SARASOTA, Fla. - Getting back and forth from downtown Sarasota to St. Armand's and Lido beach could soon be easier. The city of Sarasota is looking at an open-air trolley.
"I think it would be a great and popular way for people to get around," said Mayor Hagen Brody.
Brody mapped out a course and the FDOT gave the city a $3.1 million grant for transportation. This comes as a new roundabout at U.S 41 and Gulf Stream is being built.
"What I think an open-air trolley will provide is an option for people to park downtown and then make their way out to St. Armand’s circle and the beach to enjoy those amenities," Brody explained.
It could connect both the west and east sides of downtown and bring travelers to Sarasota's barrier islands.
"If you can come down to the beach without your car, I think that will bring more people," said Laszlo Bevardi.
The idea has business owners like Bevardi looking to the future.
"You can hop on, have lunch, enjoy the beach for a few hours, hop back on the trolley and go back home and pick up your car from one of the garage downtown and you’re good to go," he said.
Bevardi owns Bevardi's Salute downtown and Lido Island Grill at the Lido Beach Pavilion.
"I think we are going to see less traffic, people will be able to get to different points. They don’t need to get in a car. I think it’s fantastic. I just hope we have enough trolleys to do this," said Bevardi.
Mayor Brody said the idea is to have two to three trolleys operating during peak times. They'd run about every 20 minutes. The ride would be free and scenic and could be in place by the end of the summer.
"This is part of a broader plan to diversify our transportation options and really diversify our transportation grid," said Mayor Brody.
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