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 George Washington Middle School, 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 Cora Kelly Recreation Center. 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.”