I’ve just spent a moment or two reading an article about Atlanta’s new streetcar project, written by my twitter pal, Thomas Wheatley. While Mr. Wheatley was tragically born without a face and has fashioned a macabre series of masks out of poster paper and sticks in order to make up for it (and to frighten the elderly), he is nevertheless an asset to our fair city, and his minor eccentricities should be overlooked.
The same can be said about the streetcar project. Sure, it only covers a small area, but if you look at the map in the linked article, you’ll see that it will travel along Edgewood, stopping a mere one block short of Edgewood’s intersection with Boulevard, where the city’s bike lane parking championships are held daily.
When talking about the project, Mayor Kasim Reed makes a strong point, in my view, that the streetcar will mostly be ridden by out of town guests to the city. If I may quote the Cup o’Wheat:
WHO’S GONNA RIDE IT? At first, mostly out-of-towners. Mayor Kasim Reed says the route links two of the city’s main tourist destinations: the district that includes the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park and the future Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the King Center, which serves more visitors each year than Bernie Marcus’ giant fish tank.
This makes perfect sense. Like your Cheryl’s new hairdo, the change isn’t necessarily for you. It’s more for other women to see and appreciate, and if ever a city needed a new hairdo, it is ours.
Apparently some business owners along the route are concerned that the construction will create delays and parking problems, potentially hurting their businesses, but I’m not sure this will be an issue considering the fact that Edgewood is one of the very most craptacular road surfaces in the city already. It’s comprised nearly entirely of steel plates and potholes as it is. I’m not convinced that digging it up will represent a discernible change in driveability, nor would the addition of fire-breathing lizards or robot zombies I’m sure.
I’ve heard my friends Kyle and Abby both say that they’ve given up on riding down Edgewood entirely because it is a pockmarked hellscape akin to a horrific caricature of the surface of the Moon, but I cling inexplicably to it out of a possibly misplaced sense of loyalty. I’m co-dependant when it comes to my urban riding routes, I guess.
All in all I think the streetcar will be a neat addition and I am sure I will be one of the first in line to ride it. Who knows? Maybe there will be some extra bike lanes thrown into the mix.