OKLAHOMA CITY - Drivers around downtown Oklahoma City may get the chance to see a different vehicle hitting the streets.
In 2013, the Oklahoma City Council first voted to move forward with a proposed streetcar project throughout downtown.
"To alleviate the amount of vehicles that are on the road at any given time,” said EMBARK spokesperson Michael Scroggins.
Almost five years after it was approved by the city council, the project is almost complete.
Last month, the first of seven streetcars arrived in Oklahoma City. On Monday, a blue streetcar made its first appearance on Oklahoma City streets.
"This is the first time we've had a rail vehicle on city streets in more than half a century, in at least 50 years,” Scroggins said. "We're excited about it but also trying to learn as much as we can."
On Monday afternoon, crews tested the streetcars at 30 miles per hour and tested their brakes. So far, there haven't been any issues.
"Each car gets about 300 miles on it before anybody is allowed to get on it,” said MAPS Project Manager David Todd.
Organizers said that won't happen until the end of this year.
Once it does, the new mode of transportation will work on and off a wire. If there are no wires in certain areas, it can run off of a lithium-ion battery.
"So, in the business district, it will be working without the wires much like a golf cart, but then you'll see them in Bricktown and in the midtown area,” Todd said.
The east-west loop will run a little over two miles, connecting the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Cox Convention Center, Devon Tower and the future downtown park and convention center.
The north-south loop will cover almost five miles and connect most of the Bricktown route, Automobile Alley, the Central Business District and Midtown. That loop will take around 40 minutes round-trip.
"We will have Sunday service as well, major events, anytime you have a Thunder game, major convention, trip generators - we'll have service for that, as well,” Scroggins said.
Streetcar construction is supposed to be done by the end of the summer.
Right now, public meetings are being held to discuss the rider fare. They hope to have a final decision made in May.
Fun facts about the Oklahoma City Streetcar:
- There will be 22 stops.
- Each car will hold 104 passengers.
- There are seven cars total: three Redbud, two “Bermuda” green and two “clear skies” blue.
- The cars will be ADA accessible.
- There will be bicycle racks on each of the cars.
- Sections of the system will run wirelessly using a Tesla-type Lithium-Ion battery.
- The streetcars will be stored at a maintenance facility near the upcoming MAPS 3 Park.