Streetcars will be a common sight down Mill Avenue

Downtown Tempe’s about to get more colorful with Valley Metro’s bright green streetcars cruising around the local scene.  The service officially launches on April 22. In anticipation for the launch, I decided to walk along the route and see all the cool places you can go. 

I began my journey at the light rail station at Mill Ave/3rd St. From there the 3rd St/Mill Ave streetcar stop is about 500 feet away. It is one of two stops that connects to light rail and is a great stop for hikers as it’s right next to a trail up A-mountain, also known as Tempe Butte.  

After checking out the stops near business complexes on the north end of the route I visited the most scenic stop of streetcar, Tempe Beach Park. The park is a perfect way to spend a day walking, biking or kayaking on Tempe Town Lake. The park also hosts big events like the Innings Festival, the Arizona Aloha Festival and Ironman Arizona. 

Streetcar testing underway

The streetcar takes you even closer to the bustling night life than light rail. The streetcar runs straight up Mill Avenue and down Ash Avenue with multiple stops through the busy district allowing easy access to your favorite shops and restaurants. If you’re planning to stay out late, be aware that streetcar runs until midnight and the last full light rail trips service Mill Ave/3rd St station around 11:40 p.m. 

My personal favorite stop in the whole route is University Dr/Ash Ave. The area includes a mix of local and chain restaurants, a unique grocery shopping experience at Whole Foods and my favorite comic shop in the Valley, Ash Avenue Comics.

Getting to Gammage will be easy with Streetcar

If you are a fan of the arts, the 11th St/Mill Ave stop is just a three-minute walk away from ASU Gammage. The theater hosts musical performances and Broadway style shows performed by ASU students along with Broadway affiliated professional companies.  

As I walked down Apache, I found that streetcar is the perfect mode of transportation for ASU students and their families. The streetcar has stops right near student dorms and local eateries by campus. The streetcar also passes by hotels where parents can stay and get around the area without having to rent a car or use a ridesharing service.  

I finished my tour at the Dorsey/Apache Blvd stop which is located next to the light rail station with the same name. There, I hopped on a train headed for home. While walking the route was good exercise, I must admit I can’t wait until I can zip around the area on the streetcar.  I think it will provide a convenient way to get around the around the area.   

To stay up to date with streetcar, follow the hashtag #vmstreetcar on Twitter. 

Peter Corkery
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
When not helping customers at Valley Metro, Peter enjoys reading, running and hiking around the valley.