Residents used Wednesday's public meeting on the Loop Trolley project to question plans, routes and even how often and how loud the trolley's bell will clang.
The hosted the meeting at , in order so that the Loop Trolley Company and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments could provide additional feedback to residents.
Doug Campion, project manager of the Loop Trolley Company, kicked off the meeting with an update of the planned route. After an informational meeting in May, planners took residents' concerns to heart and shortened the route so that it did not end in front of City Hall in Civic Plaza. The new route ends near the Library, just west of Kingsland.
Campion also went through some changes to the original plans and the reasons behind them. They include:
- Hybrid cars — The initial plan to use a hybrid car was found to be impractical. There are currently no hybrid heritage cars operating in regular transit service with mixed traffic.
- The current design plan and capital costs are estimated at $40,904,000. Planners are looking at every facet of the design to streamline costs.
- Funding — Several people questioned where the initial funding came from and whether money could have gone to other more pressing needs. The transportation grant from the federal government is a one-time application that will be spent—either here or in another city.
Residents were then offered the opportunity to speak and ask questions. Several people spoke on both sides of the issue.
Many people questioned the use of a fixed track trolley versus a trolley-like rubber wheeled bus. Joe Edwards, owner of and the driving force behind the trolley, told the crowd that ridership is 70 percent greater on a fixed track trolley over a bus system.
An area resident who operates a streetcar also told other residentst that the permanance of a fixed track indicates an investment to potential business owners and others coming to University City. He pointed out how easy it is to change or eliminate a bus route; it isn't as easy when there is standing infrastructure.
Many of the other questions focused on keeping traffic out of University City's historic neighborhoods, parking, the access of emergency service vehicles with the trolley and the noise levels.
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