Streetcar Celebration Brings You Closer to Our Newest Residents
March 18, 2014
by James J. Jefferies
It is undeniably a season of change in Downtown Tucson. The early spring weather has been magnificent, as usual, but the hum of many things completely new to the area is certainly alive in the air. Chief among them is the compelling sound of a synthesized bell, and the distant rumble of something big rolling along down the tracks. The Tucson Streetcars have been visible to Downtown regulars while testing for a number of months now, as is required by federal law, and are on schedule to begin passenger service this summer.
Along with them comes a new state of mind, as local merchants, restauranteurs, and the venture-minded flock to the Streetcar’s route, intent on bringing a trove of fine eats, craft beer, clothing, and countless other items and services along what is sure to be an incredibly well-trafficked corridor. The entire path will provide a transformative economic effect, rippling through the greater Downtown area from just west of I-10 at the Mercado San Augustin all the way down 4th Avenue and north of The University of Arizona campus.
In an age where traffic, pollution, and the overall environmental impact of so many cars is cause for concern, the Tucson Streetcar is an idea whose time has come once again. A look at our own rich history, right here in the Old Pueblo, shows that Tucson once had a system of electric railcars, which ushered in an age of modernity in 1906 for a small town whose primary modes of transport in the era were foot, horseback, or rough-and-tumble rides in carriages drawn by horse or mule.
In the spirit of this renewed commitment to environmentally friendly urban transportation alternatives, the Friends of the Tucson Streetcar & the Downtown Tucson Partnership proudly present the third in their series of events, Streetcar Celebration: Destination Downtown, taking place on Tuesday, March 25th from 5-8pm on Congress St. near 6th Avenue. According to Friends of the Tucson Streetcar steering committee member Donovan Durband, “We really want to showcase that the Streetcar is not a trolley to nowhere, it is a way to get to great places.”
The primary goal of this evening, beyond the value of a fun night out on a Tuesday for both the public and the participating merchants, is furthering the process of informing residents and commuters about the upside of this new mode of transportation in the city of Tucson. “It’s a part of our organizational mission to educate the public as to what the Streetcar is all about,” said Durband. “People can come out, get a close look at the cars, and have an opportunity to talk with the Sun Link staff, who are all very passionate, knowledgeable, and committed to the project.”
Just about every single merchant in the area will be offering everything from extended hours to event-specific food and drink specials, to get everyone into the spirit of things. To obtain these discounts, you need to visit the Friends of the Tucson Streetcar booth, which will be in front of Tierra Antigua Realty at 216 E. Congress, and obtain a Friends of the Tucson Streetcar button or keychain. Flash said item to a participating merchant during the event, and a variety of sweet deals will be yours! Here’s a list of just some of them, with more to be announced before next Tuesday:
Buffalo Exchange: open from 5-7pm, will offer coupons Connect Beta (co working space): temporary office spaces will be open with information about coworking and Connect’s plans for Downtown businesses
FORS architecture +interiors: coupon book
Gio Taco: extended Happy Hour and Churro coupon
Got All Your Marbles: open until 8pm, free marbles for all kids
Hydra: open until 8pm and offering 10% off from 5-8pm
Iguana Cafe: extended Happy Hour
On A Roll: extended Happy Hour
Penca: Sangria and tepache (fermented pineapple beer) specials
Sparkroot: 1/2 off beer, wine and sandwiches
There will also be a fashion show put on by La Fashionista!, and the Screening Room will be showing shorts and offering festival passes to the upcoming Arizona International Film Festival. The Friends of the Tucson Streetcar will also be holding a fantastic raffle for gift certificates provided by La Fashionista! and Thunder Canyon Brewery, along with other great prizes provided by a virtual who’s who of Downtown merchants, not to mention street performers & live music provided by CS&M Trio! For more information, please check out the event webpage for updates and newly-announced specials from participating retailers here.