Ride on: May date set for debut of Tempe Streetcar service

Apr 29, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm
(Valley Metro Photo)...
(Valley Metro Photo)
(Valley Metro Photo)

PHOENIX – After four years of construction, the Tempe Streetcar will start shuttling riders through the East Valley city’s downtown area on May 20.

The $200 million Valley Metro project spans 3 miles near Arizona State University along Rio Salado Parkway, Ash Avenue, Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue.

The line has 14 stops and two connections to Valley Metro light rail. Each stop was designed with unique public art and landscaping.

The Tempe Streetcar route includes Tempe Beach Park, ASU Gammage and Sun Devil Stadium and provides access to many restaurants and businesses along the way.

The green and silver streetcars, which will arrive at stops every 15-20 minutes, are free to ride for the first year.

The cars are powered by a combination of overhead electrical wires and lithium-ion batteries. They are smaller than Valley Metro’s light rail cars, with each carrying up to 125 passengers.

Testing of the streetcars started last summer. They share the road with motor vehicles and often travel in the same lane. The tracks were designed in a way to keep them from damaging vehicle tires.

Construction, which started in 2018 after years of planning, required an extended closure of Mill Avenue during the summer of 2019. Delays pushed back the launch date, which was originally targeted for 2021.

Federal grants covered more than $90 million of the cost, with the rest paid for by regional funding from Proposition 400 and local public-private partnerships.

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Ride on: May date set for debut of Tempe Streetcar service