The Alexandria City Council tapped the brakes on the proposed motorized trolley service in the Del Ray area on Tuesday after members expressed concerns with the proposed route, the name of the line and lack of consultation with some civic groups.
Mayor Bill Euille also expressed some displeasure with how council failed to receive a briefing on the matter from the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services before it was discussed in the press.
“I just think we need to be very cautious in terms of when we do presentations, what we say, in terms of making certain that the legislative body that has to make the final decision is fully cognizant in terms of what you’re doing out in the community,” Eullie said.
T&ES revealed the proposed route (see attached map) two weeks ago at a public meeting. At the time, members of the Arlandria-Chirilagua Business Association raised concerns that the proposed route didn’t go farther north into Arlandria.
On Tuesday, Councilmen Rob Krupicka and Paul Smedberg said they hadn’t heard a convincing reason as to why it didn’t go further into that neighborhood. Krupicka said he would at least like to see it reach the Birchmere. Smedberg said he wanted to see it reach the Mount Vernon Village Center, which is poised for redevelopment.
The proposed trolley route completes a loop on W. Reed Avenue and E. Glebe Road just south of the Birchmere.
“To go another 300 or 400 feet I think would be worth the effort,” Smedberg said.
T&ES Deputy Director Abi Lerner said the preliminary route was selected because of the constraints associated with the ability to turn the trolley around and complete the route in a reasonable amount of time.
“We certainly can go back and take another look,” Lerner said.
Krupicka and Councilwoman Del Pepper said they’d like to see the line named something more inclusive like “The Mount Vernon Avenue Trolley” as opposed to the working title of “The Del Ray Trolley.”
Councilwoman Alicia Hughes asked that all civic organizations in neighborhoods impacted by the trolley route be included in upcoming discussions. Members of the civic groups in West Old Town and Arlandria have said they were not included in any preliminary talks about the trolley expansion.
T&ES had planned to issue a request for proposals from contractors to operate the trolley in the next few weeks, but during Tuesday’s discussion the mayor and council asked Lerner and T&ES to bring closure to these issues and then bring the proposal back to council before sending out a request for contractors.
T&ES Director Rich Baier told Patch in March that trolley service on Mt. Vernon Avenue would begin in September or October at the earliest.