Atlanta Streetcar operations delayed until November

The Atlanta Streetcar will not begin operations until November, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).

The streetcar was to debute in June, The Signal reported. However cost overruns, relocating utilities and issues with the overhead cable system have delayed completion, according to the AJC.

“Atlanta Streetcar Director Tim Borchers said Tuesday it could take up to four more months to finish all tasks on the project’s checklist, if no other delays arise,” the AJC states. “Speaking to an Atlanta City Council committee Tuesday, Borchers said the system still requires several layers of testing and approvals from MARTA, state and federal authorities.”

Sharon Gavin, Communications Director for the Atlanta Streetcar, The Federal Transit Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation have to sign-off once the streetcar’s testing is complete.

Gavin also said despite operational delays there are still investments being made along the streetcar’s 2.7-mile route.

“There are business investments being made along the route, and there’s a grant known as the Facade Improvement Program, which gives businesses along the route three months of free rent,” she said. “This will help the businesses’ outside view more attractive. There are pop-up shops being built in the Auburn area and the grant will help these businesses as well.”

There has been negative feedback since the push-back was announced. However Mayor Kasim Reid also plans for the streetcar to be fully functional by 2014, according to Gavin.

“There may be some negativity because of the push-back, but we have to make sure to operate the best streetcar system. We won’t settle for being second rate, and we have to make it as safe as possible,” she said.

Jameka Byrom, public relations major at Georgia State, says she has questions about the streetcar being delayed.

“I do wonder why the dates are being pushed back for the streetcar. Maybe they want to make sure it’s safe, ” Byrom said.

Commuter student, Marcus Green, said he is ready for the streetcar to make traveling easier.

“When I first heard about the streetcar, I thought it was a good idea. I’m ready for another mode of transportation. I’m not upset about the opening date being changed, I just feel that the streetcar is long overdue. Not to mention how driving downtown with construction going on isn’t fun,” he said.

Additional information and updates about the streetcar can be found on Atlanta Streetcar’s official website.