North Beach residents will soon get to hop on a trolley to scoot around the neighborhood.
Eight months after launching a trolley that loops around Alton Road, Miami Beach will in October debut a free trolley — paid for by state grant money and taxpayers — that will stretch from 65th Street north to 88th Street, and west to Normandy Isle.
The route, which will run in a west-to-east loop from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, passes by the Publix on Collins Avenue just south of 69th Street, the North Shore Branch Library, the North Shore Open Space Park, the Stella Marvis Senior Center, Stillwater Park, Biscayne Elementary School, the North Shore Youth Center and Normandy Isle Park and Pool.
The trolley is a long time coming, said Jose Gonzalez, director of the city’s transportation department. Current city leadership pushed for it to get done sooner rather than later.
“With the support of the commission and administration, the project has been able to be expedited,” he said.
The service will cost about $1.6 million each year. A recently-awarded grant from the Florida Department of Transportation will cover about a quarter of that cost for the first three years, and the rest will be paid for with hotel taxes.
Miami-based Limousines of South Florida Inc. will operate the trolleys. The same firm runs the Alton West route.
Julian Guevara, operations supervisor for the Beach’s transportation department, said with four vehicles in service at all times and one spare, riders can expect to wait no more than 10 minutes for a ride at any stop. Each trolley can carry 22 seated passengers and 10 people standing.
He added that the trolleys will have Wi-Fi connectivity, and riders will in the future be able to track the trolleys along the route through the city’s smartphone app, City of Miami Beach e-Gov, as they can for the Alton West trolley.
“We’re going to do something similar for North Beach,” he said.
Mayor Philip Levine said North Beach has historically been under-served, and the new route is another step toward linking the whole city for residents, workers and tourists.
“We want to connect North Beach to the rest of the city,” he said. “The whole vision is to have the entire city connected by trolleys.”
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