The Streetcar Commute – as tested by Rebecca Burns

 

There has been much Streetcar talk, both pro (by those who don’t want to be blocked by the Mayor on twitter) and con (by those who have been blocked and thus have nothing to lose), and thus there has been a real paucity of coverage about what service the Streetcar actually provides. But champion of the untold story Rebecca Burns has, like the streetcar, glided into view bell a-tolling to put the blue bandit through its (leisurely) paces.

Perhaps a secondary test is in order: read her piece on the Streetcar during your commute. Not so fast, those behind the wheel.

22 comments

  1. gcp says:

    98 million? Should have put Macy’s Pink Pig over there. Would have been a lot cheaper and would have more riders.

  2. Harvey Davis says:

    It is easy and convenient to shoot darts at the Atlanta Streetcar. It is difficult to discern how much of it is motivated by anti-Atlanta sentiment or well meaning but incorrect and shortsighted criticism.

    1) What people outside the perimeter (OTP) forget, whether they choose to accept it or not is no matter how vibrant the suburbs have become, were it not for Atlanta, Georgia would be another Alabama.

    2) The Streetcar is a catalyst for current but more significantly future economic development and I suspect many critics have not traveled out of Georgia to see the renaissance that other metropolitan streetcars have spurred. It is that future investment whose full value will not manifest itself immediately and its purpose it to serve tourists and those who frequent downtown and not those residents and political pundits OTP.

      • androidguybill says:

        @gcp:

        First off, no it wasn’t. The idea that ITP is this tax drain on the productive people OTP is a pernicious lie. The reality is that ITP contains some of the highest incomes, largest employers and most vital institutions in the state. Which, of course, means that ITP money gets redistributed elsewhere. Maybe not to OTP metro Atlanta, but most certainly to areas outside rural Atlanta. Look, if Atlanta has been funding MARTA all by itself for 30 years to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, what makes you think that it needs less than $100 million to fund a streetcar?

        • gcp says:

          47 million in federal funding for a tourist attraction. This thing does not take people to Clayton or Dekalb County or anywhere but a two mile loop. Its nothing but a toy for city politicians; no more.

          • benevolus says:

            Tourist money is the best money. It’s money we are bringing in from elsewhere. Otherwise we are just recycling our own money. This is why our decline as a major convention destination is such a tragedy.

    • Harry says:

      See, this is what we find so ridiculous, the assumption of certain of you ITP that we OTP wish ill of Atlanta. Nothing could be further from the truth. Try to separate your defensive feelings about Atlanta from the streetcar. It really does have some kinks that need be worked out. The proof is in the skimpy ridership even before the fares kick in. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad investment. With further expansion and being operated over long stretches with few stops at near top design speed along designated restricted corridors, it can be a relatively cheap and efficient mode of transport. Of course, we’re a long way from that, and the initial circuit was poorly planned. However, it can be a worthy goal to further develop for the future but only if implemented with skill and common sense.

      • Andrew C. Pope says:

        Agreed that the initial circuit is underwhelming. I thought the Peachtree Streetcar would have been a better project to fund and construct first but, no one listens to a random dude on the Internet.

        I think we’ll see ridership pick up as the weather gets warmer and downtown welcomes more tourist traffic. This thing was built with visitors in mind. Maybe if downtown begins to develop a denser residential population (with Georgia State’s continued expansion, this actually seems like a possibility) the streetcar will have better usage among locals. But for now, and the foreseeable future, this thing is here to shuttle tourists around to all the different sights in Downtown.

  3. saltycracker says:

    #1 Spell check, believe it is Airport not Atlanta.
    Would you elect those decision makers today ?

  4. blakeage80 says:

    Any other tram I’ve ever been on will let a passenger out upon request, when the car is stopped for a prolonged period. Is it too much to ask drivers and passengers to use common sense in that regard? I don’t know if long range this things is supposed to be a good commuter option or not, but it’s not a bad idea. Drivers just need to get used to it.

    • Andrew C. Pope says:

      Common sense is great. Getting sued and having to defend yourself with the “well the guy should have exercised common sense” is not as great. Only letting passengers alight at designated stations is the smart move from a liability perspective.

  5. androidguybill says:

    @Harry:

    “See, this is what we find so ridiculous, the assumption of certain of you ITP that we OTP wish ill of Atlanta.”

    Have you ever stopped to consider that this “assumption” is due to the words and actions of the OTP people? Harry, we do listen to local talk radio ITP. We also read the comments in the AJC. We also read the columns and news articles in the Marietta Daily Journal and the other suburban newspapers. And we can also see the bills filed annually by Jan Jones and her contingent. And we can also remember that not so long ago, before the Georgia GOP started electing more conciliatory (former Democrats) like Sonny Perdue and Nathan Deal, the Georgia GOP – largely elected by the OTP crowd – used to have such great ideas like having the state take over Hartsfield, shutting down (or privatizing) Grady Hospital and MARTA, and building downtown bypass highway to the northern suburbs through (and thereby destroying) Atlanta’s vital Auburn Avenue district (you know, the area where the streetcar now runs, and is now attracting hundreds of millions in redevelopment, new businesses and other private investment).

    Yes, I am aware that there are a lot of ITP types who have similar hatred for OTP. Still, if you want the assumptions that the ITP have towards the OTP to change, the words and behavior of the OTP towards the ITP needs to change.

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