Saturday, August 02, 2008

First News Article about SH Trolley

This is a copy of the first article that was written about the SH Trolley.

It isn't very favorable
Deseret News (Salt Lake City) > May 16, 2003 > Article > Print friendly

Man dreams of Sugar House trolley

Stephen SpeckmanDeseret News staff writer

If one man has his way, vegetable oil commonly used in the kitchen could one day help power a trolley between the 2100 South TRAX light- rail station and Sugar House. To some, however, it's just wishful thinking.

Salt Lake City resident Doug White wants to buy at least two 1950s- era German hybrid rail trolleys for $60,000 each from a railroad company, ship the cars from Berlin and run them through the Utah Transit Authority's 1.8-mile rail corridor between about 250 West and 1100 East.

The 56-person capacity German cars would run two-thirds cleaner than a typical diesel-powered trolley -- and without sulfur emissions, he said. Although, at about eight miles per gallon of vegetable oil, it's not the most fuel-efficient ride.

White made his pitch recently to the Sugar House Community Council.

Critics, including the Utah Transit Authority, are already saying that safety, liability and overall logistics issues make the plan almost impossible to implement.

Community Council chairwoman Helen Peters called it a "romantic" idea, one that needs some fuel of its own.

"I think that there are a lot of challenges to work through, especially with no venture capital," she said.

White's plan is to form a nonprofit company, Sugar House Trolley, and raise the $2 million he thinks it will take to get the project up and running. Some track would need to be added and existing tracks would need to be retrofitted. Several new crossing arms would be needed at each intersection on the route.

UTA general manager John Inglish said White is "way off the mark" in terms of start-up costs and that for a variety of reasons, the idea is "just not realistic." Getting across State and 700 East are just two major challenges.

"He's thinking of a world gone by when you could have done this. . . but not this day and age," Inglish said.

Regulations imposed by the Public Service Commission could further complicate things for White.

There are currently no plans to bring light rail into Sugar House before 2030. Efforts are under way right now just to get Sugar House on the Wasatch Front Regional Council's 2030 plan for future transit projects. Several planned or proposed rail and road projects throughout Utah are already in line for finite federal funds.

White said that if the $2 million in donations he needs for his trolley system were to show up tomorrow, he says he can get the cars running in seven months.

"It's not going to be a huge operation," said White, who works for a satellite TV company. "It's going to be a functional commuter (service) with tourist appeal."

Union Pacific "threw in" the Sugar House corridor as part of UTA's deal last year to purchase 175 miles of right-of-way. Getting light rail in that corridor, Inglish said, is less of a priority than maybe a trail system in the same area.

"Even that has its difficulties," he said.

Mike Allegra, UTA's director of transit development, said he encourages people coming up with ideas for use of alternative technologies in transit. Already, UTA is using new fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly diesel/electric hybrid buses in its fleet.

A Sugar House trolley, White said, would be slower than TRAX light rail but would have more stops on its route and therefore better serve the community. He has set up an e-mail address,, to gather public comment.


Copyright C 2003 Deseret News Publishing Co.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jan 23 , 2008 SSL city council favors streetcar

1. A resolution of the City of South Salt Lake City Council adopting a locally preferred alternative for the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to extend transit options within the Sugar House Transit Corridor. Mr. Carlson explained that South Salt Lake and Salt Lake City discussed that it might be to their mutual advantage if they could restore some kind of public transportation system within the Sugar House Spur with all the development that’s occurring in the Sugar House area and the Market Station development in South Salt Lake. Neither was excited about light rail because it goes through a community but does not serve a community. So they looked for a mode of transportation that would utilize the Sugar House Spur and provide a benefit to the communities along the way. The mode of transportation the two cities agreed on were as follows: a mode of transportation that operated at a slow speed, that made frequent stops so the people in the community could use it, that would accommodate an urban linear park (Parley’s Trail), that there would be safe and standardized pedestrian crossings, would require broad local support, different funding options and would promote transit to transit connections. We envision it connecting with the north/south TRAX lines and connecting with north/south bus routes and transportation routes in the Sugar House area. They approached UTA with this idea. UTA has been very supportive of the project. The City Councils of Salt Lake and South Salt Lake entered into an interlocal agreement to do an alternative analysis to study the issue of whether a new mode of public transportation is needed between South Salt Lake and Sugarhouse, what would be the preferred alignment for that mode of transportation and what kind of conveyance would be most appropriate. Fehr and Peers has conducted a thorough study. The public process has been quite intensive. We’ve had stake holder committees that have represented a lot of the interests, the cities, and community members. What Fehr and Peers have concluded is that the potential for rider ship between South Salt Lake and Sugar House does warrant public investment in a public transportation system.

They have concluded that the preferable alternate is to use the existing Sugar House Spur Corridor. They also concluded that the preferred mode of conveyance is a modern street car. It operates at grade level so there’s no platform necessary for boarding. It’s easier for people with wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles. It generally moves at 30 miles per hour. It is much more suited to the criteria the cities established. If the Council passes this resolution it signals that the City of South Salt Lake supports the conclusions the engineers reached in this study and becomes another stepping stone toward getting federal funding to complete the project. The next step is to do an environmental impact statement which will look at the impacts a street car system would have on the neighborhoods through which it passes. The City will have to come up with some more funding for the environmental impact statement.

There was some discussion among the Council on which type of conveyance would be best for the area, a bus rapid transit system or a modern street car.

After discussion Council Member Weaver moved to approve the resolution adopting the locally preferred alternative for the Utah Transit Authority to extend transit options within the Sugar House Spur.

MOTION: John Weaver
SECOND: LeRoy Turner
Roll Call Vote:
Brusch Aye
Fitts Aye
Goddard Aye
Rutter Nay
Siwik Aye
Turner Aye
Weaver Aye

SLC Council votes for SH Trolley

Salt Lake Trib

Sugar House
Council votes 5-0 to run streetcar along 2300 South
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 07/24/2008 12:37:03 AM MDT
In a 5-0 vote, the City Council adopted a joint resolution with Mayor Ralph Becker to forge ahead with a low-speed Sugar House streetcar to be funded by the capital, Utah Transit Authority and South Salt Lake. After an environmental study, the plan calls for a streetcar to run along a two-mile stretch of 2300 South between UTA's Central Pointe station on 200 West and Highland Drive's Granite Block development. The public trolley will stop every two blocks. The city plans to preserve enough space alongside the street car for a pedestrian and bicycle trail. "I don't anticipate this will change bus service along 2100 South," Councilman Soren Simonsen said. -
Derek P. Jensen

Sunday, June 01, 2008

KCPW , 22 May 2008

Becker Meets With Transportation Officials in Washington

May 22, 2008 by Jeff Robinson

(KCPW News) This week, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker met with top government transportation officials in Washington, DC, in his effort to get federal funding for the airport TRAX line and a proposed Sugar House trolley line. The mayor said it was a great opportunity to show federal officials that Salt Lake City is on the leading edge of public transit.

"It was a real opportunity for Salt Lake and for Utah to talk about what we're doing with our transit service," said Becker. "We live here, we don't always see this, but it's really groundbreaking nationally; the investment we're making in rail, the improvements we're making all up and down the Wasatch Front."

The mayor said he got good feedback but noted that it will take a lot of time before federal funding comes through. He spoke with officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration, and a House subcommittee on transportation.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

KCPW April 2008


Sugar House Trolley Project On the Move

Apr 03, 2008 by Elizabeth Ziegler

(KCPW News) Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker's campaign promise to bring trolleys back to Sugar House could move closer to reality next week. Becker says a study conducted over the winter determined a trolley line is the best transit solution for the neighborhood.

"We are moving ahead very, very aggressively to get that line, finish studies on that line and to move into construction," Becker says.

The $40 million project is more affordable than extending TRAX to Sugar House, he says. And trolleys travel at slower speeds and make more stops than light-rail, he says. The trolleys would use an existing rail corridor that skirts the South Salt Lake City boundary, at roughly 2100 South, and connects to the North-South TRAX Line at State Street.

"That corridor serves a lot of people, both in South Salt Lake City and in Sugarhouse. It would help relieve congestion. And the more people we have in transit, the more we are helping improve air quality and the long-range issue with climate change," Becker says.

The city's Redevelopment Agency will decide April 8 whether to fund a portion of the environmental impact study for the project. The request asks the RDA to contribute between $33,000 and $100,000 for the study. The other partners in the project, the UTA and South Salt Lake City, have each agreed to pay a third of the $300,000 study.

Posted in KCPW Newsroom. Copyright 2008 KCPW

Valley Journal April 2008

Mayor requests funding
for Sugar House
trolley line
By David Jensen
In the wake of a favorable public response to constructing a trolley
line around Sugar House and South Salt Lake, Mayor Ralph Becker is
submitting an application for a $1 million federal grant for planning and
start-up of the line.
The cost of the entire trolley line project is estimated to be
around $36 million. Becker hopes the initial $1 million will be funded
by the Federal Transit Administration╩╝s discretionary New Starts
program. This program is a prelude to actual construction of the line
and has three phases: an alternatives analysis study, a preliminary
engineering study and a fi nal design phase.
The alternatives analysis was completed last October to help determine
transportation alternative to automobile traffi c through the area. This phase
when local decision makers decided on a preferred alternative. The results
included public input, revealed that a trolley line was the most popular and
Proponents agreed that a trolley line would be more neighborhood-oriented and
the Sugar House area.
engineering study involves estimates of project costs, benefi ts and impacts. This
environmental impact statement to certify that there will be no adverse environmental
fi nal design process where design specifi cations and construction plans are
d w
h i
ronmental effects.
The third phase is the final
a public
was completed
of this study, which
feasible option. Propo
match the character of th
The preliminary engin
phase includes fi ling an en
Sugar House may enjoy the clang, clang of the
trolley in the not-too-distant future.
File photo.
Continued page 16 “Trolley”

Desnews May 2008

A desire named 'street car'

Deseret News editorial
Published: May 18, 2008
Say "street car" and people think of the Tennessee Williams play or picture San Francisco's little cable cars "climbing halfway to the stars" — spewing Rice-A-Roni into the air as they go along.

In other words, there's something antiquated and charming in the notion of street cars. We miss them the way we fondly remember passenger trains.

Now, Salt Lake City, Ogden and other cities around the West are hoping to climb back on board again with street car systems.

In his recent budget, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said he was setting aside $100,000 so the city could partner with South Salt Lake and the Utah Transit Authority to get things rolling for Sugar House street cars. He said he didn't know the final form of the thing — it might even be quaint and antique — though chances are it would look more like the sleek, modernistic versions found in Miami and Birmingham, Ala. When told the city already had the historical Trolley Square where the things could be housed, Becker mused that driving the things 20 blocks out of the way might be asking a bit too much.

Still, as Utahns cut back on buying gas (consumption is down 20 percent), it means other ways of getting around must come into high relief. And street cars seem to fill the bill.

In a nation where everything old tends to become new again, the idea of street cars moving about the city streets sounds both historic and futuristic at the same time — which isn't a bad motto for city planners to follow.

The appeal of the cars is they are lighter and share the road with cars. They are energy-efficient. And the street cars have a positive image in the minds of shoppers, retailers and city leaders. They feel "human friendly." At last count, more than two dozen American cities had installed them.

And so far, the track record for street cars is impressive. According to USA Today, Little Rock's trolleys have been so successful that an expansion was called for. Portland's Pearl District is now known for its street cars. And in Tucson, the street cars are now a part of local lore Old Town.

In short, now is a good time for Utah to join the trend.