Comments about ‘Letters: Sugarhouse madness’

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Published: Wednesday, May 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Martin Blank
Salt Lake City, UT

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."

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Martin Blank
If 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.

Martin Blank
Salt Lake City, UT

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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