Monday, December 14, 2009

PDP #145: That's No Trolley

Seventy-five years ago, dozens - perhaps hundreds - of North American cities operated streetcar systems, though in the United States they're also known as "trolleys." New Orleans is the only American city that operates a traditional streetcar system today, and it's only a fragment of Toronto's. Nevertheless, the trolley - streetcar - whatever you want to call it still has a place in peoples' hearts down there, most often as a nostalgic throwback to when days were less complicated. Only a few American cities today utilize streetcars for serious peoplemoving.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation operates its own downtown-focused transit service in addition to that provided by LACMTA's Metro Bus and Metro Rail systems. One of these routes is the weekend-only Observatory Shuttle, which provides people an alternative to driving or hiking to the top of Griffith Park to see the observatory. These shuttles are buses that echo the old-timey streetcar shape, the same way as Hard Rock Cafe shuttle/tour buses do in Toronto.

But they're not trolleys.

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