Sunday, April 29, 2007

Trolley in Salt Lake Tribune, Apr 26, 07

Salt Lake Tribune
South Salt Lake
East-west transit study due by early fall
The aim is to connect a light-rail station with the Sugar House commercial district
By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated:04/26/2007 01:04:50 AM MDT
SOUTH SALT LAKE - An east-west transit corridor study is about one-third done, a transportation consultant told members of the City Council on Wednesday.
The study, begun in February by Salt Lake City-based Fehr and Peers, aims to identify the best route and vehicle to move people between this city's light-rail station on the west to the Sugar House commercial district on the east.
That goal should be met by September, said Fehr and Peers Project Manager Robin Hutcheson.
South Salt Lake and Salt Lake City approached the Utah Transit Authority, requesting such a study be done. "That's unusual," said Hutcheson, noting the drive for the study came from the bottom up.
UTA currently owns a right of way along the old Union Pacific rail line at 2250 South. Area trail enthusiasts envision a linear park and asphalt trail running alongside the transit corridor.
To receive federal funding, the study must consider other route options as well as UTA's right of way. Hutcheson said the study encompasses the area between 1700 South and 2700 South, and the TRAX station at 250 W. 2100 South, eastward to 1300 East.
"We're also looking at build and no-build options," Hutcheson said, meaning the route options could be dismissed in favor of existing services.
UTA's bus No. 30 already services an east-west route along 2100 South, but trail and trolley enthusiasts, along with redevelopment proponents, hope for a people-mover with more appeal.
In early April, the firm held its first open house on the issue. About 80 people attended, Hutcheson said.
Of that group, 45 supported adding a new east-west transit option while seven were against it.
"Trolley and TRAX were head and shoulders above the other modes," Hutcheson said. A rapid bus, streetcars and, yes - even gondolas - are among other alternatives getting a look.
As far as route, 18 preferred the UTA right of way, seven favored 2100 South, which is becoming increasingly congested.
There was broad support for the rail-trail, noted Hutcheson.
"We've developed goals from what we've heard so far, to provide a neighborhood and pedestrian friendly option for those who live in the area, then, beyond that, a connection to regional modes of transit," Hutcheson said.
Councilman Bill Anderson asked how much weight public input actually carries, especially when UTA already owns a right of way.
"We won't build something the community doesn't want," said Mick Crandall, UTA deputy chief of planning and programming
The next open house is scheduled for July 22.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Trolley in Valley Journal, May 2007

Valley Journals

UTA may connect SSL to
Sugar House via trolley

Residents of SSL and Sugar House attend an open house
about the proposed trolley.

By Kristy Kuhn
Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley... in South Salt Lake?
Trolleys are just one of the many transportation alternatives up for consideration by the Utah Transit Authority for the Sugar House transit corridor: the area between 1700 South and I-80 and from TRAX to 1300 East.
Recently, the cities of South Salt Lake and Salt Lake City approached UTA to complete a transit study to examine the need for a major transit investment in the UTA right-of-way along 2100 South. The two cities and UTA identified six criteria required for the transit solution along this
corridor: frequent stops, low speeds, pedestrian-friendly crossings, an urban linear park, broad community support and creative-funding solutions.
UTA hosted an open house at the Columbus Center on April 2 to share information on the study and get input from local residents. The event, which was well attended, gave the community an
opportunity to help determine the need for a transit alternative and to give feedback on the “universe of alternatives” (which includes all the potential transit alternatives that might fit in the study area).
UTA representatives were on hand to answer questions and solicit feedback from citizens and concerned parties.
“This initial meeting is meant to get input,” said Chad Saley, UTA spokesperson.
“We expect to have the locally preferred alternative around September. Right now, we’re still trying to put together something that the community would want and something that would fulfill a need.”
The information gathered from the first public meeting will be used to develop a “short list” of three preferred transportation alternatives. UTA will perform a detailed assessment on these alternatives based on several criteria, including the six identified previously. This short list will
be presented for consideration at the next public open house on July 12 at the Sprague Library in Sugar House.
At the end of the study, UTA hopes to have identified one “locally preferred alternative” along with funding options for the project.
“Part of the study is to find funding alternatives,” Saley said. “We currently have money for the study but no funding for the project.”
Those unable to attend the open houses
can still voice concerns or give feedback
at or by calling
RIDE UTA (743-3882).

Friday, April 20, 2007

UTA wants public input about SugarHouse-SSL

The Utah Transit Authority wants public input about the future of the Transit in the area generally bounded by 3rd West, 17th S., 13th E, and Interstate 80.
PLEASE go to UTA's Website
and let them know how you feel about how to improve transportation in this area. The more people that express their opinions to UTA will result in solutions that will better meet the community's needs.
Please let them know if you like the Trolley idea. Or perhaps.... something better.

Monday, April 02, 2007

SL Tribune- April 2, 2007

Transit could link opposites together
UTA study is looking at linking rough part of South Salt Lake with Sugar House
By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:
A future transit line, under study by the Utah Transit Authority,
could one day link two very different Salt Lake Valley communities. At
one end of the 1.8-mile route, a few blocks west of State Street,
there is an area of South Salt Lake that some folks hesitate to
frequent after dark.
At the other end, several blocks to the east, there is the charm
of Sugar House's retail district, a combination of sought-after
franchises and unique mom-and-pops.
In between - the dividing line between South Salt Lake and Sugar
House is 500 East - the residential neighborhoods run together.
For South Salt Lake's part, the city aims to revive its west side
with transit-oriented development near the light-rail station at 250
W. 2100 South. That transition has begun, and a direct rail link to
Sugar House could be part of that community's revitalization.
Also sandwiched between these two destinations are South Salt
Lake's city offices and Salt Lake County Government Center at the
corner of 2100 South and State streets. Most of the county's 4,000
employees work there.
A few blocks northeast of the corridor, 2,500 students attend
Westminster College - about 900 live on its cozy campus.
"We're the biggest employer in the Sugar House neighborhood, and
we have a regular flow of commuters," says Gary Daynes, director of
Westminster's Center for Civic Engagement.
Daynes estimates that 200 employees and 1,500 students make their
way to the liberal-arts enclave each weekday.
At Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake's request, the Utah Transit
Authority launched a study of the corridor to determine the best
east-west route, somewhere between 2100 and 2700 South, and the most
appropriate mode of transport.
Vehicle choice could be anything from light-rail, jazzed-up bus
service, state-of-the-art streetcars or vintage trolleys.
Stacey Liddiard, president of South Salt Lake Chamber, views the
study - and today's open house - as an opportunity.
"South Salt Lake residents can have a voice about what goes in
there that they can actually use, rather than something that wouldn't
benefit them at all," Liddiard says.
From that perspective, she believes that rubber-tire transport
that travels at slow speeds and stops at every other block would best
service the neighborhoods east of State Street.
Some residents whose homes border UTA's right-of-way favor
rubber-tire transit on 2100 South rather than trains zipping through
their backyards along UTA's rail corridor, Liddiard says.
As a business advocate, Liddiard acknowledges the advantages this
east-west connection could bring.
Construction on South Salt Lake's mixed-use Market Station
development is scheduled to start this summer and Liddiard views it as
a future valleywide draw.
"We're hoping we can share customers with Sugar House, that people
will want to stop and shop at both ends," Liddiard says.
Lynne Olson, vice chairwoman of Parley's Rails, Trails, and
Tunnels Coalition (PRATT), said her nonprofit organization favors a
single-track transit system along UTA's right of way.
"That would work best for us," Olson says, as it would allow for
an adjacent bicycle-pedestrian path that would become part of the
eight-mile Parley's Creek Corridor Trail.
In the most narrow portions of UTA's right of way - currently a
former Union Pacific rail line overgrown with weeds - additional land
acquisition for the rail-trail would still be required.
While homed in on the route, PRATT is less picky about the mode.
"We've been told TRAX could run on a single track in that
corridor," Olson says. "Also a rubber-tire or neighborhood trolley
would work just as well."
For six years, Trolley enthusiast Doug White has examined the idea
of refurbishing old-time streetcars and reviving their use along this
"I'm a big fan. That style of operation and look would be a
perfect fit for the community," White says.
However, his idea lacks financial backing and "the ball is in
UTA's court now," he says. "I'm in standby mode right now."
Steve Hurlbut, who teaches management at Westminster, credits
White as the "spark plug that got us all talking and studying this."
In late 2005, a team of Hurlbut's students analyzed White's
concept and concluded it was feasible. But without an influential
board of directors and serious fund-raising, it likely would go
"I would love to see them do some kind of trolley, some slow
touristy thing, and stick a bike trail on one side," Hurlbut says. "It
would get rid of the blight along the corridor, provide transportation
and give Sugar House one more unique feature."
Wish lists aside, Hal Johnson, UTA's engineering and construction
manager for Bus Rapid Transit, says the process of defining a "locally
preferred alternative" is rigorous, combining regional travel data
with area demographics.
"We connect all that in a mathematical model and see what mode
fits it best," Johnson says.
The cost to bankroll a project can elevate one mode or route above
another. Most of the cost to operate a transit system lies in labor,
not rubber and fuel, Johnson says, noting that a single operator can
drive an 800-seat train or an 80-seat bus.
Unseen factors can also drive up costs - "like underground
utilities you have to protect or move," Johnson says.
Once a preferred route and mode are selected, a more detailed
environmental study takes place. After that, the search for funding
"This is a starting point," Johnson says of the current study.
"And we encourage early involvement from the public when they can have
the most impact."

Open house today

* What's next: Utah Transit Authority-sponsored open house on the
Sugar House Transit Corridor
* When: Today, 5-8 p.m.
* Where: Columbus Center, Room 106, 2531 S. 400 East, South Salt Lake
What's it about?

* In January, the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City and South
Salt Lake initiated the Sugar House Transit Corridor Alternatives
* Its goal: to determine the best route and mode to move people
through this area.
* The study should be completed this fall.