There was no modern streetcar there yet but more than 150 people toured the route in downtown May 7 as part of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance’s sixth annual Wild Ride.

Along the way were 32 properties of interest.

After a lunch at the Mercado San Agustin on the west side of Interstate 10 the group loaded buses and toured the proposed line up Fourth Avenue, around the University of Arizona campus and then finishing up near the Bio5 Institute building on the campus.

“I am really passionate about this project,” said City Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, one of the guides along the route. “This is the key to tying everything together. People want to invest along this route and it’s showing.”

Tony Traub, principal of Garfield Traub and developer of the new downtown convention hotel, spoke to the group about what the area already has going. 

“You’ve got some great buildings downtown,” Traub said. “You’ve got a lovely downtown area with a real diverse palate of storefronts. All you need now is people to come in, clean them up and use them.”

Glenn Lyons, CEO of Downtown Tucson Partnership, told the group of “Tiger,” a bartender in the Tap Room at the Hotel Congress who has worked there for 50 years.

“That’s what I call a Tucson vignette,” Lyons said. “There are thousands of them downtown, but you have to get out of your car and experience it. You can’t see downtown from inside your car.”

He asked how many had been downtown before, most – but not all – raised their hands. He then asked who learned something new about downtown today and nearly everyone raised a hand.

Michael Guymon, executive director of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, called Wild Ride a great success.

“When the CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership learns something new about downtown it is a great day,” Guymon said. “Things are happening downtown and we were thrilled to show so many people all the projects that are going in and what we are heading toward.”

Contact Joe Pangburn at jpangburn@email.arizona.edu or (520) 295-4259.