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The Atlanta Streetcar is delayed—again. While it looked like the $100 million project might be up and rolling in late summer, the new target date is November. After ballooning budget issues and multiple delays...
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.
If everything had gone according to schedule, we’d all have been riding the Atlanta Streetcar for months now. While the start date for the light rail system is still uncertain, the track, stops, and other infrastructural elements are in place. To promote the (eventual) launch of the system, the City of Atlanta and Central Atlanta Progress are hosting a 5K race along the route this Saturday. The race is sponsored by Siemens, the manufacturer of the streetcars that will (eventually) glide through downtown Atlanta.
Good news, MARTA riders: Much-needed service increases will roll out over the next three days. Starting Saturday, May 17, approximately 17 bus routes will run more frequently; see a detailed list of changes here. Beginning Monday, May 19, peak-hour wait times for trains—between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays—will be reduced to five minutes on the “trunk” (before the lines split) and 10 minutes on the “branches.” From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, you’re looking at a six-minute wait on the trunk and 12 minutes on the branches.
Sure, the project is over budget and behind schedule and the exact details of who’s going to run it remain in limbo, but today the Atlanta Streetcar project reached a construction milestone as the last track concrete was poured—at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Sweet Auburn.
The Atlanta Streetcar has always been a tough sell on paper—even before construction challenges delayed its projected opening a year, to spring 2014. Just 1.3 miles end to end, the route passes through blighted city blocks and is book-ended by the tourist hubs of Centennial Olympic Park and the King district, leading skeptics to wonder how ordinary Atlantans will benefit.
If you were hoping for a Ferris wheel and fireworks combo, you’re out of luck: SkyView Atlanta won’t open in time for Fourth of July.