The Atlanta streetcars have arrived

From Feb. 17-18 , the Atlanta streetcars will be delivered via semi-truck to the Atlanta Streetcar Vehicle Maintenance Facility on the corner of Fort Street and Edgewood Avenue. 

Around the facility, police are signaling detours for drivers and pedestrians to ensure safety while the streetcars are brought in.

Street car construction continues to alter traffic around Atlanta.
Street car construction continues to alter traffic around Atlanta.

The streetcars were manufactured in Sacramento, California, and Alpharetta, Georgia, by Siemens, who have built 1000 rail vehicles for 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Sharon Gavin, the communications director for the Atlanta Streetcar, said this was a historic day for the city.

“Atlanta had a street car back in the early days up until about the 1940s. It’s what really grew Atlanta,” Gavin said. “Now one of the reasons why street cars are being brought back is because with streetcars you build into the infrastructure of the city, and therefore they are not changeable and they help to revitalize downtown areas.”

Jacob Knight-Thomas, a sophomore political science major at Georgia State, says he sees the potential transportation opportunities that the streetcar will bring.

“It is a very powerful tool for urban development being that it gives other areas access to other parts of the city at a cheaper and affordable cost,” Knight-Thomas said.

Pamela Joiner, the general manager for the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, believes the streetcar will increase commerce for her business which is located near a stop on the Edgewood entrance.

“I think it’s going to bring traffic to the market that has before been off limits because it used to be so far to walk and not too many people want to venture that far off of Peachtree Street,” Joiner said. “I think it is going to be a huge boom to the market’s merchants which are lease based. They are all individually owned businesses leased inside the market.”

For example, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market is currently developing  bookmarks for local hotels for out-of-town guests.

“As far as I know, we are the only stop where you can get out and there is food right there. Every place else it stops where you want to eat you can find them but you have to walk to it,” Joiner said.

According to Sharon Gavin, the streetcars will be tested in April and should be open for service in late spring around May or June.