City looks to clarify trolley system goals

Asheville City Council members and staff are looking to clarify the city’s goal of building a trolley system, in light of a proposal to build a shuttle service.

Building a trolley system is one of the city’s goals in its strategic plan, but Council member Jan Davis said he feels there’s a need to clarify exactly what the city means by that, and what it’s willing to pursue.

“There were a lot of questions unanswered,” Davis says. “We’re not looking for an immediate solution, but we hope to discuss it at the committee level. It’s useful to see what Council has in mind. Our view originally was more open-ended, we were originally thinking a hybrid short bus route, but the expenses for that looked pretty excessive. We need to revisit it.”

The need for clarification became even more pressing, he notes, after he saw David Mosrie and Jonathan Glover recently pitch an e-shuttle plan to the downtown commission.

“It’s a plan of running an electric shuttle into downtown, kind of a three-legged approach from downtown to River Arts district and Biltmore Village,” Davis tells Xpress. “They would have an iPhone app that would allow the dispatcher to communicate with the rider. Instead of a fixed transit route, it would be a shuttle based on demand. It’s pretty interesting.”

While that proposal is still searching for financing, Davis said it brought up the fact that staff was unsure of Council’s expectation in building a shuttle or trolley system.

Originally Council’s Planning and Economic Development committee, at Davis’ urging, was set to consider the matter tomorrow, Oct. 18, but that meeting was cancelled late last week after the committee’s other two council members — Esther Manheimer and Gordon Smith — had scheduling conflicts. The committee’s next meeting is currently scheduled for Nov. 15.

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One thought on “City looks to clarify trolley system goals

  1. As I noted during the debate on the 51 Biltmore parking deck – for the cost of the deck we could have built a trolley system a couple of miles in length. It would have served a wide swath of downtown, utilizing existing parking and reducing traffic.

    Unfortunately, my fellow Council members preferred to build a deck on over-priced land (without even demanding a revaluation based on the economic collapse).

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