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Once Around the Web: Streetcars are Back Baby!

Here in Seattle, the South Lake Union Streetcar has been up and running since December of 2007. Folks took over 700,000 rides on it in 2011, and ridership continues to grow.  And as residents and visitors to Capitol Hill know, the First Hill Streetcar construction started back in April and is now well underway.  See this PI story for more info about construction impacts on the Hill.  The Seattle City Council recently gave the go ahead to fund a study for high-capacity transit to Ballard which might spell streetcar, light rail or something else entirely. (Gondolas? PODS? VacTrain? Who knows!)

But Seattle isn’t the only place streetcars are making a comeback. Check out some of these links to see what other cities are up to!

  • Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead
    “Cities from Los Angeles to Atlanta are making big bets to revitalize their downtowns by bringing back a form of transportation many abandoned decades ago: the streetcar. Some cities are counting on help from federal stimulus dollars, but a few are going it alone.”
  • Should Atlanta follow Portland with T-SPLOST?
    “Portland, Oregon, is the model in the U.S.,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in 2010, upon winning a grant to build a streetcar line that he called the “spine” of the Beltline. “We have strong evidence that infrastructure creates jobs and stimulates economic investment.”
  • Revival of downtown L.A. streetcars headed for ballot
    “Councilman Jose Huizar, who sponsored the resolution, said that bringing back the streetcars is more about economic development than nostalgia.“The streetcar will be another transportation option, but on top of that, wherever streetcars go, we will see those areas revitalized,” Huizar said.

It can’t all be good news though…

  • Seattle’s classic waterfront streetcars stuck at dead end
    For the past seven years, a little bit of Seattle’s soul has been collecting dust in a warehouse near Safeco Field. The George Benson Waterfront Streetcars — five classic, 1920s streetcars that ran from 1982 to 2005 — are in limbo, says Metro.

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