This article appeared in the City of Dayton Annual Report for 1940
Trolley Coaches and Curb Stops
by R. F. WURSTNER
Chief of Police
ON APRIL 23, 1933, the first electric trolley coaches ever used in Ohio were placed in operation in Dayton. Since that time four of the five public transportation companies in the city have completely changed from street cars to trolley coaches, and the fifth company is now using them on one of their three divisions.
At the time these coaches were first placed in use, plans were made to remove street car loading zones from the center of the street just as soon as street cars were replaced by coaches, and to have the coaches take on and discharge passengers at the curb. During this period of transition, two companies operated through the downtown area using curb loading zones and a third company continued to use the street car zone in the center of the street. This gave the Division of Police an excellent opportunity to study the advantages and disadvantages of each type of loading. As a result of this study, which included an analysis of all accidents and complaints, it was decided to retain the center loading zones protected by safety beacons, and to have all trolley coaches operate only in the center of the street in the downtown area. Curb stops would be used in all other sections.
There were many factors entering into this decision. One of the major factors is that due to five companies furnishing electric public transportation in Dayton, it is necessary for each company to make from one to five turns in the downtown area. When these coaches turn from one street to another, because of the turning radius, it is necessary for the coach to swing into the center of the street being entered, permitting two to three lanes of motor vehicles to pass between the coach and the curb. If the coach uses curb stops, it is then necessary for it to drive from the center of the street, at the completion of the turn, back to the right curb. This crowds all motor vehicles to the right, and within a distance of two hundred to three hundred feet, shutting off all lanes of traffic on that side of the street before getting back into position to make a curb stop.
After making a curb stop, if the [p. 72] coach is to make a left turn at the next intersection, practically the same condition exists. After a southbound coach makes a curb stop at the west curb of the street, the coach must then shut off all lanes of traffic by driving from the right curb over to the center of the street to be in position for a left turn. Such action causes a great deal of confusion and congestion, and results in numerous collisions between motor vehicles in an effort to change from one lane of traffic to another, to avoid the coaches as they cut across vehicular traffic.
If it were possible to route all trolley coaches straight through the city without turns in the downtown area, undoubtedly curb stops would be practical. Since this is not possible, and it is the desire of every community to move traffic as rapidly as possible in safety, trolley coaches will operate only in the center of the street in downtown Dayton.