesses have opened their doors along the route in the last five years, and the once-dormant area is in the middle of a $230 million construction boom, according to the Downtown Tucson Partnership. The group estimates that 2,000 jobs have been created or relocated to the area,” according to Pew States. Michael Keith, CEO of the downtown group, says, “The fact that Tucson could reinvent itself in the middle of the worst recession to hit the state since 1928 is astonishing.”

 

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