After years of waiting and watching, the opening of Tucson’s streetcar is finally here! As with all great events in Tucson, the opening of the streetcar will be launched with several celebrations. On Friday, July 25th the very first streetcar run will have ceremonial ribbon cuttings at each stop. The first ribbon cutting will take place at 7 am at Mercado San Augustin, followed by ribbon cuttings at Helen & Warren at 7:40, University and Tyndall at 8:05 and 4th Avenue and 7th Street at 8:28. Then it’s off to Congress & 5th Ave at 9am for the streetcar Grand Opening. Local First Arizona will be downtown to join everyone for the Grand Opening, so stop by to say hi. Be sure to ask for one of the few remaining Localist Fed By Threads tees, we have just a few left so be sure to grab yours! After the presentations, the streetcar will officially open to the public at 10:00 am for three days of free rides. And what a great three days it will be! There will be ongoing celebrations in each of the business districts along the route with lots of LFA members joining in on the fun. On Friday July 25th, from 11am-5pm, and Saturday July 26th, from 3-9pm, the FOX Theatre will be showing FREE cartoons on the big screen and The Tucson Museum of Art will be offering half priced admission Friday through Sunday. Ben’s Bells will be passing out special scavenger hunt maps to identify kindness murals around town. Turn in your maps and you may even win one of the exclusive Ben’s Bell’s commemorative Streetcar Bells. The MLK parking lot will be converted to a public “beach” complete with sand, water, live music and food. Check out the great beach parties Friday and Saturday nights.
In the Mercado District, there will be Beer and Brats in the courtyard Friday night along with live music and wandering mariachis. Friday will also feature a special “pop-up party” hosted by Living Streets Alliance. You can check out bike-themed art at YAYBig’s Pop-Up Art Gallery, make a homemade sign to cheer YAY! for the Streetcar, learn more about Living Streets Alliance’s Pedestrian Safety and Comfort Campaign and enter LSA’s bike gear raffle. Saturday features a karaoke party under the Cushing Street bridge and Sunday will feature a special brunch. Fourth Avenue will be celebrating the “Soul of the City” with live music up and down the avenue as well as public slide presentations, light towers and an outdoor movie screen. Main Gate Square will be getting “Jazzed in the City” with musical celebrations. There will be street troubadors, an instrument petting zoo and live jazz concerts. The University of Arizona will also feature a farmer’s market and free Yoga lessons. Check out all the great events planned, as well as merchant specials here.
It’s important to note while the streetcar celebrations will bring lots of fun and games for the three day opening weekend, the public benefits of Tucson’s new streetcars will be felt far longer. The streetcar line supports hundreds of locally owned businesses, identified here on this collaborative map. The streetcar has already led to over $350 million in additional private investment along the route and helped attract new businesses. “I would say that the streetcar had a really large influence on me choosing this spot for The Hopyard. It’s been great so far, even just people now coming out, just checking out what’s been happening, looking at all the new additions with the streetcar.” says Hopyard owner and LFA member, Allison Crist. Tucson’s Downtown has seen an amazing revitalization. Linking the University to the Fourth Avenue, Downtown and Mercado business districts will also bring a great new influx of visitors between the areas. Party now for the grand opening events and enjoy the ride into a more connected future for Tucson!