Atlanta's Streetcar Project Is Underway
The Streetcar will connect the eastern and western districts of downtown Atlanta, previously separated by the interstate highway “connector” for more than 50 years and provide access to numerous popular attractions and services.
The last time Atlanta residents heard the rumble of a streetcar, Harry S. Truman was president. The Volkswagen Beetle hit our shores and car culture was on the rise. Today, Atlanta city officials are hoping its citizens and visitors will once again park the car and hop on board the new Atlanta Streetcar.
In an effort to revitalize downtown, generate tourism and create jobs, the Streetcar Project officially broke ground in late 2012 but only recently laid its first tracks.
“Our goal is to complete three blocks of track in three weeks,” said City of Atlanta Director of Communications Reese McCranie. “That way, local businesses are inconvenienced as little as possible and it keeps us on track, so to speak, for our 2014 deadline.”
Each section of rail is approximately 80 feet in length and weighs 3,040 pounds.
The streetcar line will include 12 stops providing access to popular attractions and destinations such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Georgia State University, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and the historic Auburn Avenue corridor, and the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. The line also reconnects the two halves of downtown that were disconnected by freeway construction and will also directly connect with MARTA’s rail and bus systems, and will eventually connect to the Atlanta Beltline.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled at the progress and the preliminary design of the cars has exceeded our expectations,” said McCranie.
The total cost is a projected $59 million and will also incorporate new bicycle lanes, upgraded sidewalks and enhanced pedestrian environments designed to make the streetcar, MARTA routes as well as numerous downtown businesses and services more accessible.
The Atlanta Streetcar project is a cooperative effort by the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) and MARTA. The 2.7-mile line expects to stimulate revenue in the millions of dollars for new residential, office and retail development.