The Downtown Loop is the Phase 1 of the Atlanta Streetcar project, which is planning to expand onto the BeltLine surrounding central Atlanta. It was planned to start service in late spring of 2014, but was delayed. Testing on the line began in summer 2014 with passenger service beginning as scheduled on December 30, 2014.
The project is the first regular passenger streetcar service in Atlanta since the original Atlanta streetcars were phased out in 1949.
The Downtown Loop runs Script error: No such module "convert". east-west, serving 12 stops, from Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, with tracks that converge at Woodruff Park. The route provides access to MARTA heavy rail lines at Peachtree Center. The vehicle maintenance facility is located under the I-75/I-85 overpass on Edgewood Ave.
The exact route is:
- From the King Historic Site at Jackson St. and Auburn Ave., westbound along Auburn Ave. to Peachtree St.
- North on Peachtree St., stopping at Peachtree Center MARTA station, to Ellis St.
- West on Ellis St. to Carnegie Way
- Northwest on Carnegie Way to Andrew Young International Blvd.
- West on Andrew Young International Blvd. to Centennial Olympic Park Dr.
- South on Centennial Olympic Park Dr. to Luckie St.
- Southeast on Luckie St., crossing Peachtree St. to Park Place.
- South on Park Place to Edgewood Ave.
- East on Edgewood Ave. to Jackson St.
- North on Jackson St. to Auburn Ave.
The Atlanta Streetcar system uses Siemens S70 light rail vehicles (LRVs). A total of four S70 cars were purchased. They were delivered in the first months of 2014 and are numbered 1001–1004.
Atlanta Streetcar, Inc.
Atlanta Streetcar, Inc. (ASC) is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 with the mission to bring streetcars back to downtown Atlanta. ASC's board members include the leaders of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, MARTA, Georgia World Congress Center, Buckhead Community Improvement District, Buckhead Coalition, Underground Atlanta, Central Atlanta Progress, Woodruff Arts Center, and many local corporate business leaders as well.
Peachtree Corridor Partnership
In the summer of 2007, a new privately funded group called the Peachtree Corridor Partnership was formed, with the goal of determining how best to move forward the proposed rebuilding of Peachtree Street as a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. The addition of a modern streetcar line was (and remains) one of the main components of the proposed transformation of the corridor, so many of the board members of ASC became members of the Peachtree Corridor Task Force, and the partnership eventually replaced the function of ASC as the organization advocating for a streetcar line along Peachtree Street.
In July 2009, the Atlanta city council approved funding a feasibility study to work out certain details of the proposed streetcar line in time to apply for federal economic-stimulus funds for the construction of a such a line. However, several council members later expressed doubts over whether the remainder of the funding necessary to bring the project to fruition was likely, particularly during a time of recession.
Downtown Loop route funded
In September 2010, it was announced that Phase I of the Atlanta Streetcar Project had received $47 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II funding. The funding represents 8% of the overall TIGER II allotment, and will fund the construction of the downtown loop, not the Peachtree Corridor line, which is now regarded as Phase V of the project.
In May 2011, Siemens announced that it had won the $17.2 million contract to build the four streetcars that will run on the Downtown Connector line. They would be based on the company's S70 light rail vehicle platform, built in Florin, California, but with major components, including the propulsion system, assembled at Siemens’ Alpharetta plant in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
In February 2012, the city announced that the budget would increase from $70 million to $90 million. The city attributed the increase to:
- about $9 million to purchase newer and more expensive streetcars that could last 20 years longer than the refurbished ones that were originally planned to be purchased
- $4 million so that the Atlanta Regional Commission's Livable Centers Initiative could provide grants for sidewalk improvements and bicycle lanes.
- Additional work by the water department to move water and sewer pipes
Construction and opening
Groundbreaking for the project took place on February 1, 2012. At that time, the line was projected to open in May 2013, but various delays pushed the opening back, first to summer 2014 and later to December. The first two S70 streetcars were delivered in February 2014 and began test runs on the line in the spring.
- Light rail in the United States
- Streetcars in North America
- Nine-Mile Circle streetcar line to Virginia Highland
- Timeline of mass transit in Atlanta
- Veronica Griffin (February 17, 2014). "Atlanta Streetcar makes a small detour". CBS46 News (WorldNow and WGCL-TV). Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "Revenue service update". Atlanta Streetcar. June 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
- David Wickert (December 30, 2014). "Atlanta streetcar takes first trip". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
- Thomas Wheatley (December 23, 2014). "Atlanta Streetcar to start passenger service on Tuesday". Creative Loafing Atlanta. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
- Keith Laing (December 23, 2014). "Fed-supported Atlanta streetcar to open Dec. 30". The Hill. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
- "Atlanta Streetcar Enters Service". Passenger Transport (American Public Transportation Association). January 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
- "Atlanta meets New Year deadline: Streetcars return to the streets of Georgia after a 65-year break". Tramways & Urban Transit (UK: LRTA Publishing). February 2015. p. 53.
- "A Better Way to Get Around". Atlanta Streetcar. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
- Josh Green (February 26, 2014). "How The Atlanta Streetcar Loop Looks Right Now". Curbed Atlanta (Vox Media Inc.). Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- Douglas John Bowen (May 14, 2013). "MARTA revises Atlanta streetcar contract". Railway Age (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc.). Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- Gregory Wallace (November 1, 2012). "Downtown streetcar construction on track". Atlanta INtown Paper (Springs Publishing LLC). Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "Where Will the Streetcar Go?". Atlanta Streetcar. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Atlanta Streetcar. July 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "Worldwide Review (regular news section)". Tramways & Urban Transit (UK: LRTA Publishing). April 2014. p. 175.
- "Board of Directors". Atlanta Streetcar, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
- "Collaboration to build a 'destination street'". Peachtree Corridor Partnership. 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Williams, Dave (July 20, 2009). "Atlanta City Council OKs streetcar study". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Williams, Dave (October 12, 2009). "Council members question streetcar funding". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Thomas Whaeatley (May 22, 2011). "Downtown streetcar to be built by Siemens". Creative Loafing.
- Jeremiah McWilliams (February 1, 2012). "Atlanta kicks off streetcar construction". Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- DeLoach, Doug (March 30, 2012). "Atlanta Streetcar design-build phase begins". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
- "Atlanta streetcar breaks ground". Railway Gazette International. February 21, 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atlanta Streetcar.|
- Atlanta Streetcar – official website
- Peachtree Corridor Partnership homepage
- Environmental Assessment for the Atlanta Streetcar, prepared by the City of Atlanta and MARTA for the US DOT
- Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., "Citywide Briefing on Transit Implementation Strategy & Transportation Investment Act Projects", Feb 17, 2011