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City Eyes Fall Start for Regular Trolley Service in Del Ray

Alexandria's Department of Transportation and Environmental Services is looking into increasing the hours of service for the King Street trolley.

Regular trolley service in Del Ray will begin in September or October at the earliest, according to Alexandria’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services.

T&ES chief Rich Baier told Del Ray Patch that despite the city  toward implementing the motorized trolley service in the neighborhood, the process of selecting a contractor and other matters will push the project into the fall.

T&ES Deputy Director Abi Lerner said some of the approximately $510,000 that was allotted for expanding trolley service into Del Ray will be rolled over and combined with new funding in FY2013.

How much that is rolled over remains to be determined.

From the $510,000, about $190,000 will go toward further improving headways on the King Street Trolley.

The remaining $320,000 will be split.

Lerner said T&ES is looking into expanding the hours of the King Street Trolley, which currently runs from 11:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. from the King Street Metro station to the Potomac River waterfront.

Whatever money remains after expanding hours of the King Street line will be put in reserve for the trolley in Del Ray.

“The bids can come in higher [than expected],” Lerner said. “This money will be used as a cushion.”

There is a “new trolley pot” of $700,000 available in FY2013, which begins on July 1, 2012. Lerner said this pot, which comes from money the city sets aside for transportation projects, would be devoted to the Del Ray line.

The city will utilize a contractor to operate the Del Ray trolley with eyes on transferring duties to the Alexandria Transit Company at a later date.

will be rolled out in late April on the King Street line. ATC, which also runs the DASH bus service, will take over from Martz as the operator.

“In coordination with Earth Day, we’re going to roll out the new trolleys,” Baier said. “It’s pretty exciting and council is excited about the new trolleys and the expansion.” Earth Day celebrations for the city are scheduled for April 21.

The city is hosting an open house about Del Ray trolley service on March 28 at . The event begins at 6 p.m. and will include a discussion on preferred routing for the trolley, destinations, hours of service, headways and how to link the line with the King Street Trolley.

“What we’re trying to do, we’re trying to provide a link between Old Town and Del Ray and send it back and forth,” Baier said. “It’s also an economic development tool.”

Trolley service in Del Ray will be during the First Thursday street festival.

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Mellenie Runion March 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Building a link between these two areas is a wonderful concept. Why do we need a separate trolley service to build a link? Most cities have loops that allow riders to see more of an entire city, instead of just one section. Creating a loop would also encourage business growth along the trolley path between these two sections of the city.
Boyd Walker March 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I support expansion of the trolley route through Del Ray, and I hope it will go to the Braddock Rd. Metro Stop. I discouraged a proposal a few years ago to build on top of the Braddock Metro Station parking lot, because I think we appreciate the open space in front of our Metro Stations, and because I thought that we needed to figure out transportation first. So there is plenty of room for the Trolley to loop through the station now. I think the Trolley should go all the way to the new building in Arlandira to better link these two neighborhoods and give the residents of tthe 470 new apartments there a way to get easily get to the Metro. I think it will be a more attractive alternative than a bus, and if it is free, ist willl encourage ridership, and for people to leave their cars at home
Joseph M. March 05, 2012 at 08:53 PM
How will the WMATA 10A/B with approximately 15-20 minute headways (my guess) on Mt. Vernon Ave be affected? Why not just expand bus service on Mt. Vernon Ave to reliable 10 minute headways? What tourists are going to originate at Braddock Road Metro? How will they get there? Is someone really going to ride from King Street Metro to Braddock, then transfer to a 'trolley' bus? To go where? I love Del Ray but it's not touristy and is unlikely to become so. My prediction: this will be a boondoggle. The King Street Trolley has approximately 600,000 passengers/year. (from what I can figure out on the city's website; 2.2 million since inception in April 2008). If Del Ray can capture 300,000 passengers (being generous), this will end up costing in the ballpark of $3-4 each way, or $6-8 per roundtrip. Please feel free to correct my numbers.
Autoexec.bat March 06, 2012 at 02:24 AM
My guess is that the city is hoping that people who wouldn't deign to set foot on a bus would happily ride a trolley because they assume it's a tourist approved way of going somewhere worthwhile even though we all realize it's really just a red bus. That's my guess anyway. As for originating at Braddock, ha, not going to happen.
Drew Hansen (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Routes are still being determined. The city identified a couple of potential routes at a Del Ray Citizens Association meeting in November: http://patch.com/A-nMM1 Hopefully we can get that WMATA bus question answered at the trolley open house at the end of the month.
Nan Jennings March 06, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Can it actually cost a half million dollars to figure out a route and put out an RFP?
Lee Hernly March 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The questions residents should be asking is 'why does the City need a contractor to run the Trolley?' At the City Council meeting in 2009 when the decision to purchase the extra trolleys was made, T & ES staff said there would be offsets from the lack of need to lease vehicles considering that the vendor would likely be DASH. Has this now changed? Why does the City need a contractor at the start of Trolley service?
Rob Krupicka March 06, 2012 at 02:35 PM
The city used Gov stimulus money to buy the new hybrid old town trollies. Those will save us money as it is less expensive to run them ourselves than to lease. But the issue is you need the vehicle to do it. We don't have extra busses to start the Del Ray line, so we have to least first. We are going to test the line before ordering new busses for trolley in Del Ray. And even then, ordering new trolley's can take up to 2 years before they hit the street between the time the budget is approved and they are delivered. I am looking forward to the city running the line. I also know we have a huge backlog of busses to order because the recession has slowed down our bus replacement schedule. Because of budget constraints, we are not keeping up with basic bus replacement as well as we should let alone having funds to expand the service.
Boyd Walker March 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Maybe where we add Trolleys, which are more attractive, and free, we should consider a reduction in Dash buses, to offset the cost, and because a free Trolley will surely get more ridership. I would be interested in what people think of this? I live on King St. and don't see the need for a Dash bus right behind a Trolley taking the same route.

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