Trolley shelters await final approval

Shelter is one of the three basic needs of humans — and a want for trolley riders.

Four of Bradenton Beach’s free trolley stops now offer shelter from the elements for those people awaiting a ride on the Manatee County transit trolley system.

It was announced during a January capital improvement projects/city commission meeting that installation of four shelters would be completed by the end of February. Delays in the project did arise, but according to Bradenton Beach building official Steve Gilbert, the project is now all but completed.

“There are a couple of them that are still going to get some decorative items and handrails installed, but they are 99 percent complete,” said Gilbert. “All we have to do now is get final (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) approval, which should take place in the next week or two.”

Students from Manatee Technical Institute were initially designated to do the woodwork for the shelters, but spring break slowed the project down.

“They prefabricated the wood at the school and they did complete two of them,” said Gilbert. “But it appeared it was going to get dragged out beyond our timeline, so the city authorized the remaining two to be contracted out.”

The shelters were paid for through a Manatee County transportation grant. Gilbert said the county’s goal is to shelter all of the bus/trolley stops within the county “for convenience” to riders, he said.

“But the city is a little different,” he said. “Everything that is done on the Island has to have DEP approval first. While that process doesn’t take a long time, it does slow things down, and it means we have to make sure we have all of our I’s dotted and T’s crossed before we do anything.”

Gilbert said the four new shelters were part of a two-year process, and there are no plans for shelters at the remaining trolley stops in Bradenton Beach.

“This project was funded through a grant, and right now, we don’t have any funding to do anymore,” he said.

Trolley riders will soon enjoy shade and shelter from the elements at 27th Street and Gulf Drive; Katie Pierola Park at 2200 Gulf Drive N.; 1801 Gulf Drive N.; and Ninth Street South at Cortez Beach.

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