VIA shows off streetcar routes

Community invited to give input on 6 proposed routes

By Tim Gerber - Reporter/Anchor

SAN ANTONIO - VIA Metropolitan Transit hosted an open house Thursday night to show off six proposed routes for its new streetcar system.

"This is a community project, it would be a community-changing project, so we want to make sure we've engaged the community and have listened to the community as part of this project," said Brian Buchanan, VIA's chief development officer.

Buchanan wants to make sure the community and bus riders have a chance to give their input on the new streetcar system that is being developed for downtown.

The $210 million transportation project is still in the design phase.

Right now, VIA has come up with six different options for how the streetcar will get around downtown.

While all of them connect the city core to the North, South, East and West sides, there are some differences on what streets would be used.

"On the North-South Route, we have a couple different options, one is on Alamo Street. Another option is St. Mary's/Navarro through the downtown core," Buchanan said. "On the East-West route, it's kind of like a Nueva or Cesar Chavez on the South part of town, versus a Market Pecan on the North Side of town."

The routes range in length from four miles to nearly six miles and the costs start at $182 million and go as high as $272 million.

"There are a little bit of differences in the cost because all of them a little bit different in length," Buchanan said.

VIA hopes to narrow the choices down over the next few weeks with the board of trustees making a final decision sometime this summer.

The goal is to have the streetcars running by 2017.

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