Monday, August 13, 2007

New Trolley Story

August 2007 Valley Journal/ SugarHouse Edition

Clang, clang, clang, goes the Trolley?

By Fred Thaller
The Sugar House Trolley Association,
a private, non-profi t group originally organized
by Doug White, has spent the last
three years trying to get a trolley approved
for Sugar House and South Salt Lake.
The group proposes to use Utah Transit
Authority’s Sugar House spur to operate a
Heritage Rail Tramway (old-fashioned trolley),
which would blend commuter service
and tourism. The trolley would run from
the 2100 South TRAX station in South Salt
Lake to the East Sugar House area.
White has spent the past seven years
on the project. Right now, he wears all the
hats, but he has volunteers who help him
“Civil engineering students at the University
of Utah did the preliminary engineering
reports and feasibility study,” White
said. “And Westminster College business
students wrote the business plan.”
An old-fashioned trolley would match
the character and fl avor of the Sugar
House area, said White. “The well-known
McKinley Avenue Trolley in Dallas, Texas,
operates under that same structure. And it

has proven to be very popular and very
successful. It runs pretty much 24/7 in the
business district.”
He wants his non-profi t group to operate
the trolley in a partnership with UTA,
Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake, who
have commissioned a study on transportation
alternatives for the Sugar House transit
corridor: the area between 1700 South
and I-80, and from the TRAX station at
250 West to 1300 East.
“I have made arrangements with an
owner of a fully operational trolley to rent
his trolley for $1 per year,” White said. “I
just need to raise the $20,000 to $25,000
needed to ship it and its support equipment
to Utah.”
The old rail line right of way at 2250
South only extends to about 1100 East, so
the fi rst phase of the trolley project would
end there.
UTA, Salt Lake City and South Salt
Lake have sponsored several public meetings
to discuss transportation options for
the area. Information from those meetings
was used to develop a short list of three
preferred alternatives which were present-

ed for public consideration at a July 12
open house at the Sprague Library. The
preferred alternatives include TRAX,
street car or trolley and Bus Rapid
The transportation study by Fehr
and Peers aims to identify the best route
and vehicle to move people between the
TRAX light-rail station on the west to
the Sugar House commercial district on
the east.
“Trolley and TRAX were head and
shoulders [in popularity] above the other
modes we’ve looked at,” said project
manager Robin 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, one connected
to regional modes of transit,” he said.
Part of the study is to fi nd funding
alternatives, according to UTA spokesman
Chad Saley. “We currently have
money for the study but no funding for
the project.”
UTA offi cials expect to have a locally
preferred alternative by September.