by Sarah Andert
Beginning Sunday November 11 before sunrise, the historic Perley Thomas streetcars will resume operation on St. Charles Ave. for the first time since Katrina. After two years of repairs, we've almost forgotten what it's like to have to watch out for those rumbling trolleys as dogwalkers, joggers and wild U-turners have taken over the Uptown neutral ground.
But starting Saturday, with an opening ceremony at the intersection of St. Charles and Napoleon at 2:00 pm and free rides for the public until 5:00 pm, they're back in full right-of-way action. Test runs throughout the week have caused a stir of excitement among observant residents anticipating their return.
The streetcars will run from the Central Business Distric uptown to Napoleon Avenue. As part of a larger program to repair public transit's infrastructure, the streetcars are the first in a number of projects RTA hopes to accomplish this coming year, including bus repairs and studies on more environmentally friendly/fuel efficient models for the future. Five streetcars are assigned to the route currently and more will be added if necessary.
Four buses will continue to service the St. Charles line, and streetcar riders can transfer to the bus line at the intersection of Napoleon and St. Charles avenues.