NEWORLEANS-- The possibility of building a new street car line in Algiers may be a long shot financially, but local leaders say it's an idea worth pursuing.
'Whenever you start talking about connectivity, connecting communities through use of public transportation, whether it's light rail, streetcar or ferry, it's always a good thing,' said Algiers Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Derrick Martin.
Martin said there is a lot of discussion about the economic impact of a new streetcar along General DeGaulle Drive, the main thoroughfare in Algiers. He said it would open the West Bank of New Orleans to visitors and new business. The exact route has yet to be determined.
'I would think maybe mid-point General DeGaulle, maybe across the bridge, utilizing the HOV lane and it would also make sense to be able connect that light rail somehow to the ferry system,' said Martin.
New Orleans City Council President Jackie Clarkson recently introduced a resolution urging the Regional Planning Commission to consider an Algiers streetcar line.
'We were always a walkable community and a streetcar community with a ferry boat and we had great access to downtown,' said Clarkson. 'More of Algiers used to do more downtown.'
The councilwoman said the new streetcar would connect parts of Algiers to each and connect all of Algiers to the ferry boat.
'I think more people would come to Algiers, across the ferry boat, especially people to visit and come see the historic Algiers, which is critically important,' said Clarkson.
Algiers neighbors are hopeful the streetcar proposal will become a reality.
'As long as we bring more traffic here and we can widen the street, maybe close the canal, it would be a good thing to do,' said Alfred Hatcher, Jr. 'Great, it would be good. West Bank is the best bank.'
'The streetcar would be wonderful,' said Toni Guthrie. 'As you see in this area, we have a lot of buildings going up. I would certainly use it.'
'When I want to go to Canal Street or the Quarter, during Mardi Gras, I would love it,' said Michael Sullivan.
'Putting a streetcar connecting downtown proper with the West Bank is a brilliant idea,' said Dane Rhodes.
Right now, the idea of putting a streetcar on Gen. DeGaulle is just that, an idea. Local leaders are hoping to at least get to the next level, which is a feasibility study at some point in the future.