Friday, December 28, 2007

Take the Trolley Back to the Future

Cities across the US are taking a new look at an old idea: the city streetcar.

Vintage, electric trolley systems, like Tucson's Old Pueblo Trolley, provide an authentic streetcar experience that mixes public transportation with entertainment for visitors. Everybody loves old streetcars, with their wooden seats, clanging bells and windows that open.

Besides being lots of fun, the Old Pueblo Trolley is a demonstration light-rail project. The future includes expansion of its rails and overhead wires into the downtown business district.

Light-rail systems are a green way to move people around downtown -- they are energy-efficient. Just ask cities like Salt Lake City, which built one to help transport visitors to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Tucson's one-mile route connects the Fourth Avenue shopping-and-entertainment district with University of Arizona, passing beautifully restored historic homes along the way.

You can see more historic trolleys, plus vintage busses and more at Tucson's Southern Arizona Transportation Museum.