Belle Isle trolley loops start this summer as a traffic-relief strategy

April 28, 2022, 8:19 PM

Belle Isle Bridge in August 2020 (Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Belle Isle Park's state managers will pick one of three trolley services to run afternoon and evening shuttles around the island to ease summer traffic snarls.

The innovation was mentioned Thursday during a virtual meeting of the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee. "The whole committee is super-excited about having trollies on the island this year, allowing people to move around to favorite spots without having to move cars or to park in an easier area and then get to where they want to go," journalist Karen Dybis reported in a live-tweet thread for Detroit Documenters.

It will hit kids' row, aquarium/conservatory and beach. The trolleys will be available noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Riders won't pay, as currently planned.

"We're looking at having probably two [trolleys] in the routes so we're not having people wait that long at certain locations throughout the island," Scott Pratt, chief of southern field operations for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells BridgeDetroit.

"This is a work in progress because we're not sure where people will want to attend on the island itself,” he said. ...

The cost is still being negotiated, but the state Department of Natural Resources plans to foot the bill unless another sponsor emerges. ...

The DNR is considering three companies to provide the trolley service and is waiting for bids. ... The company they go with will determine what the trolley looks like, but Pratt said it will be "in between a school bus and a trolley," similar to a small charter bus.

An advocate who runs a regional Transit Guide site tweets a mixed reaction: 

He adds: "Sadly, the best public transit to Belle Isle takes place during the Grand Prix. They run 120 shuttle buses from Huntington Place to the island for free and don't even require a race ticket."

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