The Livable Communities Coalition

Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth

Monthly Archives: October 2010

No good deed goes uncontested

Critics are grumping about news of the long-awaited return of streetcars to Atlanta streets.  One observer writes, “Honk if you’ll still be stuck in traffic after we build this.”

Well, of course.

Atlanta’s first modern streetcar line is slammed by some because the $72 million streetcar line will run only between Centennial Olympic Park and the King Center and draw only 2,600 weekday riders.

But then that’s the funny thing about networks, including transportation networks.  One link doesn’t make a network.  Yet there is no other way to begin.  Metro Atlanta has to start somewhere.

Atlanta’s first modern streetcar is meant to be a link, connecting to the future streetcar line that will run north-south along Peachtree Street; to the BeltLine along Edgewood Avenue; and to other lines yet to be designed, all the while delivering riders to destinations along its route and to MARTA rail and bus stops.

Colleagues in cities like Portland tell us that their first links were criticized, too. Kudos to Mayor Reed, to Central Atlanta Progress and to MARTA for their vision and for securing the grant that enables the first step.

It’s not about one link.  It’s about the network.