Small towns have the perk of living a quiet, peaceful life. Still, sometimes they need an improvement via a sense of urban planning that will make locals’ daily routines easier. Monmouth and Independence are both small, but constantly growing communities, attracting people from all parts of Oregon. Thus, it is no wonder that residents seek more options for moving around, without worrying about commuting, driving routes, and parking.
The local authorities recently recognized this need and initiated the joint project between the city of Monmouth and Independence, and Western Oregon University. Those who are looking for houses for sale in Monmouth, OR, or in Independence, will find this news exciting.
Monmouth and Independence have a long tradition of good public transportation. In the late 1880s, the streetcar named the Peanut Roaster was built to run regularly between two towns. It operated as a proper frequent service transit back then, working 365 days a year, every 15 minutes.
At the time, it was regarded as the shortest railroad in the world, a distance of merely 2 miles. The fare was 5 cents one way, and the company was named Independence-Monmouth Railway. The Heritage Museum of Independence keeps the photographs of the trolley and the memory of it among the residents of Independence and Monmouth.
Even though it stopped working many decades ago, the Peanut Roaster played an important role in keeping up the positive community spirits in the two towns, remaining a part of the memory of many generations to come.
Therefore, residents wanted to regain something that belonged to them, something it was authentically local. In recent years, officials had various initiatives to connect towns in Polk County (to and from Salem, to and from Dallas), but the independent spirit of both communities left people searching for something more.
Monmouth and Independence are good examples of the rural and urban combo, and the trolley project is another illustration of how a rural community is ready again for an urban type of service. Their aim was to celebrate the history of Monmouth and its Independence, strengthen the local economy, and help transit become more efficient. It is how the trolley story easily became an integral part of this intra-community transportation experience. It should enhance their micro-economic development and local tourism.
If you find this project inspiring, start looking for a home for sale in Monmouth, OR, and become a part of this community.
Since 2017, people have been talking about their wishes regarding the trolley. In 2020 and 2021, despite the difficult pandemic circumstance, the wishes became closer to the truth when the local authorities launched the project, including the local transit feasibility study and the survey among locals. They involved experts from the University and other dedicated members of the community, to conduct reliable, detailed research.
The analyses showed that the trolley-style community circulator service is unquestionably the most appropriate service for Monmouth and Independence. It should provide a more frequent and direct connection between them. Also, due to the parking issues both Monmouth and Independence downtown face, the trolley should fit and help the strategic solutions for parking there.
The key findings from the online community survey showed that the trolley service is the most popular transit vehicle among survey respondents, compared to the transit bus, shuttle bus, and passenger van. Additionally, the trolley is expected to be an electric vehicle, and its selection is consistent with the state-wide trend toward zero-emission vehicles.
Moreover, if the results of the pilot project that is about to happen this year are successful, the trolley vehicle service should replace Route 45, while the existing Route 40X would remain available, connecting Monmouth and Independence with Dallas, OR. It will surely be a game-changer for locals, making land for sale in Monmouth, OR more attractive for newcomers.
Though all the details are to be defined in the future, trolley vehicles are typically 30-40 feet long and seat 25 to 35 passengers, and this is most likely the size the project will opt for.
The service should be affordable to everyone, if not costless. It could follow some other trolley examples, starting with transit fares and then finding long-term funding to make it free of charge. Furthermore, it should be a fun event for riders of all ages and include a tour guide, carolers at Christmas, as well as an overall plan for other special events.
By the end of 2022, the trolley pilot project is supposed to be launched. Before that, authorities conducted another survey among locals, asking what they should name the service, making the whole project even more exciting. A short, online survey was opened by the end of April and now we are waiting for results. Residents appreciate such participative practices of their cities and respond in large numbers.
The importance of establishing a brand name for the trolley service is to be reflective of the local area and representative of the community. It is useful not only for practical reasons (so that employees and commuters can easily recognize it on the street) but also for the reasons of promoting the tourist potential of Monmouth and Independence.
A good case in point is The King Street Trolley in Alexandria, VA, for operating in the historic district, providing mobility for visitors, as well as supporting business along King Street. It is why it served as an inspiration for the starting vision of the trolley service here.
To conclude, the electric trolley is always a fun, unusual way to travel in the 21st century for tourists, visitors, and locals. Often found in vibrant downtowns, it plays a significant role in promoting community identity and economic development, and keeping the traditional urban values alive. It seems that locals and officials of Monmouth and Independence know that very well. Their persistence made their dream of running a trolley between the communities close to being realized.
If you are willing to get more information on this, ask your broker in Monmouth, OR for details.
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