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Aubrey Schield


What to expect on an Atlanta Streetcar ride

More than a year behind schedule and millions over budget, Atlanta Streetcar service should kick off this month. Let’s stress the uncertainty; city representatives will commit to only a vague “by end of year” start. The $100 million project—funded by federal grants, the city, and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District—seems close to completion. Track is installed, the stops are in place, and the cars wait in their shed. What to expect when you finally board.

Made in America
Atlanta’s system uses the first all-U.S.-fabricated streetcars from the German firm Siemens.

Easy Access
The car doors slide open to allow lots of passengers to enter and exit the car quickly. Flush with the platforms, the doors allow those in wheelchairs (or pushing strollers) to board without navigating steps or lifts.

Overhead 750-volt electric cables power the system. Utility work—both over and under the tracks—was a key contributor to construction delays.

The streetcar can reach a speed of 35 miles per hour (which is about the limit for cars on all the roads along its route).

Crowd Capacity
Each car holds up to 195 passengers and includes sixty seats and four dedicated wheelchair spots.

A Free Ride?
No fares will be levied during the streetcar’s first three months of operation. After that, the proposed rate is $1—or $3 for a day of unlimited rides. Ticketing eventually will connect to the MARTA Breeze system.

Shopping Trips
To spur ridership, promote development, and—let’s be honest—prettify vacant storefronts, Central Atlanta Progress launched a pop-up shop campaign. Fourteen retailers, ranging from a dog bakery to an indie record store, are signed up for the program, which runs through August. (Retailers have the option to extend their leases.)

Back to the Future
The last time streetcars ran in downtown Atlanta was 1949.


This article originally appeared in our August 2014 issue under the headline “Never mind the gap.”

Georgia’s poet laurate recognizes young poets with new award

“Poetry is made of language under pressure—words chosen with precision and charged with meaning,” says Judson Mitcham, Georgia’s poet laureate.

This spring, Mitcham and the Georgia Council for the Arts debut the Poet Laureate’s Prize, to be awarded for an original poem written by a state high school student. The award, which will be presented annually, is “designed to bring recognition to the careful art of the written word, which is particularly important in a time that increasingly subordinates word to image,” says Mitcham, who has taught writing at the University of Georgia and Mercer University, run the Emory Summer Writers Program, and been inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

Mitcham himself came to poetry later in life, after earning a PhD in psychology and teaching in that field for thirty years at Fort Valley State University in central Georgia. “An involvement in reading and creating poems can enrich any life, and may be especially important for young people developing skills that can guide them toward understanding themselves and the world,” he says.

The Poet Laureate’s Prize is intended to complement the National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Out Loud contest, which features recitation and is administered here by Georgia Council for the Arts.

The winner
A Quiet History
by Elodie Saint-Louis

These are the things we Rewind
In Order To Halt Time:
cracked VCRs stumbling between the 0:01/0:02,
palms lain flat on the carpet,
pressing into the welcome curve of a book. The slammed doors,
the wine left out in the after,
the elementary loneliness,
the smell of strangers sifting
in the midnight-cranberry-ink of night.

(The Beethoven, the Brahms, the Mozart, the Bach.)

Watching my parents dance under pink-orange light,
the too-loud speakers go straight to my spine.
I watch my father swing my mother
towards happiness, before it disappears
and the gods have their way with us,
before they paint the canvas black again.

The bride is beautiful and
I am reconsidering marriage,
just to feel what it would be like to be
Homecoming Queen,
here, this, in white.

And once I find my mother in the yard, smoking,
a cigarette in her hand
angled down towards the
core of the earth­

pulling weeds to
erase the mistakes.

Saint-Louis, who lives
in metro Atlanta, attends
Harrison High School
in Cobb County.

The finalists

I Still Don’t “Get” Cubism
by Briana Spencer

my hands are caves and I
am always writing about my hands because I
need something to hold on to.
this isn’t repetition, just desperation
and mania is lungs like a coal mine.
everything reflects off snow and I
have night blindness—all I
can see are headlights and mailboxes
and fluorescent lights that turn everything
yellow like a David Fincher movie.
this is the social network, this is discontent,
this is brick walls that are cold in summer
and warm in winter and I
can never decide which is worse.
the line between knowledge and understanding
is a mile of chain-link fence and being
able to hum the alphabet in reverse.
there is a limit on how many times a person
can almost be run over before
it seems like a joke of the nervous system.
robots have wires loose and gas
is too expensive for diamonds
to really matter.

Spencer lives in
Newnan and attends
Northgate High School
in Coweta County.

The Difference Between Now and Then
by Carolyn Williams

I am a reflection in a shop window
looking at the world outside through
opaque lenses dotted with raindrops
and yellow orbs of distant streetlights
in a city reduced to slow-motion breaths and side glances

I am a restaurant on the far side of town,
that post-depression building on the corner of
Eviction Street and No Way Out Boulevard
where the drinks are extra-thick for a reason
and where the clouds hang abnormally low in black,
droopy chunks of regret—
the piano chords speaking to that closed-off portion of your mind like old friends,
the music soothing that bruised piece of your heart
like balm on an open wound

And you . . .
you are the person sitting behind the glass,
thumbs twiddling in your lap
along to the rhythmic thump of the heart
that’s steadily slowing down in your chest,
losing its beat amongst a swirl of
cold lattes and the smell of nicotine and other
unhealthy addictions

You are the stranger on the park bench
sifting through images in your head
with mirror eyes and chapped lips,
the breeze whispering through your ears (and into your thoughts)
like the tide, waves washing away
any memories discarded on the shore,
drifting away as reality flees once more
and you can breathe again

Williams lives in
Thomasville and attends
Scholars Academy
in Thomas County.

birmingham, b.c.
by Jamison Murphy

what we have built on
has swallowed us up;
the fig tree decayed
and the deck bent past breaking,
the bushes now grown
past their old overgrowth,
marble saints buried
and glazed in red clay

the ground that predates us
returns to its origin,
to unconscious growth
and regeneration,
circulates back
to a vast cycle’s end;
payment for some great ancient sin

Murphy lives in
Savannah and attends
Savannah Arts Academy
in Chatham County.

SCADpads transform parking spaces into micro houses

Right now, SCAD Atlanta students and faculty are sleeping in the parking lot of the Atlanta campus’s main building. No, it’s not a dorm crisis or a protest, but an experiment in small living spaces. Each detail of three 135-square-foot “SCADpads” was designed by students, professors, and alums, whose work includes toilets made using 3-D printers, portable fire features, and detailed architectural planning to fit an efficient and compact home into an area the size of a standard parking space.

The tiny homes are intended to explore ways to develop housing in underused parking decks in high-density urban centers: SCAD’s Midtown garage could hold up to 400 of the miniature dwellings. The designs also could serve as future models for emergency and low-cost housing.

Installed in SCAD’s Midtown parking garage in April, the SCADpads include communal open areas that feature a community garden and composting center. Textiles and fibers were used to soften the industrial surfaces and provide built-in artwork. The modular wall system includes integrated storage components.

DragonCon 2009

We went to DragonCon and asked everyone we met the same question: “Why do you come here?” Video interviews by Rebecca Burns

Dream Home Preview 2009

Preview of the Atlanta Magazine Dream Home 2009. Videography by Caroline C. Kilgore.

Candler Park Market

Video of the Candler Park Market, featured in the June 2010 issue of Atlanta magazine. Video by Jamey Guy.

Episode 1


Introducing the Foreclosure to Fabulous project.

DragonCon 09


We toured the convention and asked people: “Why do YOU come to DragonCon?”

Chocolate for a Cause


A day with a local chocolate maker. Video by Daniel O’Leary

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