Published: Wednesday, May 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
Okay, kiddies, repeat after me: A streetcar is not a Trax line. Streetcars share
the road with cars; they don't have their own lanes in the middle of the
street. They're designed to work somewhat similar to a bus, but with the
difference that they're permanent where bus routes can and do change.
Streetcars drive foot traffic to businesses along their route, and that's
what the Sugarhouse streetcar is meant to do--get more cars off the roads and
shoppers (and some commuters) onto the streetcar. When the Sugarhouse streetcar
line is finally completed, I think it will most likely go down 1100 E to 9th
South, down through the 9th and 9th shopping district, then turn north on either
7th or 6th East, past Trolley Square, and meet up with the Trax system at the
Trolley Square stop on 400 S and 600 E.--a "shopping loop."
The 1100 East trolley falls into the category of "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it." What pressing problem is this line supposed to solve?
If it's for Westminster students and/or local residents to get downtown
without having to drive a car, they can walk 10 minutes to the Sugarhouse TRAX
station, once that is built (and how many will opt to take this alternative @
$2.50 a pop each way and about an hour's time with transfers?). Will it
help businesses along 11th East? Doubtful. Will it eliminate parking along
11th East, which is already scarce? Probably. Will it help solve traffic
congestion on 11th East? No, it will just add another very large vehicle to the
flow.I can only conclude that this boondoggle is to satisfy the
delusions of grandeur of Mayor Becker and the city council members who voted for
it. At our expense. Too bad they didn't have their own skin in the game.
I'm all for mass transit in appropriate circumstances, but this one was a
solution that will only exacerbate the problem, if there even is a problem.
Martin BlankIf they are designed to work as a bus... why not use a bus?If the bus approach works.. why go to the expense and inconvenience of digging
up the roads to put tracks in, moving the infrastructure around permanently to
accomodate trains in the streets? Why not just add more buses?You
can change bus routes as pulations and needs change EASILY. Trains are much
harder to re-route. It takes years and lots and lots of $$$.I used
to consult on traffic and mass transit nationally and while we were putting our
TRAX in place Charlotte NC decided that they couldn't afford the light rail
route so they opted to go with BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) instead. They created
new lanes on the main freeways and only allowed buses in these lanes (like light
rail but with buses instead of trains). No new trains to buy. Not tracks to
install. And they can change the routes as needs change. Use the lanes for
regular trafic during off-peak hours, etc. It worked for them. Seems like it
could work on 1100 E.
2 bits--you may have missed my point. Streetcars are meant to be permanent
precisely because they then drive business and residential development. You see
that all along the Trax line today because the Trax line is permanent. No
one's going to build something like the Fairbourne Station development in
WVC, the Fireclay development in Murray, or 2150 S Main in SLC along a bus
line--there's always the chance that the bus route will change and then
where will your customers come from? Farmington's Station Crossing is the
same thing, but built because of the FrontRunner station. Permanence helps build
a business district, and will help Sugarhouse in the same way. As I mentioned
above, the ultimate end of this streetcar line should be a "shopping
tour" of Sugarhouse, 9th and 9th, and Trolley Square. As this is built, more
small boutiques and other businesses will crop up along the route (which already
has quite a few), and will enhance the streetcar line.
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