How lack of trolley service hurts business
How can you have a city and that city picks and chooses who gets mass transit? Can you imagine if the NY subway was not put into all the neighborhoods because some of them are not up to par? How stupid is that?
When I asked the Commissioners office about this, I was given these four reasons for Coconut Grove not having the trolleys. I asked many times and these were the answers given to me four of the times I asked: I was told that there aren't enough to go around, that if we added trolleys to the Grove, it would add eight minutes to the route schedule and that would slow it down too much, that we have the Circulator bus so we didn't need the trolley and we didn't need a trolley since we could walk from one end of the Center Grove to the other.
Most losses from lack of trolley service are obvious, so many people could be coming into the Center Grove to spend money. Something like the Coconut Grove Arts Festival could benefit from the service by bringing many more people in; people who avoid the festival now due to lack of parking and all the traffic. Imagine a fun trolley going back and forth between the Grove Arts Festival and the Wynwood Arts Festival the same weekend. Imagine the Grove even being part of Art Basel every year by having a trolley shuttle people back and forth.
But one large loss of business comes from the regattas, which happen right here in Coconut Grove. We have so many of them on our waterfront during a six month period. It's always been a project to get the sailors to leave the area and come up into the village. They sail all day and are exhausted by nightfall. They just want to stay put. Usually they eat and drink on site of the many clubs where the regattas are held and they then just go back to their hotels.
In the past there has been the Sail the Grove group who did everything from theme nights to offering restaurant and bar discounts to having an Amazing Race-type night and even scavenger hunts to get the sailors into town. Even Grove Bucks were printed and handed out as a way to get the regatta people to spend money in the Center Grove. Everything but a shuttle service was used, and the trolleys are perfect for that.
The reason this came to mind is because during the Orange Bowl Regatta, last month, I saw Coral Gables trolleys on South Bayshore Drive, right here in Coconut Grove, shuttling the sailors around. I tried to get answers, but of course no one would tell me the reason. I am assuming they were either taking the sailors back to hotels in the Gables or what I really suspect is that they were nabbing these people from the Grove and taking them to shop, dine and unwind on Miracle Mile. And you see, if we had a trolley here, the sailors would be apt to hop on and take the quarter mile ride into the Center Village.
As for the Gables trolley, they want their maintenance facility in the Village West, but when residents asked if they could take the trolley into the Gables they were flatly turned down. Now get this, the trolley facility is here, people were willing to walk to the facility to take it, they didn't expect it to change routes to pick they up, they just wanted to hop on and get off in Coral Gables. They were told flat out "no." I suspect if the trolley facility was on Brickell, the answer would have been "yes." But of course, the trolley facility never would be anywhere near a neighborhood like Brickell. It's not even in its own neighborhood of Coral Gables. That would mess up the new Epicure Market area.
If we had a trolley service that hooked up with the Coral Gables service, many of us would go to the Gables more often. I avoid it mostly on weekdays due to the traffic and lack of parking.
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