Next Tuesday, people living in and around Atlanta, Georgia will vote on a tax increase to fund a $602 million transportation package that includes a streetcar line.
The Atlanta project is closely linked to Portland. As a vice president at the engineering firm HDR, Inc. after leaving Portland's City Council in 2002, current Portland mayoral candidate Charlie Hales had a hand in shaping the Atlanta streetcar proposal (pdf).
And the local media in Atlanta has looked to Portland many times to see what this whole streetcar thing is about, most recently this week with a lengthy Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that asks if Atlanta should follow the Portland way.
The answer, after much hemming and hawing, seems to be yes, even though it concludes on a somewhat pessimistic note about the likelihood of voter approval.
To Portlanders, much of the story will read like the same old, same old pro-transit oriented development spiel. But it is not without surprises.
The visiting AJC reporter claims to have found two specimens of a creature many Portlanders have long thought mythical: the streetcar commuter.
From the lead:
Raised in Florida suburbs, J'ena SanCartier and Philip Losasso know Atlanta well — as the traffic jam they dreaded on their way to somewhere else.Clap if you believe!
Relocating from Florida last year, the artist and software developer never considered Atlanta. They flew 2,500 miles away to a new home in Portland. Now, instead of highways, they travel via streetcar. And that's how they like it.
No: "love it," in SanCartier's words.