Review: Atlanta Streetcar
A fter attending a seminar in downtown Atlanta on what turned out to be an overcast yet mild day, I had some spare time and decided to walk several blocks and ride as a passenger on the new Atlanta Streetcar, which has been in operation for approximately one year.
Atlanta Streetcar Experience
I boarded the streetcar at the Peachtree Center station, as it had conveniently arrived just as I arrived. All stations are located outdoors.
The streetcar had few people on it when I boarded; but at one point along the way, it did get fairly crowded with passengers.
There were a few stations along the way where the streetcar inexplicably spent at least five minutes despite no activity amongst passengers either boarding onto — or disembarking from — the streetcar.
The seats were not the most comfortable; but they sufficed. They were similar to seats which you might find inside of a bus or subway car.
Digital signage consisting of light emitting diodes flashed variable messages — the most important of which was what was the next stop of the streetcar…
…although one can hardly get lost.
The streetcar follows a pseudo-figure-eight layout. If you happen to be at Park Place and your destination is Woodruff Park, you would save plenty of time walking one block than riding on the streetcar for seven stops, as it only moves in one direction.
One of the stops at which the streetcar spent an inordinate amount of time was Centennial Olympic Park, at which one of the attractions located nearby is the giant ferris wheel known as SkyView Atlanta. I have yet to experience that ferris wheel.
Centennial Olympic Park is at the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
I am not sure why there is a number 101 in the windshield, as there is only one route. Perhaps it is to identify that particular streetcar on which I rode as a passenger?
In order to accommodate the streetcar, tracks had to be installed in existing streets.
In some cases, traffic shares the street with the streetcar — such as on Andrew Young International Boulevard Northwest, as shown above…
…while in the case of Ellis Street Northwest, no traffic is permitted except for the streetcar.
New road signs were installed around the area of the route of the streetcar.
Here is a sign on Ellis Street Northwest at the corner of Carnegie Way Northwest alerting traffic not to enter into the streetcar lane. Note the yellow diagonal warning sign with a graphic of a streetcar.
This is a closer view of the yellow diagonal warning sign alerting motorists and pedestrians that an active track for streetcars is nearby.
This sign for motorists is rather self-explanatory.
Motorists need to ensure that their vehicles do not block the path of the streetcar when they are parked on the street.
Attractions and Points of Interest
The Atlanta Streetcar passes a number of attractions, art galleries and parks along its route, which are listed below. Additionally, it also passes many restaurants, hotels, places to shop, companies, educational institutions, libraries, and even a hospital, which you can easily find with this interactive map.
- Georgia Aquarium
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- CNN Center
- Georgia Dome
- Georgia World Congress Center
- Philips Arena
- The World of Coca-Cola
- Historic Oakland Cemetery
- MLK, Jr. Birth Home
- Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church
- MLK, Jr. National Historic Site
- Georgia State Capitol
- Pemberton Place
- Meehan’s Public House
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Hurt Park
- Robert W. Woodruff Park
- Rialto Center for the Arts
- APEX Museum
- Balzer Theater at Herren’s
- The Tabernacle
- Imagine IT! Children’ Museum of Atlanta
- City Segway Tours of Atlanta
- Youth Art Connection Gallery
- Canvases Cabernet & Merlot
Here is a map of the route which the streetcar — whose service was officially launched on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 — follows; as well as the list of attractions you can visit near its route:
|Monday through Thursday||6:00 in the morning through 11:00 in the evening|
|Friday||6:00 in the morning through 1:00 in the morning|
|Saturday||8:30 in the morning through 1:00 in the morning|
|Sunday||9:00 in the morning through 11:00 in the evening|
Streetcars run approximately every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on ridership demand and traffic conditions.
If you want to be able to ride on the streetcar but are unable to do so in 2015, the fares for the Atlanta Streetcar listed below are expected to be effective as of Friday, January 1, 2016.
|One Way Trip||Price|
|Child — Up to two children, 46 inches and under with a paid adult*||$0.00|
|One Day Pass||$3.00|
|Weekly Pass — seven days||$11.00|
|Monthly Pass — 30 days||$40.00|
|Visitor Pass — five days||$10.00|
*Children’s Fares: two children up to 46 inches tall can travel at no cost with a paid adult. Each additional child must pay the adult fare. School groups and others traveling with more than two children should contact the Atlanta Streetcar to make special arrangements for travel.
If you would like to ride as a passenger on the Atlanta Streetcar free of charge, you only have until Thursday, December 31, 2015 to do so before the fare of $1.00 per one-way trip is implemented.
The original budget for the Atlanta Streetcar projected $304,000.00 in revenue from ticket sales, which obviously is not going to happen due to the free rides for all of 2015. Private, philanthropic support and operational savings will supposedly offset these funds. Although a dollar will hardly break anyone’s budget, it would be nice if the fare remained free of charge for passengers, in my opinion, as I believe it would help to boost the economy in the area in which the streetcar serves.
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.