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Pinellas Park may latch onto trolley idea

Council member Ed Taylor envisions a "shopper stopper'' owned and operated by the city.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001


PINELLAS PARK -- The clang, clang, clang of the trolley that an old song immortalized someday might be heard here.

If residents want it and the city can afford it, council member Ed Taylor envisions a "shopper stopper" making regular rounds to such places as the six clubhouses at the Mainlands, Clearwater Cascades, Freedom Village and some convalescent homes. The trolley could transport riders to Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Publix, Winn-Dixie, ParkSide mall and doctors' offices in the city.

"It would virtually be door to door," Taylor said. "I see this as a bright, cheery little vehicle that runs on a tight schedule."

Other stops could include the city's Senior Center and the recreation centers. The trolley would be enclosed and air-conditioned like the one that links the beach cities and St. Petersburg and would cost $1.

With his colleagues' approval, Taylor has asked the city staff to study the feasibility of a city owned and operated trolley.

"It's just at a talking stage," Taylor said. "We need to see if this is affordable."

The trolley would not take the place of the Pinellas Park shuttle, which is run by the PSTA and travels to such places as City Hall and ParkSide mall, he said.

Taylor said the idea took shape a couple of years ago when he was on the PSTA board and there was a suggestion for a trolley linking the beach cities. The success and recent expansion of that service between the beaches and St. Petersburg made him wonder if the time had come for a similar system in Pinellas Park, starting with the many seniors who carpool to do their shopping.

"That's what government's about," he said. "What product or service is out there that we can provide for you if there is a need?"

Taylor admitted that he was unsure Pinellas Park needs a trolley.

"Is it a service that I've heard called for here in town? No," he said. That's something city staffers need to discern.

Officials also need to consider financing alternatives, Taylor said. Some of the expense might be defrayed by businesses that would pay to have people dropped at their doors.

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