Tuesday, December 5, 2023

All Aboard: City Council Considers Trolley System in Southlake

Getting around town can be a challenge for locals and visitors alike. Crowded roads, combined with Southlake being a popular destination for shopping and dining, can make it challenging to visit local businesses and attend community events. In addition, Southlake now has two hotels, with two more planned, bringing more travelers (often in rental cars) to the city.

The gridlock and frustration come as no surprise to Southlake City Council members, who also drive the roads, but also because traffic was cited as the number one issue in the most recent citizen survey. This is why City leaders and administrators have been researching alternative modes of in-town transportation.

According to Southlake Mayor Laura Hill, the City is currently in the process of conducting a study to determine the feasibility of a trolley, or other form of public transportation system, to address traffic issues and encourage tourism and economic development.

“As more people move to Texas, and specifically into North Texas, the ability to attract visitors and businesses and set Southlake apart from other premier cities in the area has become more challenging,” stated Hill, noting the trolley would be funded with the seven percent hotel occupancy tax. “With a trolley system in Southlake, the goal is to improve driving conditions for residents by reducing the amount of cars on the roadways, help our businesses succeed, and create a great experience for visitors.”

Southlake has become a premier destination since Southlake Town Square opened in 1999. Along with the Hilton Southlake and recently opened Cambria Hotel & Suites, a new Marriott Hotel was approved in February and a Westin Hotel is slated to be built next to Gateway Church – each of which will bring thousands of people to Southlake.

“As traffic continues to crowd the roadways from the population growth occurring to the west, it is important for City leaders to look at strategies to minimize the impact of visitors coming to town, not only to support our hotels, but to ensure visitors have an enjoyable experience and encourage them to patronize Southlake businesses while they’re here,” added Hill.

The study is expected to be completed before the end of the City’s fiscal year, September 30.  Upon completion, more details of what to expect will be announced.