SAN ANTONIO -

VIA is holding a public meeting Wednesday evening to listen to questions and concerns from residents regarding its modern streetcar plan for downtown.
"(Residents will) learn more about the project, more about streetcars and also give us input on where they'd like to see the routing in the downtown area," said Priscilla Ingle, VIA Vice President of Public Affairs.
VIA's SmartwaySA website show a pair of routes, including one running north-south along Broadway from Terrell Heights to Mission San Jose and another running east-west mostly along Commerce from Our Lady of the Lake University to Coliseum Oaks by the AT&T Center.
Ingle called the routes preliminary.
"There were some conceptual drawings early on that talked about where it could be, but now we're getting into the technical phase of the planning process," Ingle said. "We'll have to look at the different arterials of the area and then also look at what might work best for the community and what will work for us, technically."
According to an economic impact study from April 2011, the five miles of modern streetcar could create up to $1.5 billion in development along the corridors.
"It's something that a lot of communities have embraced, and it's really changed the landscape," Ingle said. "It's gotten people thinking about living downtown, working downtown and really rebuilding the urbarn core in communities like Portland and Seattle. And we're hoping to do the same thing here."
The meeting is from 6-8 p.m. at Sunset Station at 1147 E. Commerce at The Depot.
Before the meeting, The Cato Institute and Heartland Institutes, a pair of public policy and research groups, will hold a press conference announcing results of their own economic development study titled "The Streetcar Fantasy." The meeting will be at Sam's Burger Joint at 328 E. Grayson on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Ingle said there will be a follow-up meeting in late winter or early spring 2013 and VIA hopes to have the first streetcar running by late 2016.
For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.