‘Trolley Pub’ Bill Fails in Richmond — A bill that would have allowed patrons of Arlington’s Trolley Pub to drink alcohol while on board has been passed over indefinitely in the House of Delegates. Del. Patrick Hope (D-47), who introduced the bill, said there were “too many significant issues” around the bill. [Patch]
Middle School PTA Peeved at Bus Inequality — The Thomas Jefferson Middle School PTA is upset that North Arlington schools appear to be getting preferential treatment when it comes to bus service for students inside the standard 1.5 mile perimeter for secondary schools. The PTA president says S. Glebe Road is dangerous for middle school students to cross and the school system should provide bus service for students who have to cross it. [Sun Gazette]
Settlement to Fund Surveillance Cameras — Arlington will use $55,000 from a federal settlement to fund the purchase of portable digital video surveillance cameras. The cameras will be used “to enhance security at large scale events.” The funds from from the $1.5 billion federal settlement with Abbott Laboratories Inc. in 2012 over unlawful promotion of a prescription drug. [Arlington County]
Freedom Rider Shares Memories — “Freedom Rider” and Arlington resident Joan Trumpauer Mulholland spoke earlier this month about her experience in trying to promote civil rights and racial integration in the deep South in the early 1960s. Mulholland was also the keynote speaker at Arlington’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on Sunday. [Falls Church News-Press]
Man Survives Key Bridge Plunge in 1929 — A quirky bit of local history: In September 1929 a drunk 26-year-old man fell off the side of the Key Bridge, landing on his side in the water 120 feet below. Miraculously, he was rescued by a police officer and a boat club employee and “appeared none the worse for his experience.” But alas, it wasn’t a completely happy ending: five weeks later the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. [Ghosts of DC]
Photo courtesy @carmstrong07
Proposed legislation in the Virginia General Assembly would allow patrons of Arlington’s Trolley Pub to drink alcohol while on board.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) has introduced House Bill 423, which would allow passengers on vehicles with a common carrier — which would include limousines and motor coaches, in addition to the Trolley Pub — to consume alcohol.
The Trolley Pub in Arlington launched last year but has been unable to serve passengers alcoholic beverages, as it does in its original market of Raleigh, N.C. Instead, it stops at bars and restaurants in Clarendon and lets passengers debark to drink.
The Sun Gazette, which first reported on the bill, suggested that Hope’s legislation might not sit well with Arlington County Board members.
“Board members last year blasted the entire concept of the trolley pub, and only calmed down (slightly) when they learned that those using it could not consume alcohol,” the newspaper reported. “But they have remained upset about the human-powered trolley’s impact on traffic in one of Arlington’s most congested areas.”
The Trolley Pub debuted in Arlington in March, and at the time owner Kai Kaapro said he believed the business was “perfectly legal.” That was backed up by a preliminary police review. A ruling in April by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, however, later determined no alcohol could be served on board.
Drinking in a vehicle in Virginia is currently only legal on chartered boats. The bill was assigned to the General Laws committee and is now in subcommittee, according to the General Assembly’s website.
Photo via Facebook
A pedal-powered pub turned heads in Courthouse today as it stopped by for a goodwill tour of Arlington.
The owners of Trolley Pub — a company that operates two open-air, pedal-powered party trolleys in Raleigh, N.C. — brought the vehicle up to Arlington in advance of their planned expansion here next month, to get a lay of the land and to introduce it to local law enforcement.
Police Department brass, County Board staffers, Health Department officials and other county employees stopped by on their lunch break to gawk at the 15-seat contraption and ask questions about its operation, legality and safety record.
The Trolley Pub, it turns out, is perfectly legal on the streets of Arlington, at least according to a preliminary police review. Owner Kai Kaapro said the trolley is classified the same as a party bus or limousine under the law; patrons are allowed to bring their own canned beer or boxed wine (no glass and no liquor) and drink it while pedaling around, since there’s a paid driver steering the vehicle.
The trolley itself does utilize pedal power, but it also has its own electric motor, capable of climbing steep hills and reaching up to 20 miles per hour. Normally, Kaapro said, the trolley will cruise around 5-10 miles per hour. Riders (up to 14, plus the driver) will be required to wear seat belts. So far, he said, there have been no reported accidents involving such vehicles in the United States (the concept originated in Europe).
Kaapro said he’s still scouting out possible routes in Arlington. Asked whether he thinks drivers might be annoyed by the slow-moving vehicle on local streets, he said it’s “really not more of an obstruction than a bus,” except it might move a bit slower.
“The novelty tends to moderate people’s tempers,” he noted.
Another concern he’s hoping to allay is that Trolley Pub patrons will be hardcore, out-of-control partiers. In fact, he said, most of his customers are in their 30s and 40s and not interested in getting sloppy drunk while pedaling across town. Twenty-somethings, Kaapro said, haven’t shown as much interest in his Trolley Pubs in Raleigh.
“Most young people don’t really need an excuse to go out and drink and hand out with friends,” he said. “We try hard to make sure it doesn’t get too rowdy. We like the older crowd.”
Plus, Kaapro said, the $35-40 per person price for a two hour tour might be a bit too high for those recently out of college.
Typical Trolley Pub customers are bachelorette parties, tourists, corporate team building exercises, and groups of friends on a pedal-powered bar crawl. Drivers, hired by the company, are typically bartenders or anybody else who can be fun and control a crowd at the same time.
Kaapro, 28, said he started the Trolley Pub two years ago after graduating from law school.
“For some reason this seemed more appealing to me than working for a law firm,” he said.
The Trolley Pub attracted quite a bit of attention during its stint in Courthouse today. One older woman blocked a lane of traffic, in front of about a half-dozen gathered police officers, to a take a cell phone photo of the trolley. Kaapro said he’s received some 20-30 calls for reservations already, just from people who have read about it online.
A new Trolley Pub (different than the older model pictured) is expected to start roaming the streets of Arlington in mid-April.