Well, this happened last week! I had no idea that Venice Island offered this during "the season". How awesome. As soon as I read about this in the newspaper, I had to look into it further. As it turns out, this is the 3rd year of a 3-year experiment of offering the trolley to help alleviate heavy seasonal traffic and limited parking.
As is common in an older, established town, especially one with no place to grow, during "the season" traffic and parking can be an issue. For a lot of people, me included, this is kind of a non-issue. Venice Island is a very walkable town. There are also a lot of bikes here. A LOT of bikes. The other day while we were having breakfast, Tim counted at least 30 bicycles going by! Other people love the option of the golf cart. On island, we are allowed to drive street-legal carts. They are very cool. It may be my next vehicle. But some people don't bike, visitors generally do not bring their own golf cart with them, and let's face it, some folks have a little trouble getting around easily on their own two feet. So if your nearest parking option is farther away than you are comfortable walking, how wonderful of the town to offer this option. At least for now.
I walked over to town hall and picked up a copy of the trolley schedule only to learn that it is about to change. Oh well, when it changes, I'll pick up another one. I also learned that one of the biggest problems with the trolley experiment is the cost. Currently over $60,000 for the 4 months that it runs. Pricey. Especially since the town offers this option for free. A second issue is that people aren't just using the trolley to get from parking lot to destination, some people are riding the trolley for fun. I totally get that. It is fun! And I know this because yesterday, we hoped aboard.
We walked to Venice Beach, the pavilion area right at the end of Venice Avenue, wandered around there a bit and then decided to catch the trolley and see where it goes. Currently, it primarily goes up and down some of the main roads which makes perfect sense, and down to the jetty, which is awesome. The jetty is a very popular place to be. One side is virtually lined with benches to sit and watch the boats come in and go out, sometimes with dolphins frolicking in their wake, seabirds of varying sorts and people watching of course. Yesterday we saw the fisherpeople of course, they are almost always there, kids were climbing around on the rocks, a guy playing with a drone and all of us listening to somebody's music. And the bonus is all the people at the North jetty just across the water from us. We've seen wind-surfers and regular surfers, amazing sunsets, fabulous storms and a star-filled sky out there too.
Unfortunately, the jetty stop is one of the ones that will probably come off the route. But that's ok. We sat on the last bench of the trolley so we could see not only out both sides but all of the people enjoying the trolley ride too, and they were. We loved the fact that it's an open-air ride too. We could smell the ocean and as we drove up Venice Avenue all those yummy restaurant fragrances that make a person hungry even if they just ate. We loved how pretty the town looked as we rode along, not having to worry about negotiating tourist heavy car and people traffic. We loved the kitschiness of the trolley, the convenience of it, the fact that it was red and that one of the stops is about a block from our house!
I hope when all is said and done, the town finds a way to keep the trolley. I will continue to follow the story in our local paper and see what they decide at the end of the season. If we had never had it, it wouldn't matter. But now that we have, I think we would all miss it if it were gone.
Isn't that always the way.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.