Skip to content

Your Streetcar Update 2.0

March 9, 2011

Saturday there was a lovely streetcar walking tour held which, despite the awesome weather, was well attended. Thirty-some folks and a puppy braved the rain to walk the length of the streetcar route and learn about the project and everything it takes to build a streetcar in Atlanta. The tour was organized by GA Tech student Jonathan Weidman and hosted by MARTA’s Paul Grether, both of whom are CfPT folks. (Like the shameless plug?)

The start of the tour with a MARTA bus bonus!

A streetcar post left over from the days of old, now a bus stop, and it may get used again for the new streetcar.

Retro MARTA sign on the doors to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

People seem excited about the project, though there’s still some apprehension that it won’t be the fairy dust magic that some claim it will be. I don’t care, it’s new transit in a city that hasn’t seen new infrastructure in a decade.

On Monday, the 7th, the city council voted to approve the additional $9 million to buy brand spanking new cars for the project. Originally the grant proposal budgeted for purchasing refurbished cars, but now we’ll be getting four new Siemens S-70 cars at roughly $4.7 million a piece, which are similar to the Charlotte ones, only shorter. The Streetcar team is currently in Sacramento to discuss how exactly they will look. The city is buying them off of the Utah contract, which saves them the year and $1 million it would take to go through the procurement process themselves from start to finish. We would have been purchasing old Utah cars had the city not come up with e funds.

The additional funds to buy the new cars are coming from a car rental tax the city imposes to fund Phillips Arena, but since this tax generates more money than needed for the upkeep of the arena, there is a reserve account that can be used for the purposes of tourism. I think it’s crucial that the city has new cars. This project needs to be done right, and the new cars have much more of a wow factor to propel the project into the spotlight. And seeing how this is the beginning of a light rail system for Atlanta, which would tie into the Beltline, we need the new cars for the benefit of all future projects. Bravo, Atlanta City Council.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: