A view of a horsecar on Peachtree Street in 1882
A view of a horsecar on Peachtree Street in 1882

Atlanta streetcar, 1910. Pay-as-you-enter cars were being introduced at the time
Atlanta streetcar, 1910. Pay-as-you-enter cars were being introduced at the time

Streetcars originally operated in Atlanta downtown and into the surrounding areas from 1871 until the final line's closure in 1949.

The first such transportation began with horsecars in 1871, and electric streetcar service started in the 1880s.[1] In addition to streetcars in Atlanta proper, there were also interurban railways from Atlanta to outlying towns. The last streetcar service on the old network ended in 1949; the streetcar system was quickly replaced by a trolleybus system and with buses.

After decades of planning, construction of a new streetcar system, the Atlanta Streetcar, began in early 2012.[2] Consisting initially of a single route, this new streetcar line opened in December 2014. Planning for a larger network, including on an abandoned loop of intown rail tracks now known as the BeltLine is under way.

Streetcars 1871–1949

Map of Atlanta's streetcar system in 1924
Map of Atlanta's streetcar system in 1924
Map of Atlanta's streetcar system and other transit in 1946
Map of Atlanta's streetcar system and other transit in 1946

Timeline and streetcar operators

Routes

From 1889–1901, the famed Nine-Mile Circle line ran from Downtown Atlanta to Ponce de Leon Springs and what is now Virginia Highland.

In 1924, Georgia Power operated the following streetcar lines (see map above):[6]

Former interurban lines

Georgia Railway and Power Company ran lines[7] on private rights-of-way from Atlanta to:

Proposed streetcar lines (21st century)

Peachtree

A much longer route along Peachtree Street, the city's main street. Originally, the line was to run from the Oakland City neighborhood through Downtown Atlanta, Midtown and Buckhead. However a more recent (2010) pared-down proposal would run between the Arts Center MARTA station in Midtown and the Five Points MARTA station downtown.[8] In 2015, Buckhead business leaders and city councilpersons successfully had the portion of along Peachtree Rd, from Piedmont Hospital to Lenox Mall, removed from the long range plan.

BeltLine routes

Streetcar routes that would have been funded by 1-cent sales tax, which was voted down in July 2012
Streetcar routes that would have been funded by 1-cent sales tax, which was voted down in July 2012

In July 2012, there was a referendum on a 1-cent sales tax (SPLOST) to fund traffic and road improvements. If it had been approved, the tax would have funded several streetcar routes along portions of the BeltLine trail and connections onto MARTA stations and with the Downtown Loop streetcar. The final list of projects to have been funded included 2 routes:[9]

The earlier proposal in March 2011 included two lines that did not make the final list for the July 2012 vote:

Source:[10][11][12]

The proposal was defeated in the 10-county Metro Atlanta region, as a region 63% against and 37% for.[13] In Fulton and DeKalb Counties the results were 52% against and 48% for.

C-Loop (abandoned concept)

In 2005, MARTA analyzed - in addition to the BeltLine - the "C-Loop" ("C"-shaped rail line) linking Emory University, Lindbergh Center, Atlantic Station, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Dome, the AUC, Turner Field, Grant Park, and proceeding eastward along I-20 to South DeKalb Mall. The route originated from the efforts of Reps. John Lewis, Denise Majette and Cynthia McKinney, who obtained funding from the Dept. of Transportation for a $2 million feasibility study.[14] The concept no longer appears in proposals from the various Georgia transportation authorities, however the part of the route is now part of the Clifton Corridor initiative to build either MARTA rail, light rail, and/or bus rapid transit between Lindbergh and Emory and on to Avondale MARTA station.

Northern Crescent

In June 2011 the Gwinnett, Cobb, and North Fulton Chambers of Commerce held a summit to promote light rail transit in the northern metropolitan area. It was especially remarkable in light of decades-long opposition to rapid transit in the area.[15][16] Proposed routes (see map) would form a "W" and connect:

Modern streetcar line

Main article: Atlanta Streetcar

The Atlanta Streetcar, also known as the Downtown Loop, opened after three years of construction and 18 month of delays on December 30, 2014.[17]

The route runs 2.7 miles (4.3 km) east-west from Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, with tracks that converge at Woodruff Park. The line serves 12 stops.

See also

References

  1. ^ Carson, O. E. (1981). "The Trolley Titans: A Mobile History of Atlanta". Glendale: Interurban Press. ISBN 0916374467. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Jeremiah McWilliams (February 1, 2012). "Atlanta kicks off streetcar construction". Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  3. ^ a b c Carson, O.E. (1981). The Trolley Titans, p. xi. Glendale, CA: Interurban Press.
  4. ^ "Black Boycotts", Ebony, October 1969
  5. ^ "Segregation", The New Georgia Encyclopedia
  6. ^ "Georgia Power timetable". 1924.
  7. ^ Hilton, George W.; Due, John (1960). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press.
  8. ^ Environmental Assessment for the Atlanta Streetcar, prepared by the City of Atlanta and MARTA for the US DOT
  9. ^ "Transportation Investment Act Final Report Approved Investment List Atlanta Roundtable Region" (PDF). pp. 56–57. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2011.
  10. ^ Thomas Wheatley, "Where do you want Beltline transit to go? Here are planners' ideas.", Creative Loafing, February 28, 2011
  11. ^ Thomas Wheatley, "Streetcar, Beltline, MARTA improvements top Atlanta's transportation-tax wishlist", Creative Loafing, March 30, 2011
  12. ^ "Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., "Citywide Briefing on Transit Implementation Strategy & Transportation Investment Act Projects", Feb 17, 2011". beltline.org. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
  13. ^ "GA - Election Results". results.enr.clarityelections.com.
  14. ^ ""Inner Core Feasibility Wrap-Up Report", MARTA, March 2005" (PDF). itsmarta.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  15. ^ "Transit summit of Atlanta's northern suburbs seen as 'breakthrough moment'", Sapota Report, June 8, 2011
  16. ^ Sydney Busby, "Leaders Discuss Proposed Light Rail System", Acworth Patch, June 11, 2011
  17. ^ Shapiro, Jonathan (December 30, 2014). "Will Residents Use The New Atlanta Streetcar?". WABE 90.1 FM. Retrieved January 2, 2015.