The Warren Underpass near the University of Arizona campus has reopened to pedestrians.
The underpass, which runs beneath Speedway Boulevard and connects East Helen Street to East First Street, was closed for nearly a year while tracks were laid for Tucson's Sun Link streetcar.
When the streetcar begins running in 2014 it will connect downtown Tucson with the UA main campus, the Arizona Health Sciences Center and The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus. Its 3.9-mile route will go through the Warren Underpass, where tracks were laid at a lower grade than the adjacent walking path. A fence separates the streetcar and pedestrian paths to ensure safety.
Now that the construction of the tracks is complete, pedestrians can once again use the underpass, which connects the main UA campus to AHSC and UAMC.
However, because the underpass will be shared by the streetcar, motorized vehicles and golf carts are prohibited from using the underpass. Bicyclists must walk their bikes through the underpass or they can use the Highland or Olive underpasses, which are less than a quarter-mile away, to traverse Speedway. Cyclists also can use the bicycle path between East Mabel Street and East Helen Street, west of the Highland Garage, to access the campus from points north.
"We are very happy to have the underpass reopened. I know how important this path is to those in the northeast part of campus. I would like to thank the city and the construction workers who have worked diligently on this difficult part of the project. By getting this back open, we are providing a safe path that does not involve crossing Speedway," said David Heineking, director of UA Parking and Transportation Services.
"We would have liked to be able to allow bicyclists and golf carts into the underpass, but the narrowness of the path has forced us to consider everyone's safety. For that reason, we cannot allow people to ride bikes or drive through," Heineking said.
Officers with UA Parking and Transportation Services are monitoring the area to educate people about the changes and enforce the new regulations.