Tag Archives: streetcar

Four Things for Wednesday

15 Aug

Terminus Plaza from the Piedmont Road side

  • Via Creative Loafing: A photo of one of the new vehicles for the downtown streetcar popped up on the Atlanta subreddit
  • Via Buckhead View: NPU-B residents who oppose the new Lindbergh-area development planned for the east side of Piedmont Avenue are digging in for a long fight and have a new website
  • Atlanta is among the top 20 tweeting-est cities in the world – one of only six American cities to make the list – according to a study by a French research and consulting firm
  • I’d planned to write something about how rare it is in Atlanta to come across public places like the plaza behind Terminus at Peachtree and Piedmont. It’s breezy in the summer, protected from rain and has plenty of seating and a view in both directions. But nearly as soon as this photo was taken, a member of the Terminus security staff appeared and apologetically said that the building’s management doesn’t allow photography there. So much for public.

Wednesday Night: Downtown Streetcar Public Info Open House

17 Apr
Downtown streetcar route map

Streetcar route map: CAP/ADID


Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District will host a public information open house Wednesday evening focusing on revitalization of the downtown streetcar corridor.

CAP and ADID are seeking public input on redevelopment and land use plans for the Sweet Auburn and Fairlie-Poplar neighborhoods, where the project’s 2.7-mile light rail loop is under construction. 

The event will run from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Odd Fellows Building at 236 Auburn Ave., Wednesday, April 18.

The easiest transit access is by the route 16 or route 110 bus.

The Price of Progress: Buses to be rerouted for streetcar construction

6 Oct

Love it or hate it, the first stage of construction of the Atlanta Streetcar will soon be underway. To make room for the construction, parts of bus routes that pass through the streetcar’s route are being shifted out of the way, beginning this Saturday, Oct. 8. The reroutes are scheduled to be in effect until at least mid-2013.

MARTA bus reroute notice sign

This bus stop at the intersection of Peachtree and Marietta Streets, currently served by routes 3, 16 and 110, will be out of service when construction on the streetcar project begins

Affected routes are:

  • 1 – Centennial Olympic Park / Coronet Way
  • 3 – Martin Luther King, Jr Drive / Auburn Avenue
  • 16 – Noble
  • 99 – Boulevard / Monroe Drive
  • 110 – Peachtree Street “The Peach”
  • 155 – Windsor Street / Lakewood Avenue
  • 186 – Rainbow Drive / South DeKalb

The reroutes will leave some stretches of downtown streets – Peachtree Street between Ellis Street and Five Points Station,  Auburn Avenue between Courtland and Peachtree Streets, and Edgewood Avenue between Courtland and Peachtree Streets, for example – without bus service for the better part of two years.

It will be interesting to see how the new detours, combined with last year’s service reductions, last month’s alignment and schedule changes, and last week’s fare increase go over with riders.

New maps, schedules and other details on the route modifications are at MARTA’s site.

City Council works out the streetcar’s NSF

3 Jun

This is the week during which the City of Atlanta was to conduct an internal audit to track down the $5.6 million it needs to cover its portion of the first segment of the downtown streetcar project.

According to a story in Saturday’s AJC, the City Council might have based its December 2010 decision to allocate funds for the project on faulty information provided by Chief Financial Officer Joya De Foor. De Foor became the city’s CFO in June 2010.

C.T. Martin, one of two council members who voted against the resolution, told the AJC that he believes De Foor herself wasn’t aware of the budgetary hole. “I know that the first action that happened on this happened before she got there and she was operating off information she was told,” Martin said. “Somebody told her that the money was there.”

The $5.6 million is part of Atlanta’s share of the streetcar project’s $56 million cost. The bulk of the project will be paid for by a $47.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the remaining $2.8 million coming from funds originally designated for other transportation projects along the same corridor the streetcar will serve.

Old film, new bus schedules

28 Apr

From Pattern Cities, a 1908 film shot from a Barcelona streetcar. Either Barcelona’s pedestrians and bicyclists were utterly fearless in their zeal to be in a movie, or the camera was mounted waaay out in the front of the streetcar.

Also, changes to routes and/or schedules for 25 MARTA bus routes went into effect Saturday. Toss out those old schedules. Again.

History of the Future

13 Apr
Atlanta downtown 1919

Image: The Big Map Blog

From the Big Map Blog, an interactive 1919 city map in which Atlanta’s oldest downtown buildings appear in their original context and the city’s core isn’t yet incised by the Connector.

The Flatiron Building, the Imperial Hotel, Candler Building, Hurt Building, the Capital City Club and the Healy Building, now dwarfed by their neighbors, are prominent landmarks in 92-year-old map.

Try the full-screen option, then zoom in for a much better view. H/T to AtlUrbanist.

Also, check out Atlanta’s 1946 “Highway and Transportation Plan” from Georgia Tech’s College of City and Regional Planning.  The plan  (PDF – 97 pages) is divided into sections related to increasing the efficiency of auto traffic,  improvement of parking facilities, enhancing the transit system and even the need for a passenger rail terminal downtown.

In the opening of the plan section titled “Improvement of the Transit System,” the authors wrote that 

Highway and transportation plan cover
Image: Georgia Tech Library and Information Center

“Public transportation improvements were integrated with all other phases of the study so that the large number of Atlantans using this form of travel might enjoy benefits comparable to those envisioned for motorists.”  But just a few paragraphs later comes this: “Substitution of motor or trolley buses for essentially all streetcars in Atlanta was planned by the Georgia Power Company prior to the start of our study. We have checked this policy against probable future traffic and find it wholly sound.”

Buses had proven “particularly popular with the riding public in Atlanta,” the authors wrote, “and are especially appropriate for this city because of low power costs and the hilly terrain encountered.” They also estimated that a transition from streetcars to trolley buses or motor buses would result in a 20 to 25 percent increase in transit ridership, “other factors remaining constant.”

Even with such “modernization” as switching from electric trolleys to electric or gas-powered buses, the authors were certain that “Atlanta and its traffic will grow to such proportions that subways…not only will be desirable but almost imperative.”

But the subways they envisioned weren’t steel-wheeled vehicles traveling on steel rails:  “These subways would be designed to accommodate trolley buses but otherwise would have all the characteristics of urban rapid transit subways … It is probable that by the time these subways are built it will be practicable to accommodate motor buses in them, if necessary, without excessive cost for the control of fumes.”

Finally, the planners discussed the need for a central terminal to serve the high volume of passenger rail traffic Atlanta was then known for. One of the proposed sites for the terminal was approximately where the downtown railroad gulch now lies. The authors had an ambitious vision for the proposed terminal. “The station could have 10 or more tracks,” they wrote, “with capacity for 18 to 20 passenger cars each.”

Cost projections for the terminal illustrate just how much things have changed : “The cost of the property needed for the proposed station would be approximately $150,000. The construction cost including all track work would be about $4,500,000.”  For comparison, the price tag for a proposed new Amtrak station near Atlantic Station is $39 million.

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