[tabi] from the Democrat: more on the party bus

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 09:05:49 -0400

Trolley proposal underway for Gaines Street, Midto...: Come mid to late
July, three

of Tallahassee's booming areas will be connected through a transit loop
by way of

a trolley.

Written by

TaMaryn Waters

Democrat staff writer


A proposal is underway to add trolley service to serve Midtown, Gaines
Street and

Cascades Park. If approved, the short-term plan is to "wrap" an existing
city bus

to resemble the look of a trolley until trolleys are brought to the

Here comes the Rhythm, to the beat of a possible trolley route around

hot spots.

Inspired by the bubbling music and arts scene on Gaines Street, the
soon-to-be amphitheater

at Cascades Park and nightlife in Midtown, the Rhythm trolley will be a
transit loop

connecting the three areas - all booming with development.

Tallahassee is no stranger to trolleys. The city had the service years
ago but it

focused primarily downtown. About 40 curious residents attended
StarMetro's first

listening session on the two-phase proposal that would, if city
commissioners approve

it on July 10, bring trolley service on line in mid to late July. A
second chance

to offer public input will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Council on
Culture and

Arts, 816 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The plan is to start off small by wrapping two existing buses' exteriors
to resemble

the look of a trolley. It would run from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and

although some businesses are already lobbying for lunchtime service,
said City Commissioner

Nancy Miller.

But actual trolleys, courtesy of the city of West Palm Beach at no
charge to the

city, would be brought in sometime in spring 2014.

The trolley service would not be another "Night 'Nole" bus, a specialty
transit service

by StarMetro geared mostly toward college students along West Tennessee
Street and

nearby apartments.

"This is serving more origins and destinations than that," said Brian
Waterman, a

planning manager at StarMetro, regarding the "Rhythm."

Why the name Rhythm?

"There's a music scene here in Tallahassee we are trying to build on,"
Waterman said,

noting the large, vibrant music-inspired mural in the Gaines Street
district, a unique

bus shelter with steel musicians also there and ticketed concerts to
come once the

Cascades amphitheater opens in the fall.

Those trolley-curious attendees Tuesday peppered StarMetro staffers with

ranging from parking concerns for neighborhoods off Betton Place, added
noise and

an influx of drunk residents looking for a good time.

But most appeared to be on board.

Chris Robinson, 39, and John Wallace, 48, are members of the Midtown
Working Group

- a coalition of surrounding neighborhoods and businesses banding
together to improve

the developing district. Both are strong supporters of trolley service.

"Hopefully, it will alleviate some of the parking in the adjacent

said Wallace, who lives in Midtown. "People can come here from downtown
or Gaines

Street and don't have to come and park in the residential areas."

Robinson agreed, adding Midtown parking may become a growing issue as
the area continues

to develop. "I feel strongly that Midtown has a lot of synergy and there
are dynamic

things happening."

For a city like Tallahassee, Robinson said the Rhythm trolley adds an
amenity and

infrastructure residents would expect in order to make the most of the
city's nightlife.

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