Saturday, May 31, 2008

KCPW April 2008

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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
tra
d w
h i
one
he
nee
nvir
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
effects
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.