ROSWELL, Ga. — A new, year-round trolley services is helping improve walkability and bridge the gaps in Roswell’s downtown area.
Last year, the city launched a pilot program over the summer with the Marietta Trolley Company to gauge interest and improve both traffic and navigation.
The program ran through August, but the people wanted more.
“Obviously, we all know that parking is a huge issue in downtown Roswell and on Canton Street,” said Roswell Trolley President Hanny Alexander. “The trolleys kind of help bring people into those businesses without having to come down there and park.”
The new Roswell Trolley nonprofit aims to meet that demand with an ongoing, free trolley service every Friday and Saturday. Currently, the trolleys run from 5:30-11:30 p.m., but Alexander said he hopes to soon expand that availability.
Long-term goals include buying a third trolley that would travel to festivals and concerts, such as the Roswell Riverside Sounds Series.
The trolleys officially started running April 6, with Carl Black Roswell and Gate City Brewing Company as the first sponsors.
Two trolleys are currently in service. “Molley” travels west from Canton Street to the Peach and Porkchop on Etris Road, while “Mattie” travels east from Canton Street to From the Earth Brewing Company off Holcomb Bridge Road.
Each trolley can hold 34 people at a time.
Alexander is working with representatives from several subdivisions near the trolleys’ routes to set up more stops for trips to visit Canton Street.
This in turn will help improve parking in the area and help open up the more isolated parts of Roswell.
“It’s not just focusing on Canton Street,” Alexander said. “You’ve got people at Canton Street who would never go to or drive to From the Earth, for example, and now, they’ve got the ability to take the trolley there.”
Alexander launched the program after he ran for City Council last year.
“One of the things that I was working on was ways to improve transportation in the city,” Alexander said. “I sat down with the owners of Carl Black Roswell and Gate City Brewing Company to kind of figure out what we could do to improve that. We knew about the trolley service during Alive in Roswell, and we decided to expand upon that.”
Alexander estimates that the trolley services costs $150,000 a year to sustain. He, along with the nonprofit’s board of directors, self-funded the costs and the purchase of the two trollies.
To keep the service free and running, and to potentially expand it, the nonprofit is looking for private donations and sponsorships.