Streety turns 4

A Streetcar Named Aspire-2.jpgFour years ago this Sunday, a brand-new Atlanta Streetcar (which I call Streety) launched with aspirations to enliven businesses, entice tourists, and engage citizens.

I’ve been taking photos along the route ever since, both inside the streetcar and out (while Traveling at the Speed of Bike), in order to document the changing city over time — its people, places, and potential. A few things are new this year: MARTA now runs the streetcar, you can pay with a dollar bill right on it, and there are now scooters everywhere along the route. If interested, you can scroll through my “A Streetcar Named Aspire” photo essay here.

By the way, here’s what it looks like to ride a bike on the entire length of Auburn Avenue (which includes a significant portion of the current streetcar route). Don’t blink or you’ll miss Streety! I pass dozens of important historic locations in this 35-second video. If you are interested in knowing more about them, I recommend a walking, biking, or electric cart tour with one of the companies that offers them, or just pop on Relay Bikeshare and read the many historic markers along the way. My hope is that “positive change” in Atlanta includes preservation and rejuvenation of these treasures while offering economic opportunities for all. Note: We are at a turning point and how Atlanta develops next could go one of two ways, folks.

Here’s my poem from the three-year anniversary last year. All of this is still true.

Jesus Still Saves

Jesus still saves;
The Royal Peacock still twerks;
Men hurt in Hurt Park
Without homes, without work;
The Oldest Shop stands;
The Rib Shack’s still red;
Folks still go to the Curb Market
To buy pigs, to be fed;
Heroes still rise;
Hunger still looms;
If you want to ride Streety,
There’s still lots of room;
The most popular stop
Is still Centennial Park,
But most spots on the route
Are abandoned at dark;
Sweet Auburn’s still famous;
Ebenezer’s most known;
And it seems that no one
Ever gets Luckie at Cone;
There’s still a bit left
Of the mural with fire,
And shopkeepers still hope
As the streetcar aspires;
Three years have now passed
And people still stare
When they hear the ding ding
Of the bell in the air.