Beltline Streetcar, Second of Two Posts

In an earlier post, I considered the case against allowing MARTA to extend the Atlanta Streetcar along the Eastside Beltline. Now this week’s news from the AJC:

Atlanta will close Irwin Street/Lake Avenue between Krog Street and Auburn Avenue/Sampson Street from Monday through next Sunday to study how it affects traffic in the area. The city and MARTA will evaluate the affect on surrounding neighborhoods and businesses to assess the impact of closing the stretch of road permanently for the streetcar extension.

What might be a case for the proposal?

I suppose the argument has to be this: the gain for the city would be enough to offset any losses.

Supporters no doubt believe that this first step would lead to others, so that ultimately streetcars would run the entire loop. Prefer to walk on the Westside Beltline on any given day? Hop on the streetcar. Meeting someone in Buckhead for lunch? Hop on the streetcar.

That’s fewer cars on the road. Less pollution from gas-powered engines. Smaller parking lots.

Ryan Gravel, the man who had the inspiration for the Beltline, has some helpful thoughts on how light rail can be done right. His recommendations:

  1. Keep it free-flowing
  2. Make it grass track
  3. Build the future for everyone
  4. Put your political capital into Hulsey

Read more on his own blog.

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