The city of Joplin has started a campaign to encourage new riders of the trolley, and as a result has seen record-breaking numbers this year, with one-day estimated 22 riders per hour for just one of the three trolleys. I applaud the city for attempting to offer reliable and widely available public transportation; however, because of serious issues I honestly can not recommend riding the trolley.
Pedestrian safety, reliability and available stops are some of the major issues facing the trolley system that also seriously affect the trolley riders. I would not at this time nor in the near future be able to recommend riding the trolley unless it is your only option for transportation because of those issues, but mainly because of the lack of pedestrian safety.
As more people ride the trolley, more people will also become pedestrians as they are walking to and from trolley stops. The city of Joplin is not a pedestrian safe city.
Many of the main streets are more than just unsafe; they are dangerous to cross.
After talking to fellow riders and trolley drivers, I found the overwhelming consensus is to do everything you can to avoid certain intersections, a large number of which are almost unavoidable when attempting to reach a trolley stop.
Every day of the work week I am forced to cross one of the most dangerous intersections in the city in order to reach my trolley stop. I have started to video my every crossing because almost daily my life is endangered by drivers who break the law.
I made a call to city hall after one extremely close call and [was] promised more policing at that intersection, which never happened.
I followed up after a month of no improvement, with a meeting with Sam Anselm, the acting city manager, and brought up pedestrian safety or the lack of in this city. He listened and viewed my videos, of which he was more than shocked at the close calls.
He had no real fixes to address this issue. He said that he would forward my videos to the police chief and work with him to police at least my intersection.
The other issues that affect pedestrian safety, no sidewalks on streets with trolley stops, and no near stop lights at intersection with trolley stops being examples, were not even addressed. I left the meeting feeling heard but that nothing was really going to change.
The trolley system is not new. It has been available for a few years now, and for it to still have the extreme safety issue is surprising but leads me to think that it is going to be a few more years, if ever, before these issues are appropriately addressed and fixed.