Atlanta Streetcar Testing Commences, Safety Guidelines Posted

Have you driven over the streetcar tracks in downtown Atlanta of late and thought “How do I navigate these things?”.

Well, it’s time to figure it out, because construction of the Atlanta Streetcar route is largely completed and the four, big blue streetcars are about to start taking their test runs.  The city of Atlanta has released a list of safety guidelines for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists…

– The Atlanta Streetcars are big, beautiful, and powered by an overhead electrical system which means they are VERY QUIET when operating.
– Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings when near streetcar tracks and intersections – always, STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN before crossing the street
– A Streetcar traveling at 20 miles per hour takes almost 60 feet to stop.
– Do not run in front of an approaching streetcar.
– Step over tracks to avoid catching heels or wheels in the track gap
– Streetcar stops are located on the side of the streets and in the middle of the road. When heading to a stop use designated crosswalks, obey walk signals and look both ways.

– Streetcar operators must obey the same traffic and speed laws as motorist
-Streetcars travel at or below the posted speed limit and must obey all traffic signals.
-Its okay to drive on the tracks, be aware that vehicle tires may feel a bit different on the tracks, but the tracks are not electrified.
– Look for Streetcars before you make a right at a red light, the Streetcars are very quiet.
– Streetcars are NOT cars- they cannot stop quickly and are on rails, they cannot maneuver out of the way of vehicles and pedestrians.
-A Streetcar traveling at 20 miles per hour takes almost 60 feet to stop.
-Do not attempt to pass a Streetcar. The Atlanta Streetcars are big- they’re nearly 9 feet wide and 12 feet tall and they will block your line of sight. Do not pass a streetcar at a stop and be alert for those disembarking.
-Streetcars cannot go around cars parked on tracks. Park your entire vehicle within the white lines. Do not double park.

Bicyclists and other human-powered wheeled vehicle:
-Watch your wheels-Streetcar tracks can be challenging to ride alongside and to cross for anything with wheels: bikes,
strollers, wheelchairs, scooters, skateboards, in-line skates, etc. Cross tracks as close to right angle as possible; don’t lean into turns when crossing tracks; remember wet tracks can be slippery, sometimes it is safer to walk your bike across the tracks.
– Beware of the Door Zone – cyclists traveling between traffic and parked vehicles should be aware of the Door Zone. When a driver in a parked vehicle suddenly open their door into your travel space, it may cause you to swerve and put you the cyclist in the path of other vehicles or the track.

Map courtesy of the Atlanta Streetcar website

14 thoughts on “Atlanta Streetcar Testing Commences, Safety Guidelines Posted”

  1. I’m excited to re-live my college days in Boston of driving/walking around the above ground T!

  2. Wow, that streetcar map needs to be updated. GSU is much larger than that blue area.

  3. I’m surprised that the route wasn’t stretched a little to intersect with the Five Points MARTA station. Maybe the ambience there wasn’t deemed tourist-worthy. Peachtree Center is definitely a pleasanter experience.

  4. So how many posts until someone calls this a sinister conspiracy to keep people from driving for whatever reason?

    1. The Streetcar is for tourists, that’s obvious from the stops on the route. Might keep them from walking.

  5. It will be helpful to know that bicycle traffic along the route is designed for bikes to travel westbound on Edgewood and eastbound on Auburn. To travel in the opposite direction risks putting skinny tires into risky, close proximity to shallow rail track grooves.

    While designers have made an effort to accommodate cyclists by including bike lanes on Edgewood and Auburn, I have already seen one cyclist face plant trying to cross the curving tracks near the King Center.

  6. Edgewood used to be my favorite way to head from Decatur to Tech campus on the bike but now things definitely less pleasant. Edgewood headed west bound keeps you (generally) off the tracks but the road is still extremely torn up and the bike lane is pretty rough. Forget heading eastbound on Edgewood. You gradually get squeezed by the tracks that you are riding parallel to (in other words, the worst possible way). Eastbound on Auburn is also extremely rough and I suspect only marginally safer at the moment. I’ll take this way now only if I’m riding the cyclocross bike….

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