New names may put TRAX on the map

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 28 1997 12:00 a.m. MST

Courthouse, Ballpark, Central Pointe, Murray North and Sandy's Station.

Those names might not mean much to you now, but they could become part of your vocabulary - and your mental map of the Salt Lake Valley when the Utah Transit Authority's Transit Express (TRAX) light-rail system opens in 2 1/2 years.Those titles were among the proposed names for 15 light-rail stations presented this week to the UTA Board of Directors.

The names were submitted by mayors, city councils and/or citizens' groups from Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Murray, Midvale and Sandy. Salt Lake County has yet to submit a name for its lone station at 3900 South, but UTA is in no hurry to approve the list.

In fact, judging from comments at Wednesday's meeting, it could take a while to resolve some of the issues surrounding the proposed names.

Board member Richard Kuchinsky, Sandy, was upset that the Sandy City Council wants to name the 9000 South station Sandy's Station. That is also the name, Kuchinsky pointed out, of a "cowboy bar" at 8925 S. 255 West, about five blocks away from the TRAX stop.

"I don't know where their head is, I really don't," Kuchinsky said of the City Council. "They are naming it after an enterprise just down the street and I really object to that.

The Sandy City Council on Tuesday selected Sandy's Station, rejecting a suggestion from a citizens' task force that the station be known as Historic Sandy.

"Sandy's Station is a bar on 90th South. Maybe (council members) spend too much time there," Kuchinsky said.

Other board members seemed equally concerned about that name, but at least four of the other suggested names also drew criticism.

Curt Bramble said it seemed inconsistent to name the 300 West/ South Temple station Delta Center after the corporate sponsor of the Utah Jazz arena and then call the 1300 South station Ballpark with no mention of the Franklin Quest sponsorship of the nearby baseball stadium.

Several board members questioned South Salt Lake's suggestion of Central Pointe for the 2100 South station. UTA community affairs specialist Coralie Alder said the name was an attempt by the city to tie the station name to the name of a nearby development project.

Alder told the board Murray officials insist that the 6400 South station be called Fashion Place, even though it will be several blocks west of Fashion Place Mall. Several board members were concerned that name might be misleading. The mall might run a shuttle bus to the TRAX station, Alder said.

Board member Monta Rae Jeppson said she is content with the recommended names. She said they do the job of informing passengers of where they are.

"I think we're being a little bit nitpicky on some of these names," she told the board. "If you can visualize where you are . . . I see nothing wrong with" the names.

Alder revealed several names that were considered but ultimately rejected by the cities. Here are some of them, with the proposed station name listed first and the rejected name in parenthesis: Delta Center (Union Station); Temple Square (Abravanel Hall); Gallivan Plaza (Broadway); Midvale Fort Union (Midvale Valley).

The UTA board could change any of the station names but some board members seem reluctant to go against the wishes of the communities. More discussion of the names is likely at next month's meeting.

Another future discussion will focus on whether UTA should charge light rail passengers when TRAX opens in the spring of 2000. Board member Greg Haws said he would like the system to be free for the first year. Kuchinsky favors a 30-day free-fare period.

"It's certainly something to talk about," Chairman Jim Clark said.

Also Wednesday, the board:

- Granted conditional approval to a three-year, $1.2 million contract with Florida-based Wackenhut Corp. to provide security for UTA's bus and, eventually, light-rail system. The security officers, who will not be armed, will begin patrolling buses and bus stops in January or February.

- Tentatively approved a $1.8 million contract with Scheidt & Buchmann of Boston to provide 37 ticket-vending machines for TRAX.

- Approved a $1.2 million increase in spending on the first phase of the downtown Salt Lake TRAX construction, from 1300 South at 200 West to 700 South at Main. The additional money is needed for several enhancements and some unexpected construction costs.

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