The VIA board of trustees was presented with a recommended route for the proposed modern streetcars Tuesday morning.
"This has been a very long process,” said VIA board member Charlie Gonzalez. “We've had over a 100 meetings with different groups and individuals. We presented six alternatives initially."
Two additional alternatives were added before it was whittled down to one.
The recommendation calls for the streetcars to use Broadway, connecting to the east/west corridors of Martin and Pecan streets. Frio Street would represent the western extent, with the streetcars travelling through the El Mercado area.
Cesar Chavez would provide the southern boundary and an east/west route, while St. Mary’s and Navarro streets would serve as another north/south corridor. An extra addition of South St. Mary’s between Cesar Chavez and Alamo would likely also be included for a total of 5.9 miles and an $8.5 million operating cost.
Connectivity to the city's bus system was one of the major factors that the committee looked at when it came to recommending the route. Other important factors included capitol cost, operations and maintenance cost, economic development potential and ridership elements. Environmental issues were also considered.
The recommended route, according to VIA, optimizes ridership and economic growth and will allow for future extensions.
The board will discuss the proposed route in a workshop on Sept. 16. A public open house will be held on Sept. 19. The VIA board of trustees is expected to adopt a route Sept. 24.