Atlanta Streetcar falls short of initial ridership projections, but the future is bright

Submitted by Ingrid on Mon, 04/10/2017 - 10:35

According to the Streetsblog website, the Atlanta Streetcar, which is routed on a 2.7-mile loop around the downtown Atlanta area, had been projected to carry 2000 passengers per day, but currently only carries 700. See the Streetsblog report at this link.

What's next for the Atlanta Streetcar system?

According to the Atlanta Streetcar site, the Atlanta Streetcar is planned as a key part of a new system of local and regional transportation. Additional phases will expand that service even farther. In November 2016, Atlanta voters authorized funding for a $2.6B expansion of MARTA. The list of projects to be funded by the referendum includes 48 miles of new light rail and streetcar transit. Currently, more than 16 of those expansion miles are undergoing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation in preparation for future project delivery.

What is causing the shortfall of riders?

The Streetsblog site asserts that the streetcars stop too frequently, and often get stuck in street traffic which makes the service unreliable. The City of Atlanta takes a different view, saying that the level of ridership is in-line with expectations, and that other factors, like the new $1 charge, are affecting ridership. The city also points out that additional phases will expand over 50 miles of Streetcar service connecting communities and destinations along on-street corridors and the Atlanta BeltLine.

What are the advantages of the Atlanta Streetcar?

According to the City of Atlanta, the Streetcar has been a real boost for economic development, prompting more than $1.5 billion in new economic activity has occurred very near the route, including a new $96 million apartment building, being developed by Post Properties. Future phases of the project will be instrumental in creating a citywide network of transit options.

The Atlanta Weinstein attorneys support the development of mass transit in all of its forms

Yes, while ridership may be lagging, the cost is significant, and the future phases of the project are not complete, we are fully supportive of any additional mass-transit systems we can get. Atlanta traffic is some of the worst in the nation, and people are getting injured and killed in collisions daily. A vibrant and growing metropolitan city of Atlanta's caliber deserves a world-class transportation system.