Feds give city $47.6 million

The city of Atlanta, MARTA and the downtown improvement districts will receive $47.6 million in TIGER II funding for a 2.62-track-mile modern streetcar system in downtown Atlanta that will connect Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center historical site on Auburn Avenue.

The grant will cover some capital costs associated with construction and vehicle procurement for the projected $70 million plus project. The city is responsible for coming up with at least an additional $10 million and the business community, through Central Atlanta Progress, has committed to adding $10 million for the streetcar project.

“In a highly competitive national field, the Atlanta streetcar project will couple regional connectivity with urban mobility while also creating a corridor that will catalyze economic growth in the heart of the city,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This will truly transform Atlanta and we are ready to begin construction once the funds are received.”

Proponents predict the streetcar project will produce an estimated 1,500 construction jobs in the short term and that long-term, economic development in the corridor is expected to generate more than 3,000 jobs. Proponents also predict it will shuttle more than 4.7 million tourists each year and a large mass of local residents through the area.

Opponents have argued there are more important transit needs for the money, that it will serve a route that already has proven unsuccessful in attracting passengers for trolleys and buses.

Will pedicabs become an Atlanta staple?

Legislation was introduced to city council Oct. 18 authorizing the operation of pedicabs within the city of Atlanta and to establish requirements and regulations for their operation.

“This ordinance adds a progressive, sustainable in-town transportation option for residents and visitors to the city,” said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who introduced the legislation.

The proposed ordinance was referred to the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee for discussion during its meeting at 3 p.m. Oct. 26.

Under the proposed ordinance, a city permit for pedicab service would have to be obtained through the Bureau of Taxicabs and Vehicles for Hire.

The hours of operation pedicab service would be 6:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Saturday, Sunday and holiday hours of operation would be 1 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Once used primarily in cities outside the United States, pedicabs, adult-sized tricycles with room for passengers in the back, have become increasingly popular in major U.S. urban areas.

PARKatlanta to issue some towing refunds

PARKatlanta is refunding towing fees to 28 people who had their vehicles towed during the weekend of Oct. 3 from an area around the Georgia Dome after an investigation concluded that the parking signage was inadequate.

“Our goal is to provide responsive enforcement in the interest of public safety,” PARKatlanta said in a statement. “However, in the spirit of public education and awareness, we have conducted an extensive review of the violations that occurred during the weekend’s events. Twenty-eight vehicles were towed for illegal or improper parking from areas where parking signage was inadequate. We will arrange for a refund of fees paid for towing.”