- Associated Press - Thursday, November 20, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - The debut of the Atlanta Streetcar has been delayed again, this time due to safety concerns.

The latest delay pushes the launch from November until at least Dec. 6, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (https://on-ajc.com/19h2mCB ).

The newspaper reports that the Federal Transit Administration earlier this month informed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his staff that safety issues must be resolved before the streetcars can transport passengers.

The agency also expressed concerns over what it called the city’s “compressed time frames” to complete safety reviews, which could “result in insufficient reviews and compromise the overall safety of the system.”

The safety concerns include inadequate pavement marking and signage to warn drivers not to turn in front of streetcars, and the need to train employees on how to avoid electrocution when working on streetcars, officials said.



Reed said those issues have since been addressed. He is asking state and federal officials to allow the transit service to begin Dec. 6 instead of mid-November.

A spokeswoman for the federal agency said it is still reviewing the city’s latest documents.

“Outstanding safety issues and regulatory requirements remain unresolved by the project sponsors,” FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan said in a statement Wednesday.

“Until such time as these requirements are addressed, and findings resolved, FTA will not support the opening of the service for revenue/passenger operations,” McMillan said.

The streetcar will run a 2.7-mile loop from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta to the King Center just east of downtown.

The system’s planners initially said it would begin in late April or early May, but winter storms and complications with underground utilities were among factors that pushed the timeline back. The city rolled back the start date to summer, then November and now December.

Part of the push toward a Dec. 6 opening is to capture riders in town for the Southeastern Conference football championship at the Georgia Dome and during the holidays, said A.J. Robinson, head of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, which helps fund the streetcar.

“We’re at the end of a long journey. The community has been very patient, and people have worked extremely hard on all sides,” Robinson said. “I think we’re just getting down to dotting i’s and crossing t’s and making sure safety is paramount, which it is to everybody.”

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, https://www.ajc.com

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