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Streetcar Possibility Has Downtowners Fired Up

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Judging from the giddy mood at today's Streetcar Workshop, an all-day event held at the Orpheum Theater, downtown business owners and residents really want a streetcar system. And it looks likely they'll get one, the first line basically going from LA Live to the planned mixed-use Grand Avenue project via Broadway. Timeline: 3-4 years. "We're about where Seattle [which has streetcars] was three and half years ago," says Gloria Ohland, director of communications at Oakland-based non-profit Reconnecting America, which organized the event.

Panelists from Seattle and Portland, two cities that have successfully implemented streetcar systems, spoke at the event, which drew about 250 people. According to the Ohland, the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) is in the midst of a second phase of a feasibility study on the topic.

Considered part of the "Bringing Back Broadway" revitalization campaign that'll see street and landscape improvements, the first line of the streetcar system would cost about $40 million-$60 million, the funding coming from private/public partnerships. Fans of streetcars says this isn't just about transportation, but about using streetcars to encourage economic and residential development.

Blogdowntown has more in-depth coverage of all the panels.
· Reconnecting America [Official Site]