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butttrumpet

A Fayetteville Streetcar/Trolley

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I think a streetcar line going from The Square, down East, to Dickson, and and up Dickson with a turnaround on the U of A campus, back down Dickson, and to The Square via Block would have excellent ridership.

Imagine gamedays how heavily used it would be. Imagine every night of the week, students hopping on it as a safe way to get to and from Dickson and The Square.

After the A&P renovates 6th/MLK, they need to make this their priority.

Once its shown to be successful, extensions could be made from that system.

But, everybody would freak out when they started to put up the overhead wires for the streetcar.

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A few years back, I remember meeting someone who was promoting a light rail transit plan for Northwest Arkansas being proposed in conjunction with the University of Arkansas. They had professionally prepared maps, plans, drawings, and brochures. That group seems to have disappeared. What happened to that project?

P.S. I just got back from Los Angeles on a business trip and rode the redline, blueline, and green line light rails. It was clean, faster than driving, easy, and took me everywhere I needed to go on business, plus to places I might never have gone - downtown Long Beach, Universal Studios, downtown Los Angeles, L.A. County Museum of Art, and Olvera Street. It was full of passengers from every walk of life, from well-dressed business executives to working people to college students. It was easy to imagine a similar above ground light rail for our area.

My observation relevant for Northwest Arkansas is that while some of the routes were underground, the "above ground" tracks ran alongside freight car rail lines, down the middle of freeways, and in the middle of the streets. All these are viable options for light rail route choices in Northwest Arkansas.

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I think a trolley/streetcar would be a great idea. While I am not sure how much support it would get, it would add a lot to the area. I know that the one in Little Rock has been quite successful, and while its not always fun to get stuck behind one in traffic, the sense of pride that I get in seeing more than makes up for the lost time. I also know that when people come to visit, they are really impressed by it, and their view of Little Rock as a whole increases.

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I think a trolley/streetcar would be a great idea. While I am not sure how much support it would get, it would add a lot to the area. I know that the one in Little Rock has been quite successful, and while its not always fun to get stuck behind one in traffic, the sense of pride that I get in seeing more than makes up for the lost time. I also know that when people come to visit, they are really impressed by it, and their view of Little Rock as a whole increases.

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A trolley makes even more sense on Dickson Street than it does in the River Market.

Like in San Francisco, one of the major impediments to pedestrian activity between the U of A campus and Downtown/Dickson is the topography. Those hills are killer, especially in high heels or dress shoes, or after several drinks.

There are 4000 on campus residents who could feasibly hop on the trolley and ride it to the bars and restaurants on Dickson and The Square. If there was a trolley, the campus population would be more likely to head east downtown for shopping, dining, etc. And on game days (of which there are many, today in fact is a "gameday" with 20,000 fans going to the basketball game) if people knew there was a trolley, they'd be more likely to start and finish their gameday downtown and on Dickson.

Charge a buck for a ride and I think you'd have a winner. I could definitely see myself riding it. The A&P should take this up as their next big project. It would pay off and make living downtown even more attractive than it already is.

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A trolley makes even more sense on Dickson Street than it does in the River Market.

Like in San Francisco, one of the major impediments to pedestrian activity between the U of A campus and Downtown/Dickson is the topography. Those hills are killer, especially in high heels or dress shoes, or after several drinks.

There are 4000 on campus residents who could feasibly hop on the trolley and ride it to the bars and restaurants on Dickson and The Square. If there was a trolley, the campus population would be more likely to head east downtown for shopping, dining, etc. And on game days (of which there are many, today in fact is a "gameday" with 20,000 fans going to the basketball game) if people knew there was a trolley, they'd be more likely to start and finish their gameday downtown and on Dickson.

Charge a buck for a ride and I think you'd have a winner. I could definitely see myself riding it. The A&P should take this up as their next big project. It would pay off and make living downtown even more attractive than it already is.

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This topic has gotten some crosstalk on other topics, so here's my little fantasy streetcar system:

The aforementioned Square down East, up Dickson to the U of A, with stops between West Ave and the RR tracks. Then up and over the hills onto campus with a stop/turnaround in front of Gregson Lodge. Back down Dickson, with the same West Ave/RR track stop, perhaps at an off street cut-out in the existing parking lot there.

Back up to Block and to the Square.

Extensions in the future would include a line running from Dickson and/or the Square, North on College Avenue, with stops near Trenton, with pedestrian improvements making it easier to walk to Wilson Park. Another stop at UAMS Northwest, and finally, a turn in and turnaround at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center, giving downtown residents and guest a ride to Ozark Natural Foods. The parking at Evelyn Hills could be a spot in Midtown for people to park and catch the trolley downtown and to the University.

Future extensions could take a line south of downtown via Archibald Yell to the Mill District, then back up South School, with a stop at the Library, and then onto Dickson.

Maybe with an alternative transportation grant, funding using the A&P Commission revenues, and even a bond issue, we could get this done. It would become an attraction in itself, and make our town so much cooler, greener, hipper, and easier to get around without driving a car.

Thoughts?

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Sounds good. Was not expecting an actual route layout.

Could also go North on Garland from Dickson to the UofA Bus depot. That way it could be extended further down Garland (to serve all of the UofA Students, anyone know what the most used bus routes are?) or down Maple. From there it could come back to Dickson via Arkansas Ave, West Ave (even better), or stop at the garage on N Highland Ave.

So many possibilities.

Anyone try to contact current administration about this idea or better yet, this thread?

_________________

New Idea:

So, start at the UofA bus stop. Head South and then turn East on West Dickson. Turn South on West Ave. Turn East on West Mountain Street, follow to square. Turn North on North East Ave, follow to Dickson. Turn West on Dickson to West Ave. Turn North on West Ave. Go West on Maple Street. Finally turn South on Garland Ave to return to UofA Bus Depot.

This will in effect run the rail along many major points with minimal overlap, have the UofA Bus Depot and parking garage, go by the Lofts which has a parking garage, run by the Library which has a deck, The square which has a parking deck less than a block away and will also have the Renaissance deck once built. I am sure I missed some major parking along that run.

Butttrumpet gave me an idea and I kind of ran with it. Sorry.

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Interesting ideas. Of course I have no problem with an extended route. But originally I was thinking mainly just running between the university down to the Square. I think this route would be the most feasible. But even if we could get that done I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it extended to other areas like Wilson Park or Evelyn Hills. I just figured we should find some way of getting one started with a basic route and then we could work on expanding it from there. :D

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Yeah, I know. Starting small is the only way we would start anything... But the idea just flew in my head and it ended up on the screen. Wishful thinking. A street trolley would make the area so much more dense though. I would love that but not sure if all of Fayetteville would.

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Same here. Stream of consciousness going. I think it would be wonderful. And I'd hope that most of the ultra-greenies in the center of town and Mt. Sequoyah would see the benefit of having a street car system, if that was just a UA/Square loop.

People like to ride trolleys and trains. People don't like to ride buses as much. There's a kitsch factor to hopping on a trolley, and a sentimental one, as well. Having trolley cars going up and down our hills would help calm and slow traffic even more, which I think would be great for the central city.

Its much more feasible for Fayetteville now than light rail will be for the next 15 years, and it would give all the super-greenies options on how to never drive, ever.

When I thought of the Evelyn Hills route, it made perfect sense to me. ONF isn't going anywhere. All the hippies shop there, and it would be a destination that, along with the downtown businesses, could provide a person virtually everything they'd need. So in truth, there would be no need for a car at all. And, being on a trolley stop would enhance Evelyn Hills, and spur more new development in that area of College Avenue. Plus, that hill just is not pedestrian-friendly to get over from downtown.

That would also allow a stop for Wilson Park (at Lacuna) because the master plan for North College Avenue includes a short area of median and pedestrian improvements right there to allow a pedestrian crossing for people east of College who are walking to Wilson Park.

Okay, I'm ready to start the Fayetteville Trolley Foundation. Who's with me?

I might need to change my name, though...

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Same here. Stream of consciousness going. I think it would be wonderful. And I'd hope that most of the ultra-greenies in the center of town and Mt. Sequoyah would see the benefit of having a street car system, if that was just a UA/Square loop.

People like to ride trolleys and trains. People don't like to ride buses as much. There's a kitsch factor to hopping on a trolley, and a sentimental one, as well. Having trolley cars going up and down our hills would help calm and slow traffic even more, which I think would be great for the central city.

Its much more feasible for Fayetteville now than light rail will be for the next 15 years, and it would give all the super-greenies options on how to never drive, ever.

When I thought of the Evelyn Hills route, it made perfect sense to me. ONF isn't going anywhere. All the hippies shop there, and it would be a destination that, along with the downtown businesses, could provide a person virtually everything they'd need. So in truth, there would be no need for a car at all. And, being on a trolley stop would enhance Evelyn Hills, and spur more new development in that area of College Avenue. Plus, that hill just is not pedestrian-friendly to get over from downtown.

That would also allow a stop for Wilson Park (at Lacuna) because the master plan for North College Avenue includes a short area of median and pedestrian improvements right there to allow a pedestrian crossing for people east of College who are walking to Wilson Park.

Okay, I'm ready to start the Fayetteville Trolley Foundation. Who's with me?

I might need to change my name, though...

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Same here. Stream of consciousness going. I think it would be wonderful. And I'd hope that most of the ultra-greenies in the center of town and Mt. Sequoyah would see the benefit of having a street car system, if that was just a UA/Square loop.

People like to ride trolleys and trains. People don't like to ride buses as much. There's a kitsch factor to hopping on a trolley, and a sentimental one, as well. Having trolley cars going up and down our hills would help calm and slow traffic even more, which I think would be great for the central city.

Its much more feasible for Fayetteville now than light rail will be for the next 15 years, and it would give all the super-greenies options on how to never drive, ever.

When I thought of the Evelyn Hills route, it made perfect sense to me. ONF isn't going anywhere. All the hippies shop there, and it would be a destination that, along with the downtown businesses, could provide a person virtually everything they'd need. So in truth, there would be no need for a car at all. And, being on a trolley stop would enhance Evelyn Hills, and spur more new development in that area of College Avenue. Plus, that hill just is not pedestrian-friendly to get over from downtown.

That would also allow a stop for Wilson Park (at Lacuna) because the master plan for North College Avenue includes a short area of median and pedestrian improvements right there to allow a pedestrian crossing for people east of College who are walking to Wilson Park.

Okay, I'm ready to start the Fayetteville Trolley Foundation. Who's with me?

I might need to change my name, though...

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I though since this has been getting a lot of discussion lately that we could go ahead and start up a new topic. I moved all the recent posts that were in the transportation topic over to here. Hopefully nobody minds.

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Seems like quite a few people really like the idea including me. I was curious to see if anybody has problems with the idea. I imagine the cost of a project like this could make it problematic. Then some people will probably not like the changes it would make to some streets. I'll have to check out the trolley topic over on the Little Rock forum and see if it's gives me ideas of things to mention in this one.

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Here's a link to the River Rail topic over in the Little Rock forum. I thought some of you might find it of interest and see some possible comparisons to a streetcar/trolley system here to one that's already existing down in Little Rock. Note you don't have to go far before there's a mention from me about the possibility of one here in Fayetteville almost a couple of years ago. :D

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/River-Rail-t20171.html

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I think it is a neat idea. You could do it with gas or battery-powered electric trolleys and run not a single line, too. It would add a fun element to Fayetteville and serve a purpose!

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I think it is a neat idea. You could do it with gas or battery-powered electric trolleys and run not a single line, too. It would add a fun element to Fayetteville and serve a purpose!

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Thats a great idea. The only drawback I can think of to the project is the lines that would have to go overhead. There are ways to make those a part of the streetscape, such as hanging cool, decorative light fixtures from them, but I think that would be the biggest protest point. I had no idea that trolleys could go on batteries. Maybe propane is an option. A lot of larger cities run their buses on propane so that they have fewer emissions.

There's gotta be a way the city could get a green transportation grant, especially with the new Obama administration coming in.

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So I logged on and seen the New Topic... 19 posts... Wait, why have I not seen this yet. Started looking and, wait, I have posted in here. Not sure why it didn't dawn on me that you would create the new topic and move the appropriate posts. I was thinking of creating a new one (I might have submitted a letter to the editor and mentioned urbanplanet.org, I hope they keep that part) since it would be easier to navigate. So thank you!

But as far as this goes, a lot of enthusiasm of late. I wonder how much support it would draw outside of us few that have mentioned it. It would be nice to have Jordan's Square road around Fayetteville changed to be a trolley system in the downtown area. That would help so much with bus service and a light rail if it ever happens. I also think the wires would be a hindrance. I can understand why some would like them but they are comparable to miniature power lines. Back in the day they were viewed as a great thing to have, now they are just annoying lines that obstruct your view of things. There is the option of gasoline/propane/natural gas/diesel (anyone remember the push for biodiesel the UofA and city made?)/ and yes even hydrogen and electric. Not sure if there can be ground electrical lines that can be utilized.

So how feasible is it to start a push? How would someone push for something like this? Is it possible to conduct a survey? Do I need to go to a council meeting and ask if it has ever been suggested? I guess I will do some research. I know Seattle has had some issues with theirs but not sure how it was implemented and funded.

Also, I think the main benefit would be to replace the bus along Dickson and use for game days. For everyday use outside of this, I am not sure it would be used to the needed amount to be feasible. Although on game days, if it is used, would almost make up for it.

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I imagine a Square to U of A route being used a lot. At lunchtime, the office workers on The Square can head to Dickson without worrying about getting a parking spot, etc. The U of A students AND the thousands of employees, can go to Dickson and the Square for lunch or a beer.

People staying at the Cosmo, and the Renaissance (assuming its built) can hop on it to get to Dickson. U of A students can use it as a safe way to get back to campus after a night on the town.

Weekends, Farmer's Market on the square, then brunch on Dickson. The WM Shareholders would fill it up for another week because none of them have cars. Walton Arts Center patrons, people going to the post office, the list of potential riders is endless. Imagine the coolness of catching a trolley at the big lot on Dickson and riding around the Square with the Lights of the Ozarks in full blaze.

The biggest proponents of this should be the business owners on the Sqaure and on Dickson both as it would open up a lot of new potential customers for them. I think the U of A should be involved, too, since it would add a really cool aspect to their campus to have reliable trolley service to all the offerings on the Square.

I have done the walk from Dickson to the Square or the bars on Block a few times. Although its not really that far, it sure is uphill and quite a workout.

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I imagine a Square to U of A route being used a lot. At lunchtime, the office workers on The Square can head to Dickson without worrying about getting a parking spot, etc. The U of A students AND the thousands of employees, can go to Dickson and the Square for lunch or a beer.

People staying at the Cosmo, and the Renaissance (assuming its built) can hop on it to get to Dickson. U of A students can use it as a safe way to get back to campus after a night on the town.

Weekends, Farmer's Market on the square, then brunch on Dickson. The WM Shareholders would fill it up for another week because none of them have cars. Walton Arts Center patrons, people going to the post office, the list of potential riders is endless. Imagine the coolness of catching a trolley at the big lot on Dickson and riding around the Square with the Lights of the Ozarks in full blaze.

The biggest proponents of this should be the business owners on the Sqaure and on Dickson both as it would open up a lot of new potential customers for them. I think the U of A should be involved, too, since it would add a really cool aspect to their campus to have reliable trolley service to all the offerings on the Square.

I have done the walk from Dickson to the Square or the bars on Block a few times. Although its not really that far, it sure is uphill and quite a workout.

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So how feasible is it to start a push? How would someone push for something like this? Is it possible to conduct a survey? Do I need to go to a council meeting and ask if it has ever been suggested? I guess I will do some research. I know Seattle has had some issues with theirs but not sure how it was implemented and funded.

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If it doesn't have overhead wires then it is not a trolley. A trolley gets its name from the trolley poles on top of it that connect to the overhead wires. The are ways for a trolley system to be powered without overhead wires. Some systems in the U.S. have a power unit that can be used to power the trolley if something is wrong with the electrical system. What is wrong with the overhead wires? I sort of like them. They add to the streetscape.

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