Friday, October 26, 2007

Streetcar/Trolley is the Locally Preferred Alternative

Valley Journal October 2007
UTA looking at improved transit in South Salt Lake

By Josh McFadden
Some big transportation changes
could soon be coming to South Salt
Lake, and residents will have influence
over what eventually happens.
The Utah Transit Authority is conducting
a traffic study along the Sugar
House corridor, the area between 1700
South and I-80 and from the TRAX line
to 1300 East. UTA is considering a number
of options to relieve traffic congestion
and has given local residents opportunities
to voice their feelings.
“There are plans for growth and population
here,” said G.J. Labonty, project
manager with Fehr and Peers, a consulting
firm that is conducting the study for
UTA. “We won’t do this against the will
of the people. This has been an open

process. We want to come to reasonable
In April, UTA held an open house at
the Columbus Center. The three-hour
session showed visitors what the traffic
study would entail, what the existing
conditions along the corridor looked like
and what changes UTA was considering.
A second open house was held in Sugar
House on July 12.
Visitors to the open houses responded
to what forms of transit they would
most prefer to see in the corridor. UTA
is considering a bus rapid transit service,
a system where buses would operate at
lower speeds with greater frequency.
These busses would also drive in a rightof-
way lane. A second option is expanding
routes along 2100 South. Other al

include a streetcar/trolley line
in the corridor and an additional TRAX
line. Of the four options, the trolley line
would be the most costly at $36.7 million.
The 2100 South bus line would be
the cheapest, with a construction cost of
$9.8 million.
At a September South Salt Lake City
Council meeting, Labonty presented the
results from the open houses.
“The locally preferred alternative
is a streetcar,” he said. “People like the
lower speeds. This is a very localized
corridor. The community is established
and compact. The people don’t want to
be disrupted.”
Even with the higher building costs,
not to mention the annual maintenance
costs of $1.6 million, 71 percent of the
open house respondents said they wanted
the streetcar/trolley system.
The traffic study began in January
and is expected to continue through the
end of autumn. Whatever changes are
selected, Labonty said it will be in the
best interest of the public and those that
use the corridor the most.
“UTA is supportive of this alignment,”
he said. “More people have vested
interests. What we’re about is commuters
and students.”

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