Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Marin Considers trolleys
Saturday 17 Nov 2007, 03:45
Filed under: Railroad | Tags: ,

BACK TO THE future. Two local architects are pushing a trolley system – complete with electric cars that are replicates of antiques. Given Marin’s increasing traffic congestion, the concept certainly is worth exploring further. A trolley won’t solve all of Marin’s traffic woes, but Michael Rex and Allan Nichol deserve credit for stepping forward with an intriguing proposal.They also have gotten the attention of elected leaders in Southern Marin, who say the trolley plan could work.

Money, of course, will largely determine whether the trolley system ever becomes reality.

Rex and Nichol envision a trolley that would run on tracks built into existing roads and flow with traffic. They would be powered by a single overhead electric wire.

They figure it would cost $20 million to $50 million to get a demonstration line up and running from the Depot in Mill Valley to ferry terminal in Sausalito in five years. Trolleys would stop every quarter or half mile along Miller Avenue and then Bridgeway.

Trolleys eventually could serve Novato, San Rafael, Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross and Tiburon.

Southern Marin Supervisor Charles McGlashan and Sausalito Councilman Paul Albritton said the idea is worth pursuing.

The next step will be to develop some realistic projections on what a trolley system would cost, what it would take to build and where the money would come from. Even $50 million seems wildly optimistic, but given Marin’s desperate need for more transit options, it certainly is worth a serious look. It wasn’t that many decades ago that Marin had a vibrant passenger train system. Perhaps it is time to start borrowing from the past to address our current and future transportation needs.

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