Trolleys May Cut Traffic Ties

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

November 4, 2005

Traffic continues to get worse in Charlottesville--but one organization thinks they may have the solution

The theme was "Destination: West Main." A local group thinks they may have a new solution to fight traffic--add more cars-- but these aren't just any cars, they are trolleys.

When you say "the trolley" around here, people think of a the free ride from downtown to the corner --but one local group is thinking actual street cars.

"A street car is a vehicle that runs on rains in the ground and is powered by an overhead wire," Alia Anderson, Executive Director of The Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation.

This system is designed to promote pedestrian traffic.

"It wouldn't just be like the corner is a place where people walk and the downtown mall is a place where people walk, but the entire West Main Street could be a place where people walk," Shannon Yadsko a UVa Urban Planning Student.

The streetcars would run from the John Paul Jones Arena to Emmett and Ivy, over the corner and connect to the east end of the mall. This is the same path as many bus routes take which has some people asking questions.

"I don't know what the benefit is of tracks. Why [tracks]?" Lynn Hedlunch Charlottesville resident.

"When the rails are in the ground, it's an investment that everybody can recognize and realize it's not going to go away anytime soon. Developers will decide to build around a railed transit route more than they will around any other type of transit mode," said Anderson.

The trolley would run down the center of the street, which would eliminate some parking on west main--but planners hope it will cut down on the amount of traffic. There will still be room for bike lanes on either side. The Alliance for Community Choice and Transportation will have a meeting open for public comment on Monday and Wednesday of this week at the Community Design Center on the Downtown Mall.

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