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City Reveals Recommended Route for Trolley Service in Del Ray

Proposed route will connect King Street and Braddock Road Metro stations before heading up Mt. Vernon Avenue.

With more than a half-dozen routes on the drawing board, Alexandriaʼs Department of Transportation and Environmental Services announced Wednesday that it has selected a recommended route for trolley service in Del Ray.

The preferred routing for the trolley, revealed at a community meeting Wednesday night at , will start at King Street Metro station, head east on King Street, then north on West Street, stopping at the Braddock Road Metro station.

From there, the trolley will hop on Braddock Road and head up Mt. Vernon Avenue. The trolley will cross over West Glebe Road, then head east on West Reed Avenue, passing . Then the trolley will go down Commonwealth Avenue, turning right on West Glebe, and another left on Mt. Vernon Avenue, completing the loop. 

“We wanted to keep the route as simple as possible,” said Pierre Holloman, T&ES transit planner. “We found this particular route to be the safest, and the easiest, for the vehicles to maneuver.”

Holloman also noted that the trolley route will likely use existing transit stops.

However, Holloman stressed that everything is proposed and that the route and stops have not been finalized.

That finalization is contingent on the responses the city receives from contractors on the request for proposal (RFP), to be issued next month. The city hopes to lease six trolleys, running four trolleys on the 3.2-mile loop with 20-minute headways. Two trolleys will be used as spares, in case of a breakdown.

According to Rich Baier, T&ES director, the city needs to review the RFPs to determine which vendor is the best fit for the city’s needs and falls within the parameters of the budget. Baier said he anticipates the RFPs will be back in late June or early July.

“Once we get those in, we can reassess routes and stops,” said Baier.

Baier added that the city will reconvene with the public in August once a vendor is selected.

A few members of the Arlandria-Chirilagua Business Association raised concerns about the trolleyʼs exclusion of the Arlandria neighborhood, both in regards to the proposed trolley route and the name of the trolley itself.

With the proposed route stopping short of the mainstays and popular destinations in the community, some felt the trolley would not benefit Arlandria at all.

Baier assured the group that the city will take this all into consideration during its internal review, noting that the funding that is allocated for the trolley service may restrict the ability for the route to stretch further north to Arlandria.

Sandy Modell, DASH general manager, echoed Baier saying that the city can start with a small area, and with increased time and funding, can evolve the route to be more encompassing.

Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association President Stephanie Pace Brown reassured the Arlandria community members that a trolley logo will be designed that “capitalizes on the equity that Del Ray has.”

With recommended trolley service hours running 3:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Friday and from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, it is the cityʼs hope that the trolley will serve as a vital link to disperse tourist and visitor spending dollars into the Del Ray and Arlandria communities.

“We are truly excited about the opportunity the trolley presents to the Del Ray community,” said Brown. “Del Ray is ready to benefit from the greater influx of visitor spending—shopping, dining, and celebrating on main street.”

McBrinn March 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM
"With the proposed route stopping short of the mainstays and popular destinations in the community, some felt the trolley would not benefit Arlandria at all." Damn! Guess we'll have to find alternate Auto Parts stores, Rip off Pay Day Loan shops, and Check Cashing Facilities.
Bill Cook March 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Arlandria poses a tricky problem from an Alexandria transit perspective since it is essentially a dead-end that doesn't provide an easy turnaround point or logical loop that stays on streets solely inside city of Alexandria limits. I have long thought that a dedicated busway through Four Mile Run park could complete a logical route that serves Arlandria and connects to the Alexandria portion of Potomac Yard. As for the actual businesses and services in Arlandria, there is a popular farmer's market, drug store, organic supermarket, other markets, restaurants, a concert venue, and community facilities like a pool, library, rec center, and parks within 1 or 2 blocks of the route. I'm still a little unsure whether or not this will get much visitor use, or if it will be used primarily by locals, but in any case it will likely get used. If the intent is to increase access to the Mt. Vernon Ave commercial corridor by locals and visitors alike, then the Arlandria business owners are right to ask why the route isn't serving them.
Autoexec.bat March 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Arlandria isn't part of Charm-Ville, that's for sure.
Boyd Walker March 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Only one route option was presented at this meeting. The route starts at the King St. Metro and stops at the Braddock Metro. When I asked why it did not just start at the Braddock Metro, outgoing ACVA President Stephanie Brown said because it is for Tourists and Visitors so needs to be at the the King St. Metro where there are 5 hotels. Yes, there are not as many riders at the Braddock Rd. Metro, but maybe this Trolley Service would increase ridership at that station. With the redevelopment of the King St. Station it would aslo seem like there would be less room for another Trolley, especially as it has to use the Kiss and Ride pull off. It would then go down King St. and turn left on West St. I think adding additional bus traffic to King St. and West St. is not a good idea.
Boyd Walker March 30, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I was also one of the first people to speak up about the route stopping at Reed St. and not including Arlandria. If this is a Mt. Vernon Ave Trolley it should continue all the way down Mt. Vernon Ave. Kevin Beekman pointed out that the recently acquired Duron Paint Store building would make a perfect turnaround spot and layover space with bathrooms for drivers. It would also help the new residents of the 470 units being built where Moms Organic Grocery is get to the Metro and to the shops and restaurants of Del Ray. I think it would help both business districts, Arlandria and Del Ray, by better connecting the two areas. One of the reasons for the trolley is economic develpment, and since there are additional possibilities for economic development in Arlandira, why shouldn't the Trolley go there. Besides there are already restaurants and one great music venue that a trolley would serve. Jim Mathews of the Birchmere siad it well: It is always "manyata" for Arlandria.
Nick P March 30, 2012 at 04:06 PM
@McBrinn, Already said elsewhere, but Arlandria has MOMs, the Birchmere, Four Mile Run Park - the second largest park in the City, RTs and other restaurants, plus numerous other great cultural spots. Before Arlington development caused the floods that drove down real-estate values in the area, Arlandria was the hot spot and Del Ray was the area to be avoided. Arlandria is now full of people willing to put in the time to improve their community - volunteer run 4MRMarket, ACBA, citizen led park clean-ups such as the one at the corner of Commonwealth and W. Reed Aves, etc. Just because a group of visionaries saw the potential in Del Ray and already worked hard to make it what it is today doesn't mean we should write off other neighborhoods looking to improve their quality of life, aesthetic, and access to neighborhood serving businesses. In other words, shut it.
Jacob Cuomo March 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM
You and I agree on this on Boyd. To start, it was an outrage that the trolley was presented as the "Del Ray Trolley," that would be the same as our other town trolley being called the "Old Town Trolley." It would make much more sense to call it the "Mount Vernon Avenue Trolley"--but this goes to the intent of the City. They really only want to support Del Ray and could give a care about Arlandria. Thanks for your support!
Mary Longacre March 30, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I think the trolley should serve the length of commercial district on Mount Vernon Street and be named for it, not just Del Ray. Absolutely include Arlandria. I'm sure that the residents there would appreciate using the trolley to get to Del Ray, Old Town, and the metro. It's absurd to say the trolley is "for tourists." It's for everyone who will use it. Are you going to check ID and refuse to let locals board?
Boyd Walker March 31, 2012 at 01:25 AM
It seems like part of the problem is that they did not initialyl meet with anyone from Arlandria and they only recently found out about it.
Sammie Moshenberg March 31, 2012 at 02:27 AM
As with the Arlandria redevelopment plan, residents there are often excluded from real consultations
Richard Nelson March 31, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Just thinking, how would a trolley turn around at the old Duron building? Has anyone ever driven a bus? I use to drive a school bus and I really can't think of one place where you would be able to turn around a large vehicle.
Larry Altenburg March 31, 2012 at 12:14 PM
In a budget constrained environment, it is unclear why the city needs to spend taxpayers money on this luxury. There are already bus services all along this route; why is this trolley needed to augment existing transit services? Do we really need to have Metrobus, DASH, and a trolley all on the same roads? Are there more compelling uses of the money? The trolley has always seemed to me to be a "nice to have" rather than a "must have." Nothing has yet to change my mind.
Boyd Walker March 31, 2012 at 01:19 PM
The Trolley will not run all day, so can not totally replace Dash Bus Service, but I have been asking why there would not be a reduction in Dash Service during the hours that the Trolley runs, both in Old Town and Del Ray/Arlandria. I would think residents in Del Ray would prefer the attractive free hybrid Trolley and so would ride the Dash buses less when they are available. I agree, that a more comprehensive look has to be made at duplication of routes and service, and a look at which system is most effective.
Joseph M. March 31, 2012 at 06:06 PM
The whole decision-making process seems broken. The money was put into the budget before a ridership projection was done. The King Street Trolley costs $700,000 so the Del Ray Trolley received the same. It was only after the budget was decided that route and ridership analysis was done. The trolley can't go to Arlandria not only because there's not a good place to turn around, but because there isn't enough money. There's only enough money to run the trolley buses every 20 minutes IF it doesn't go to Arlandria. Either more money should have been allocated or the route should have been analyzed first, then a cost-benefit consideration could have been run to determine whether to go to Arlandria. Also, were the numbers ever run to see what it would have cost to upgrade the existing 10A/E WMATA bus service? What would it cost to increase buses to every 10 minutes?
KingBraddock April 01, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I hope Jim Mathews actually said "manana". I love the idea of the trolley passing through Arlandria.
Jacob Cuomo April 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Ridiculous statement from Ms. Moshenberg. All of the citizens groups in Arlandria were consulted/briefed/solicited for comments on numerous occasions months before this plan going to P&Z and City Council. Ms. Moshenberg is trying to use the upcoming Mt. Vernon Village Center to her policical advantage as if replacing a "parking lot" to use Councilman Smedberg's words, is something horrible for the community. Ms. Moshenberg is not a Hume Springs resident. She is a Del Ray resident trying to masquerade as a HS resident. This won't work.
GThomas April 06, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I would bet the reason the route goes through Del Ray only is because of a higher percentage of residents that are more involved with the city. Not that Arlandria is not involved but I bet less than Del Ray. Also, the trolly is close enough for now and if it works out, then it should be expanded. From Cora Kelly you can walk to the Birchmere, RT's, etc.
JD Valk May 26, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Decisions like this are made by bureaucrats with scant regard for public input at such a regular basis that it's no wonder the first local glance at the plan after the fact reveals many flaws and issues that could've been ironed out with a modicum of public input prior to an official city recommendation. "The route starts at the King St. Metro and stops at the Braddock Metro. When I asked why it did not just start at the Braddock Metro, outgoing ACVA President Stephanie Brown said because it is for Tourists and Visitors so needs to be at the the King St. Metro where there are 5 hotels." Then why connect to Braddock Metro at all, as any Metro patrons can be encouraged via signage that this limited-run shuttle can be accessed by continuing to King Street Station? I echo the sentiment that Commonwealth Avenue can most certainly handle a Del Ray-centric shuttle/trolley better than West Street, especially since the swing through there from King Street Metro to Breaddock Road serves no purpose given the above stated reasoning.

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