A Grassroots Re-route of the Trolley route. I’m really rooting for this!

I was going to work on this post next week, but after just texting it over with local John McNally, I believe we came up with the best way for our trolleys (that’s plural) to be utilized in Long Beach.

Unlike the normal bus system, which is an Island-wide people mover, the main purpose of the trolley is to get folks to and from the transportation hub and commercial districts. For that reason alone, the trolley route needs to be frequent and simple.

Here is the current route:

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.04.21 AMHere is the SeabytheCity/John McNally proposed Route (neither official, nor city endorsed):trolleyroute2

The SeabytheCity/John McNally Route would utilize both city-owned trolleys (open air and closed “shoppers special”). With the LIRR station as the main hub, one trolley goes east on Park Avenue (East Loop), while the other goes west (West Loop).

The West Loop trolley would stop at the LIRR station and go directly to the West End before finishing its loop. I nominate the open air trolley for the West Loop. It’s the most fun and best incentive to get those LIRR visitors to go west. The East Loop Trolley will go east to Roosevelt Blvd and will cut down to Shore Road ,etc. Follow the lines on the map above (West Loop is red, East Loop is blue).

This route would cover more of Park Avenue, making the trolley system more accessible.Those in the northern WestHolme section would have better trolley access than what they currently have.

Right now the open air trolley takes an estimated 50/60 minutes to complete the full loop. With both trolleys in circulation, this time would be cut in half, giving you more opinions for your overall destination.

Again, this is just something we came up with for fun. How would you folks fix the trolley route?

Related Story: MY RIDE ON THE OPEN AIR TROLLEY

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58 thoughts on “A Grassroots Re-route of the Trolley route. I’m really rooting for this!”

  1. Why Not Transport people to beach from Rail Road Station and Back to Station when there stay is done ??? Be safer ,i’ve seen the amount of people coming to Long Beach all Summer long by LIRR .A nice Courtesy Ride to Beach Goes a long way ..

  2. the additional thinking in this is frequency and consistency (both of which are necessary to make it work). plop your butt on one of those streets and you know one of the trolleys will be by within 20 minutes. plus, if part of the idea behind the trolleys is to get the beach ‘visitors’ to start frequenting our local businesses, this should do the trick. they know where it goes, that it will come back and, say they opt to go to the west end for lunch, they’ll have the option to either head back to the beach or straight back to the train with little to no confusion or anxiety. is that not what a trolley experience should be all about?

  3. Here I go again folks. I’m sorry but I just can’t help it.
    This is such a simple, workable, efficient way to make use of the two trollies.
    But why is it left up to a normal resident to come up with an obvious answer to the trolly situation?
    Of course it would work. Of course it would be put to use.
    Of course we are paying someone in City Hall to be in charge of the trollies but he/she can’t figure out how to develop a way to make people use them. Much like the regular buses.
    TILB.
    And Rec and Allison make sense also.
    When the LIRR unloads during the summer months literally hundreds of people swarm through the station and have to walk to the beach. Why not have both of these trollies head straight to the beach with one then heading west and the other east. Or else just have a shuttle go back and forth from the station and the beach. If necessary charge a nominal amount like 50cents.
    And the trollies should run late especially in the summer.
    I’m sure people will see some faults in my proposals but it’s time to get someone on the payroll in City Hall to give thought to these issues and come up with workable schemes instead of seeing empty trollies and buses going by.

  4. Great job! Shows how important having community involvement is. The schedule made by the city with no input from residents isn’t very effective. This one thought up by 2 residents puts not one but 2 of our 200K trolleys to work!

  5. Great to see Allison and Allison K are on board with the new trolley or trolleys. A number of board members from the Chamber of Commerce as well business owners from Beech Street and Park Avenue engaged the City’s Economic Development Corp. (Patti Bourne) in a series of meetings which began prior to Memorial Day. It was the intent to see how the trolley as well as the Ambassador Tents would best serve our local businesses and visitors. From our original meetings we had pushed for the 2nd trolley to run simultaneously and to make it more user friendly. The response from Economic Development was since this is new, let’s see how this works. My thought was if you spent $233K on a trolley you better know it’s going to work. Obviously something need to be tweaked, however it is important to point out that there are a number of new initiatives. Some will be received well and some, not so well (i.e. garbage receptacles), but it is always important to have community input. Presently, if you wish to catch the trolley it is waiting for you in front of Burger King and not the transportation hub. Once of the additional ideas that we had for the trolley was to have an automated message to make the trolley, once again, more user friendly. As far as the trolley running late night, it will never happen. The City already provides a free bus out of the West End for its late night patrons. And, by the way, congratulations to John McNally as he will be honored this year by the Chamber of Commerce for all his efforts in the recovery and rebuilding of Long Beach.

  6. I would like to thank John and Anthony for putting this together – great work. The one thing I would like to see added is a loop around the rec center, giving access to the Rec, the fishing pier, and the ball fields. It could go up and down on Magnolia, turning around would new no problem that lot is rarely filled.

  7. @ Christine- totally agree. I have some concerns about the longevity of the Trolley plan itself. (Duplication of existing routes.) But this loop would be a great addition to any of the bus routes. Even a lot of locals don’t know how beautiful the Bay is, never get up there. (I wonder how many realize we have beautiful sunsets over the Bay all summer?) Exposure of that area to tourists might even bring some of them back in off-season for the ice rink, fishing off the pier, and a (?) movie.

  8. “My thought was if you spent $233K on a trolley you better know it’s going to work.” I could not agree with you more, Jamie!

    Jamie, the problem with the trolley from the very beginning was no one asked for it. It was purchased in a half assed manner by someone who spent MONTHS on the grant for it – if only that time was spent on something more useful and needed.
    It was added to an already inefficient public transportation system. The route it takes overlaps the existing loop routes. The Shoppers Special is so underutilized – it travels down past all the beach entrances and could have been easily repurposed as the beach trolley. In fact, I had repeatedly suggested that.
    You now have 4 bus/trolley routes that overlap inefficiently – yet people have to literally flag them down to get on because there is no proper signage. The signs that are up say “bus stop”. Ok, it’s a bus stop …. for the N33 or N15- what’s that? You cannot assume that people are trolley or bus literate because the city posted info on the website or handed out “schedules” a couple of time at the LIRR.

    There is a stop in front of Burger King- that’s fine but where is the sign for it? The problem is we have all of these routes and no one knows how to access them. The trolley was thrown into service without any signs and what happens when it rains? How many bus shelters do we have?

    The whole trolley thing was poorly thought out and put out on the street in an embarrassingly amateur manner. I often wonder if the city just doesn’t want anyone to utilize forms of alternative transportation by the manner in which our streets are run. The trolley is not user friendly. It is no different than our Loops which are ignored.

    Those great recycle bins (I like them, wish we had more) were placed at some of the bus/trolley stops in the West End and block wheelchair access. How fair is it that a wheelchair user has to navigate onto the street to get onto a bus because those are in the way? Not safe, not smart. Can we move them?

  9. flaws I see with the suggestion of trolley to beach from LIRR is it would take as many trolleys as train cars to move those people and when those people come off train they spread out and shop at various businesses in area for lunch, snacks, sundries, etc. Take them straight to beach and those businesses lose those sales.

  10. Can someone touch on the economics and the purpose of all these ideas? If we shuttle more people to the west end from the LIRR, eventually the West End beaches will become more crowded with people we don’t know around our children. Of course the businesses will see the immediate impact of more sales before the access to the beach is discovered. Now, if pizza, burgers, and nail extensions sales increase in the West End, what positive impact does that have on anything related to a homeowner? The homeowner’s taxes don’t go down, they probably won’t even go flat has City service costs are increased. I get it that the bar/restaurant owner could see a substantial monetary gain in the summer, but what does that mean other than crowded bars, streets, restaurants, etc? I realize that some of the businesses are struggling and that all their investment did little more than buy themselves a job, but maybe that was a bad business model or bad location choice for their business. And because of that, it’s up to a few people to figure out how to crowd an already overcrowded area? I am pleading ignorance as far as community planning in the West End is concerned so I will ask this of someone – Pick any business(s) and look them up on the tax roles, double their sales figures for the year, and explain the benefit to West Enders. Presumably, the LIRR travelers weren’t driving anyway, but other might. So you might see an increase in cars, more strangers on otherwise quite beaches, crowded restaurants, additional expensive City Services, and so on. I realize we are not Atlantic Beach where businesses are not really part of the community, but we’re also not Astoria. Why this sudden need to have the place as jam packed as Brooklyn and Queens? We’re not those places. Give us back something. OK, so we have a beautiful boardwalk that we share – how about a paved road, a bike lane, a storm drain that works, something! What am I missing? I wish people would get behind ideas that will make a real difference like fighting for a real hospital. We lost over a 1,000 jobs, and roughly 250 million in the economy and we’re mired in controversy over whether to stain or paint the bike lane and making sure open air trolleys are accessible enough for non-residents.

  11. This was an interesting post.
    1) “The West End beaches will become more crowded with people we don’t know around our children.”
    I don’t see West End families hanging signs on themselves saying “Hello My Name is…” You are just as much a stranger to them as they are to you and you will be around their children. Ever notice how kids don’t have any of these hang ups? They can walk up to another kid they never met and start building sand castles together. How about being friendly and saying hello and welcome to our beautiful community. Maybe you will make a new friend.

    2) “Their investment did little more than buy themselves a job.”
    I don’t know where to start with this one. So we don’t want to see our local businesses succeed…even if they our owned by our neighbors? So where will you go to shop or where will you go out to eat? And remember when you go to those other communities to shop and eat you will be that stranger in someone else’s community? Do you want them to treat you as unwelcome?

    3) “Double their sales figures for the year, and explain the benefit to West Enders.”
    This one is pretty easy. How about calculating what your taxes would be without the commercial businesses contributing to the tax base. You may not like that answer.

    You are right about one overarching point. There has to be a balance between the interests of the residents and the visitors to our community. Quite frankly, we seem to be flying by the seat of our pants right now. After this summer there should be a lessons learned session with city officials and residents to see what works and what needs tweaking, so we can do this much better going forward.

  12. I had that same fantasy, about a bus down the whole barrier island. One problem/blessing is that you can’t see the shore from the road in most areas nearby, so riders would just be seeing the back of the boardwalk. The trip down to the Loop Parkway and through Pt Lookout is beautiful. But once again, the “City” status of Long Beach seems to make barrier-wide cooperation impossible. Maybe some entrepreneur will get that same idea as you someday. Since we’re so deep into fantasyland, how about a boat full of visitors docking at the intact dock behind the lost Hospital, and the Trolley stopping there? That could really make a day of it, rather than just off the train, to the beach, and back.

  13. Allison sums up the most basic problem. The implementation is a little half-baked, with no signs and no schedules.

    We successfully won a $250,000 asset from a grant. Now we have to maintain the thing and operate it. Part of that is investing $33 each for Bus Stop signs and a grand for some timetables.

    First things first. I’d love to ride this thing. But I watch it pass me all day long empty because nobody has a clue to its operation.

  14. Neutron, I beg to differ on a number of your points. On number 1 you’re way off. People in the West End know exactly which kid belongs with which adult, who owns that boogie board, and whose wagon of toys that is. Don’t use the innocent nature of children as a defense of having many more strangers on the beach. It’s a very weak argument. On number 2, you’re implying I don’t want local businesses to succeed and I never said that. I’m all for a successful business model, just not one that relies on having to change the dynamic of a community towards overcrowding simply because they didn’t do the math, needs assessment, or want more income. As for the 3rd point, the easy one for you, you failed to answer it. I asked what benefit would it be to double the sales of a business, and you answered like a politician by pivoting the subject using a question of your own that is irrelevant. My point in posting was to ask the question, what is the benefit to the homeowner, the community at large, to send crowds to the West End? Why do we need a trolley/bus at the train station, etc to shuttle visitors around? Aside from being inconvenienced with parking, cycling, waiting for a table, having strangers frequenting my beach, and an increased need for city services, what else do I get?????

  15. “If we shuttle more people to the west end from the LIRR, eventually the West End beaches will become more crowded with people we don’t know around our children.”

    Wait, are you really saying that having someone who doesn’t live in town being around the children of Long Beach is a problem?

    If so, the only logical conclusion I can draw from this position is that Long Beach shouldn’t allow anyone who isn’t a resident on the beach because “OMG, won’t someone think of the children”. At that point, why stop at the beach, don’t let them on the sidewalk either because some stranger might sit across from your kid at the pizza place too.

  16. Agreed. It could be more awesome.

    The huge overlap, the lack of signs, there’s a lot to be desired with the execution of the transit systems.

  17. That Blueway sounds *great,* and we should be part of it. That would be another unique destination for our visitors. Hope everybody checks your link. The dock behind the Hospital was refurbished a few years ago, but damaged by Sandy. Still, the bulkheads are sound and the view is beautiful. Maybe the State or some NGO could save it before South Nassau trashes the whole area. Wow, boaters and kayakers coming to our nautical town, what a great blast from the past. The dock is on a narrow part of the channel, with beautiful homes and the IP clubs across the way. West view looks nice because of the bridge. To the east, Reynolds channel opens up wide and there’s lots of “scenic” boat traffic. Take a look at the view east where the Bay opens wide- a great spot worth saving- http://imgur.com/DfUkynU

  18. Jamie, I’m on board with the new trolleys just not our transportation department, economic development department and city officials who invest in it and then don’t seem to know how to properly use it. I just don’t want money wasted. Sadly we hired people not based on their resume but on who they know and that is why the trolley schedule was planned better by 2 residents in about 30 mins.

  19. You get to ride on the trolley too… I notice a lot of focus on visitors and not much on the tax payers/residents who live here. Plan for the residents and the visitors will come.

  20. Whether you intended your post this way or not, your words covey (to me at least) that you believe that the West End should be for West Enders only. And while I may not agree with your examples…I live in the West End and don’t know every kid on the beach, who they belong to and whose boggie board is whose….this seems to be a repeated theme in various posts…how open and accommodating should Long Beach be to visitors. That is a good question and one that should be discussed.

    It seems that the city threw open the gates to visitors this year without much thought or planning on how to accommodate the crowds. This was probably done for the businesses, since they had a very rough winter (especially in the West End) and this is their opportunity to play catch up. But doing so without proper planning (e.g. addressing parking, moving people around, public facilities) was/is shortsighted.

    The obvious group to dialog with on this issue is the city council. Attend a council meeting (first and third Tuesday of each month) and raise your concerns at a Good and Welfare session. The council should (should being the key term) respond to the public when enough of them raise an issue.

    But the one thing I think most people agree on with this issue is that the discussion needs to take place with elected officials, residents and business owners all sitting down together.

  21. There is a bus that runs from the train station along Park to the Post Office in Point Lookout. It is actually a Nassau County bus, but it is run by LB.

  22. Well, the alternative is to continue to gripe on social media and accomplish nothing. Better to at least try and address the issue with those that can make changes.

  23. Very cool thought. Take that to Point Lookout and stop for lunch. They actually have some boats and seafood restaurants down there.Ride back to LB, then transfer to the N33 from LB and take that to Atlantic Beach. Stop there for a walk down their beautiful little ad-free Boardwalk. Then back to Long Beach for ….? A beer and tacos?

  24. I really think the trolley needs to stay in Long Beach, needs to run a short loop and operate like a subway. So if you are at a trolley stop, you know you just have to wait a short while until one comes for you to hop on. We have a main bus system to take us to Point Lookout. If you stretch the trolley route too far, it wont be a good form of transportation because I know I wouldn’t want to wait an hour for hte next trolley to come.

    2 trolleys running short loops around the LB business areas only – for the purpose of bringing east to west or LIRRpeople to west and back east again. Quick, simple and effective.

    I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, so I might have to add more. I can’t think right now.

  25. 2 Questions.

    1. Do you think the City considered this and many other options before choosing what they chose?

    2. How much more would this idea cost taxpayers?

  26. Good questions. Well, we have the two trolleys already, but they’re on two separate routes and are being treated separately which makes no sense to me. I have no idea how to use the shoppers special trolley. The maps the city is handing out only has the open air trolley route on it. Why not just combine the two for the same route? Have one go east (seabythecity route), one go west (McNally Route).

    I think the only other investment to be made is actual trolley stop signs (they need to be cute and old fashioned looking) plus new maps and posters for the city bulletin boards.

    Would the city consider it? I have no idea, but I am going to try lol. Lots of ideas came from this blog already. I have been personally told that the food trucks, trapeze, mini golf and movies on the beach were results from discussions on this blog (all the power and credit goes to the wonderful people who made it all happen), so you never know.

  27. The trolley is a great idea. But to be honest, I don’t know much about it. Is it free? Where exactly does it go now? Where does it currently pick-up and drop off? The little I know about it is from Facebook (seeing friends riding on it) and I see it around town and most of the time is empty, which is sad. I know I would definitely make use of it and I think most residents would if there was more info about it. People need to remember that not everyone is on social media, so there needs to be other forms of communicating these things. I definitely agree there needs to be specific trolley stop signs. I have a feeling that most of the “train” people will still just walk down the street to Edwards/Riverside/National beaches just for the convenience. Some might branch out to other beaches, but I doubt many will. However, it is nice to have if someone wanted to check out a place to go eat in the west end that they heard about after the beach, or something like that. Also, I actually forgot about the free west end late night bus… so I think that most definitely needs more advertising too! And again, that is something I don’t know a lot about. How far does it take you? What are the hours of operation? Can you get on to go west or just to go home? These are great things that both residents and visitors should be taking advantage of but aren’t due to lack of advertising.

    As for the issues brought up about how will increasing business in the west end help the homeowners… maybe what you don’t realize is that a large majority of the businesses owned in the west end are owned by Long Beach home owners, with families of their own, who need that revenue to provide for their families and pay their taxes, mortgages, insurance, etc. ALL of the west end businesses are still struggling. They rely on summer business to keep them afloat through the slow winter months, and I can tell you these last two summers since the storm are not nearly what they have been in the past. Businesses ARE losing money. It has nothing to do with poor business models or location…. my family has had the same business, in the same location since the 70’s. These past 2 summers have been some of the worst they’ve seen as far as their revenue goes. And if the businesses struggle to the point of having to close, it will be a serious problem for the entire community. Because no one will want to invest in a town that is struggling across the board to keep business going. I don’t know if you lived here in the 70’s and 80’s, but LB was not exactly the place to be. Supporting local business is important for the business owners and residents of the community alike.

  28. It’s making wayyyyyyyy too many stops. No need to stop at every corner between Monroe and Laurelton on Broadway and Park. The school buses are bad enough.

  29. Sorry I jumped in agreeing with that fantasy about a trip the length of the Island. Just a fantasy. But I do think that any route would benefit from loops up the Bay, at least the west side of the station.

  30. WORST DECISION OF THE SUMMER!

    We were 3 families today waiting for the 2:50 on the corner of neptune and park at a designated stop on the map. there is even a sign for it. We made sure to arrive 20 minutes early at 2:30 for schedule error as we heard it doesnt run on time. When we got there another family told us they have been waiting since 1:45. we all waited til about 3:20 and the trolley never came.

    The schedule clearly says it runs on weekends and holidays all the way to labor day. we read the schedule perfectly. I guess they decided not to run today? unacceptable. today was a perfect day. everyone has off. and its beautiful out. instead we were left in the hot sun waiting and a bunch of crying kids that we have to explain why we are not going on the trolley. we all agree (about 15 of us all residents) that we would rather have no trolley at all than one that we will never take again because there is no way we are subjecting ourselves to that again.

    the city was closed so i called the police and asked if they heard of any issues. none, and the one cop i stopped didnt even know what the trolley was. great.

    i stopped a real bus and asked whats up with the trolley, “oh i dont know if they runnin that today or if it comes down here”. i showed him the map that clearly shows the stops. he was surprised it even came to the east end.

    laughable really how not connected the city is about it.

    THEY NEED TO CUT THE PROGRAM OR SHAPE IT UP. NO IN BETWEEN.

  31. that really bites, andrew. please relay your experience to the city manager. they need to know how epically they’re failing on the trolley front.

  32. This is just a small example of how inept this gang of idiots is. Just imagine — they borrowed over $150,000,000 in the past three years. That’s $130,000,000 more debt than this city’s taxpayers have ever seen.

    If you’re just worried about the trolley, you’re like the Titanic passengers worrying about the menu.

  33. FYI, I saw the open-air Trolley pass by today and turn around at Nevada (without stopping, appeared empty.) So, it was running at some point. I noticed it because I thought how it’s dumb to have no sort of destination sign on the front- so why would a “tourist” even consider getting on? Wish I’d noted the time, think it was around 11 AM. Of course the “antique” clock in that park is never right, anyway.

  34. @ Anthony- don’t want go hijack this thread about the Trolley. But FYI this is pretty much the way the whole City Bus system has run for about the past 10-15 years. Before that, it ran well and was packed with commuters. Since then, routes have been arbitrarily changed or eliminated, and schedules have literally been changed for the convenience of the drivers. Maybe you could start a whole new topic on the buses to hear what it’s like to depend on them daily. I think you’d be amazed.

  35. I’ve been complaining about the chaotic bus situation for years . A voice in the wilderness.
    I was told by a woman who answered the phone at the bus depot that “that’s the way it’s always been” when I complained that the buses weren’t coordinated with the LIRR and had missed my tran by a matter of a minute or so.
    Theofan told me that “The railroad changes it’s schedule four times a year”
    Garret Rooney, before he became ill, told me that negotiations would have to be entered into with the drivers union over their rest breaks. HAHAHAHA. ( They’re not doing the overnight to Chicago)

    I was waiting for an arriving train just this weekend and witnessed a bus depart as the front car of the train appeared in the distance.

    Allison, a frequent contributor here, said she was confident that her meetings with City officials on the issue would bear fruit but she has not reported on the situation. Have you been to meetings, held phone conferences etc., etc Allison? Has absolutely nothing been done Allison?

    Can you bring us up to date Allison?

    PLEASE

  36. Beachguy, there have been significant changes to the buses this summer.

    -> The city reprinted the same tired schedule with no legible map or specific bus stops & times but changed the date, fare and names of the administration. Enlarged prints are now professionally taped up at the bus station. Of course now that they finally reprinted and posted them, they now need to be updated to reflect the new fare…

    ->The fares were increased to $2.25 which you may not have heard about as the increase proposal was hidden in a council agenda in June and not advertised in any way to bus riders. This is the 2nd fare increase from this administration with absolutely no increase in services but actual DECREASES in service.

    But don’t worry about the fare increase because the new fare boxes do not tally what you put in the fare drop box so you can basically pay whatever you want to ride the Long Beach city bus. We recommend you also slip in with your fifty cents and pocket lint a little love note for whomever is counting the money in the transportation garage.
    I sure hope the cameras are working better in the money counting room than they are at the bus station.

    ->The bus dispatcher will be getting a brand spanking new 2015 $37,000 Chevy Tahoe to idle in at the bus station. In the winter, I recommend you knock on the window and ask if you can wait for the bus while sitting in the truck- you paid for it, after all. There should be plenty of seating for everyone as those Tahoes seem roomy.

    ->The city manager went on record stating (at the last two city council meetings) that the buses are ADA compliant.

    -> Several bus stops were made wheelchair inaccessible with new garbage / recycling bins. Who wants to tell the city manager that ADA compliance does not just mean having a working seat belt buckle or working chair lift?

    -> The trolley was a success and fit in with the rest of the bus fleet perfectly as it, too, lacked signs, reliability and common sense. But don’t fret, the trolley was free for the city from the federal governments free money tree!!!! Yay! Oh, except that the guy who said he spent 6 months writing the grant has a 3-figure salary, the trolley runs on gas and someone gets paid to drive it.

    -> There is another bike rack at the bus station and someone finally removed all of the stripped bikes. Bird poop is still there however I’ve noticed some of the racks were pulled back a few inches so only the tires get pooped on.

    ->In lieu of betting lighting at the bus stops and station, the city cut down a shitload of trees so now we have better lighting at some of the bus stops. Of course you still won’t know you’re at a bus stop but at least the driver will see you waving your arms because you won’t be blocked by a tree.

  37. Allison- do I detect a tone of cynicism? Have you been subjected to the Long Beach Waltz?
    I sympathize with you because there are many of us who have been similarly affected.
    It comes with living here for any length of time .

    Perfectly normal people try to inject some common sense into a situation and are met with BS, apathy, indifference and stonewalling.
    This results in frustration and cynicism.

    I admit defeat on the bus question. I drive to the station when I would prefer the bus. Maybe you can continue the fight and meet with success. All the best. Don’t let them grind you down as they have done to me.

    I’m going to the beach.

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