Peachtree Streetcar hastens departure of GRTA buses from Peachtree in Downtown area

By David Pendered

This story has been updated. The maps are bigger and more readable.

To make way for the Peachtree Streetcar, GRTA’s Xpress buses will be rerouted off Peachtree Street in Downtown Atlanta starting March 5.

“With the Peachtree Streetcar coming, we want to accommodate all operations of the streetcar,” Jannine Miller, GRTA’s executive director, said Wednesday, after GRTA’s board unanimously approved the new Xpress routes.

From 4,000 to 5,000 commuters a day will be affected by the change. Staffers with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority predict that some riders may stop riding Xpress buses because of longer walks to their destinations, according to the resolution approved Wednesday.

Jannine Miller is executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. Credit: GRTA

Jannine Miller is executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. Credit: GRTA

However, some other riders and future riders will benefit from improved service to areas including the state Capitol and Georgia State University, Miller said.

GRTA’s new routes are intended to accommodate the streetcar’s construction and to expand the geography served by transit service in Downtown Atlanta once the streetcar begins federally mandated service in May 2013.

“Once the streetcar is up and running, it will enable our riders to get to places farther from the Xpress routes,” Miller said.

GRTA has been under pressure since 2003-‘04 from Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta to limit routing along Peachtree Street. In 2009, the parties signed an agreement calling for Xpress buses to be rerouted in September 2012.

The federal funding of the Peachtree Streetcar added fuel to the fire of that schedule.

Atlanta asked GRTA to hasten its departure from Peachtree Street in part because portions of the street are to be closed for construction during the morning and evening rush hours. Edgewood Avenue also will be affected.

Indeed, the Atlanta City Council has approved for construction to go on around the clock as the city races to meet the federally imposed completion deadline of May 2013.

Utility crews already have started their work to prepare for construction of the streetcar route. The Atlanta City Council adopted a flurry of legislation in the waning months of 2011 to promote the project by providing money to relocate utilities and to facilitate the streetcar’s construction.

According to the resolution approved by GRTA’s board:

“The routing of the Atlanta Streetcar will substantially conflict with the current routing of Xpress coaches through downtown Atlanta … and

“A change in routing will affect approximately 67 percent of the current total Xpress bus service ….”

GRTA’s new routes call for buses to diverge from the Peachtree corridor near MARTA’s Civic Center Station.

There will be an East Side Realignment and a West Side Realignment.

Each of the new alignments will cascade along either side of the Peachtree corridor before they reconverge at Martin Luther King Drive to serve the Capitol, Fulton County government and courts, and Atlanta City Hall.

The plan to move commuter buses off Peachtree Street has been in the works since 2008, Miller said.

The new GRTA routes comply with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act regarding discrimination in transit programs, according to GRTA.

Planned West Side Realignment.




GRTA's East Side Realignment

About David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with nearly 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.
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The story is updated with maps that are legible. Thanks for pointing out that the maps weren't big enough to be helpful. We'll try to address that.


Thanks for jumping to help a fellow reader!

Best wishes,



Walking two blocks downtown is easy. Also these routes downtown for the streetcar offer the added benefit of under developed or undeveloped land. Like the Pearl district in Oregon and other street cars in other cities, this street car should provide an incentive for these lots to be redeveloped or developed into vibrant entertainment, food and residential developments. This will have two positive effects, it will increase the tax base and it will encourage growth to occur in a manner that will lessen this new growth's negative impact on our transportation infrastructure - in other words they won't need to drive as much and thus use our limited road space or use as much oil and by using less oil you are not contributing as much to the national trade deficit.


It would be nice if those teensy-tiny maps were clickable to open full-size versions.

Butler 63
Butler 63

The frequency has to be more than 15 minute headways to generate any real ridership and without a duplicate line along the Peachtree Street corridor North to Lennox this is a failure to be born by the Atlanta taxpayers who have Central Atlanta Progress and the city council to thank for this latest example of waste joining other White Elephants like the Sears building and Underground Atlanta as drains on the city coffers -this is a street car to nowhere and is really should be a" street car named desire " desired that is by the few -to be paid for by the many -

Burroughston Broch
Burroughston Broch

AtlantaOwner is spot on about the streetcar route. It's all about getting imagined tourists at Centennial Park to/from the King Center. And every downside is ignored, such as rerouting commuter buses.

Is this is an example of master planning from those who want to control regional transportation?


If you look at the plans for the first segment of the street cars, it's an example of horrible planning. It completely bypasses several major hotels by several blocks, and loops around Centennial Park also several walking blocks away from the Georgia Aquarium. It's not at ALL tourist friendly, and seems to only truly benefit the Auburn Avenue/MLK site. One has to wonder if this street car is really something to benefit all of Atlanta - or just the King family.