A neighborhood group opposed to the proposed construction of an I-15 interchange at North Temple met with mixed reactions from Salt Lake City Council members during a council session Thursday night.
The Neighborhood Transportation Alliance related the concerns of area community councils about the interchange, which they said would quadruple morning rush-hour traffic flow, now at 850 vehicles an hour, into the city."The concern with a lot of these community councils is that this interchange is going to severely impact these neighborhoods," said Stan Penfold, an Avenues resident and chairman of the alliance.
Penfold told council members overflow from I-15 traffic funneled onto an inadequate North Temple would disrupt neighborhoods. In addition, contrary to some council members' assertions, Penfold said bringing more traffic downtown would not enhance downtown business.
Councilwoman Florence Bittner, who represents the district in which the interchange would be built, said she was "on the firing line" because her constituency is split over the issue.
Homeowners are opposed to the interchange exit because it would increase traffic in their neighborhoods, while businessmen favor it as a means of bringing in more customers.
But Bittner said the interchange is "the quickest, the easiest and the cheapest" method of solving the city's traffic woes.
Councilman Alan Hardman, on the other hand, said he was "leaning against" the proposal.
Hardman represents the central city district, an area suffering from a depressed housing sector. A downtown interchange would encourage commuters to live in suburbs and drive downtown to work, thus further depressing the housing industry in his district, he said.
The council is studying the interchange, which was given a thumbs down by the Regional Urban Design Assistance Team that visited the city in June.