A trolley line is proposed for Bardstown Road (artists representation)
What if a real streetcar line meandered down Bardstown Road, connecting by rail Baxter Avenue and the Douglass Loop? Developer Dennis Dutton is proposing just that. His Bardstown Road Trolley Project is still in its early stages as the idea coalesces, but could transform public transportation in Louisville.
Dennis, who has developed property in the Highlands and elsewhere in Louisville, says the idea makes a lot of sense and everyone he talks to about the idea really supports it. The basic idea is to run an electric street car or trolley down Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road. The street cars are silent and don’t spew exhaust on the street and whether they carry a modern or traditional aesthetic will change public perception of transit.
The exact route for the proposal hasn’t yet been determined, but it could roughly follow the red line on the map above. The street cars would travel in traffic lanes on modern tracks with regular traffic. Dutton points out that the Douglass Loop was once the turnaround for just such a trolley system long ago but says the line could be expanded in either direction towards Downtown or farther down Bardstown Road.
A trolley line is hoped to spur additional economic growth in the area and “add to the allure of being on Bardstown Road.” Inspiration for the idea came from a real trolley installed in Little Rock, Arkansas and visits to Europe when Dutton was a pilot. He believes if it can work in Little Rock, trolleys could definitely work in Louisville.
Currently, the project is assembling a team to promote the idea and gather support. A web site is being created and will go live later this year. (It’s www.bardstownroadtrolley.com, so keep an eye out.) The site will allow supporters to register and sign an online petition. Dutton knows there will be plenty of obstacles and road blocks along the way, but hopes the idea can garner enough excitement that it can push its way through.
Click through for some interesting reading about street cars from across the web.