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Date of Issue: January 30, 2008

Trolley expansion on Bridge Street OK by merchants

Bring that trolley down Bridge Street!

That statement resonated among the Bridge Street merchants last week, when the ad hoc group met and signed a letter addressed to Manatee County officials indicating the group’s endorsement of an added stop to the Manatee Island Trolley at the east end of Bridge Street.

The plan, merchants hope, will have both north and south trolleys traverse the Bradenton Beach business district during the free transit’s loop of the Island.

Delivery trucks will be kept off Bridge Street to facilitate the trolley run, all merchants present agreed. Some trees also will need to be trimmed, as well as alterations to the roundabout at the east end of Bridge Street. Plus removal of some bollards at the Pines Trailer Park will be necessary. All changes could be accomplished, it was determined.

The big buses can make the turns onto and off Bridge Street, as well as the U-turn at the east end of the business district, but currently it takes a bit of a “back-and-fill” action, which is not appropriate, according to transit officials.

The trolleys “can make the turn if we take the bollards out” at the Pines, City Commissioner Janie Robertson said, adding that “the Pines residents are excited about this.”

Next up is county approval, which Manatee County community services director Fred Loveland told The Islander would entail approval by the board of county commissioners.

“We will be reporting to the board within the next few weeks,” Loveland said. He said that normal transit stop changes generally don’t require such high-profile approval, but since the Manatee Trolley route change has garnered such interest, county officials determined it should go to the commission for approval.