VIA Narrows Proposed Streetcar Project Route To One

Sep 11, 2013

VIA staff members and consultants have chosen alternative 6 as the recommended route to move forward with in the modern streetcar project.

The plan would route the streetcar along Broadway to Martin and Pecan Streets to service the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, UTSA's downtown campus, the Westside Multimodal Center, El Mercado, South Town, and many other highly desired areas in the downtown area.

But tweaks may be added to the plan.

Chief of engagement Charlie Gonzalez said one of the modifications could put a streetcar line on Broadway and another parallel to it on Alamo Street in the Cunningham Ave. area, instead of two streetcar lines traveling in opposite directions on Broadway.

Another adjustment could make a West Commerce and Buena Vista line that cuts over to Cesar Chavez. The plan also adds an extension to the South St. Mary's Street area, south of Cesar Chavez.

According to Gonzalez, public input counted a great deal in forming the recommendation.

"What we did is we took one of the routes that was being recommended and enhanced it with some additions," said Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez said the recommendation adds $60 million to $85 million more to the cost. VIA has about $210 million currently on hand. 

Gonzalez noted the option could come with federal grants to help cover the additional cost that he said may better serve tourists and local resident needs alike.

"Obviously, you're covering much more territory and points of interest, which will translate into more riders, greater investment and such. But then you have an increase in the cost of the project," he said.

The plan will be presented to VIA's full board on Sept. 16 during a workshop. VIA will then hold a public meeting on Sept. 18 to share the recommendation with people. A vote on the recommended route is expected Sept. 24.