25 July, 2008


Photo: Tram in Milan, Italy, next stop... "Sweet Home Alabama..."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Transit authority soliciting streetcar proposals

Birmingham Business Journal

by Jimmy DeButts StaffBlogger Comments:

Who would have thunk it Jacksonville?They ran over us with their football team back in the World Football LeagueDays, then threw themselves onto the alter to snatch the Jaguars from us beforeJacksonville, was announced. Suddenly out of the Mass Transit Shadows of the bigCities, Birmingham, Alabama, comes rolling out with "our" streetcar idea.

Jacksonville? Oh we'd like to do rail... someday. If we don'tmove soon, I suspect their numbers will change in such a positive way that theyjust might get the football team too. Birmingham, the mountain metropolis,good luck - perhaps you can show us the way?

The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority is seeking proposals for the design and construction of its planned $33 million streetcar system.Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford has promoted a 2.5 mile streetcar line that will run through downtown. The proposed route would begin at the intermodal facility on Morris Avenue and wind through the city, passing cultural hotspots, such as the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.The city has indicated the streetcar line will begin construction in early November.

Plans also call for a trip to Milan, Italy, in September to purchase the vintage-looking streetcars that will be run by electricity.Interested parties must attend a May 19 pre-proposal conference to qualify as bidders. Proposals will be accepted by the transit authority until June 30.

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The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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