Beltline vs. Streetcars

To offset my previous entry with a smidge of positivity:

Beltline vs. Streetcars
~ or ~
Beltline + Streetcars
~ or ~
Neither, let’s talk about ________________ instead.

Discuss.

16 Comments so far

  1. atlkortez (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

    Well,orginally being from New Orleans, and a rider of the streetcars down there, I have to say, they are nice. I know that there are a good amount of people ride it to work, to school and around town. I just dont know if street cars would really be worth it here in Atlanta. Now public transit is so much more different than street cars. Just seems to be more ‘fun’ I would say. Open air, more quaint I would say, and seems to be more geared to tourists. That being said, I dont think that you can justify having street cars to keep traffic down in dwntown ATL. I can’t see it really working well enough.


  2. George Burdell (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

    Fill in the Blank Answer: Boobies!!!!


  3. Deb (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

    I say both. I think they can work. street cars would be nice for me because I work off of peachtree downtown but I need to go to Crawford long to see a DR every few months or so. Instead of having to take a train (which only comes every 15 minutes during the day) taking a street car that stops right by the hospital would be nice.

    And the Beltline with transit should be nice. Again, these things don’t have to (and aren’t meant to) replace public transit (which I take) but to compliment it and provide options. I’m all for it.


  4. Will (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    Both. And hurry!


  5. joneswak (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 1:41 am

    Let’s face it – the streetcar really doesn’t cover any new ground. It goes right above the N-S Marta line. The beltline, on the other hand, allows a huge number of people to leave their cars at home. The streetcar would be nifty, fun, neat…but the beltline would truly transform parts this city.


  6. chutney (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    Can I vote for Beltline + Streetcars + Boobies?


  7. ed (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 9:49 am

    If I only can vote for one, its boobies.


  8. abby (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    Big fan of public transit all around. And atlkortez, I went to school in nola and took the streetcar to get to work. Completely enamored of it.

    It would be good for tourists (shockingly enough, the “Atlanta Tourist Loop” bus line doesn’t seem to be bringing in the crowds), and clearly has the charm and view. But it would, as jones says, run along right the MARTA line. Doesn’t seem to be the best investment to put a competing transit option in a city where people prefer their cars.

    On the other hand, the Beltline would be great for the people that live here (provided that we can get ourselves out of those cars). And I just found out that starting April 13th, “the BeltLine Partnership will offer free bus tours of the BeltLine to the public every Friday and Saturday morning from 9:15a.m. – 12:30 p.m. All tours will depart and return to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA Station.” http://beltline.org/newsEvents/eventsCalendar.shtml

    seems like a good way to get people excited about it. Is anyone interested?


  9. Deb (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 10:51 am

    I think the people who are saying that because the street car runs roughly the same route as the North south train line it is a bad idea, are missing the point. A stree car is FAR more flexible that a train because it doesn’t have to wait for a station to stop. Plus you save time because you don’t have to walk to the station and then go underground. Plus, it is better than a bus, if it has it’s own lane, because it can’t get stuck in traffic. While the street car may NOT stop people from driving to the city (although I think it would to some extent) it may well get them to stop driving once they are IN the city. Got a doctor’s appointment during the work day? Don’t drive, take the street car. Want to go someplace for lunch? Don’t drive, take the streetcar. These are things that are hard to do now using MARTA due to the infruency of the service during the day and they fact that you might then have to walk a bit to get to and from the station.


  10. Stephen (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

    Deb, it’s that “has its own lane” which bothers me about the streetcar.

    I drive Peachtree to and from work every day. You pretty much can’t drive in the left lane already because people are trying to turn left and blocking it for minutes at a time. You try to avoid the right lane because of the MARTA buses. So you can really only drive in the middle lane.

    If you shrink Peachtree from three to two lanes in each direction to add streetcars, you’re DRASTICALLY limiting the throughput. The streetcars may be blithely sailing up and down the edges, but the car-centric middle will be horrendous gridlock.

    And please, no one chime in with the attitude “Good! Let the SUV-driving suburbanites choke in their own fumes!” Because (1) those suburbanites don’t necessarily have any other practical way of getting to work since MARTA is a sparse network, not a grid, and (2) we’re all breathing those fumes, whether we live ITP or not…


  11. Marty (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

    While the Peachtree Streetcar would pretty much track Marta rail downtown and Midtown, on Peachtree north of the MARTA Arts Center Station, it would cover new ground all the way up to Buckhead.


  12. Deb (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

    I understand your point Stephen but if you don’t give it it’s own lane, then to me, there isn’t a point and it will get stuck in traffic and then people don’t use it and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t have an easy answer but maybe it will make people think twice before they drive to work because they want to, not because they need to. I work right off of Peachtree (270 Peachtree NW) downtown so I know what traffic can be like. But frankly if we have a streetcar, they should cut back on MARTA bus service (the Peach) on Peachtree. They should also put some “cuts” in to allow the buses to pull off and not block traffic.


  13. Stephen (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

    “if you don’t give it it’s own lane, then to me, there isn’t a point and it will get stuck in traffic and then people don’t use it and yadda yadda yadda.”

    PRECISELY!

    So… don’t do a hardwired streetcar. And don’t do more behemoth MARTA buses that block traffic and sightlines and spew fumes into sidewalk cafes. And for gossakes don’t do more heavy rail that costs a million dollars per foot or whatever.

    How about jitneys? LOTS of vehicles, hundreds of them, that only seat eight or ten passengers, but they’re running ALL the time. Think minivan. A minute or so between them. GPS enabled to your cellphone. Wave your cellphone at a reader to pay, so you don’t need change or tokens or a Breeze card. Brand them MARTA if you like. Dress them up to be picturesque to tourists if you like. Make them electrically-powered if you like… no fumes, no noise.

    Flood the streets with these and see if people will actually use transit that’s cheap, convenient, friendly, and frequent.

    If not… to heck with the idea and wait for jetpacks. But we’ll save a lot of money on streetcars and trolleys and buses and rail and what not.


  14. Stephen (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

    PS — none of my comments apply to the Beltline, which is going to use abandoned/underutilized RAILROAD rights of way… not interfering with automotive traffic. Put trolleys there, sure. I’d suggest self-powered rubber-wheeled trolleys which begin to sound a lot like busses, but heck, let the civil engineers figure that one out. But build it!


  15. james (unregistered) on April 6th, 2007 @ 10:15 am

    stephen, i am with you on all. as for the beltline trolleys as long as the don’t LOOK like buses we’re fine.

    if they look like buses, no one will ride them.


  16. abby (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    I guess this might be why Maigh brough this issue up — but Creative Loafing had an article on the streetcar last week. http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A223950

    This was the most interesting part to me —
    “Though only 25,000 people – roughly 5 percent of Atlanta’s population – live within the few blocks flanking Peachtree Street, more than 50 percent of the city’s jobs and a third of its retail shops are located there.”

    Also, I was thinking about when I used to waitress at a restaurant downtown. A huge percentage of our customer base was tourists and conventioners. People would ask us where to head after lunch or dinner. My responses varied widely depending on who was asking, but it would always start with “get in a taxi — you can’t get anywhere on foot from here.” Not the most ringing endorsement of our fair city, but unfortunately true. A streetcar would make a huge difference for the thousands of tourists staying in midtown and downtown hotels, and for the 50% of Atlanta’s workers.



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