A delicate balance over pedestrian safety vs. historical preservation in the 200-400 W. State Street area prompted the City Council to delay a decision on accepting a revised master transportation plan.
The issue will surface again at the council's March 4 meeting, but no one's convinced the two weeks since the earlier meeting will allow enough time for a suitable solution."I don't know that we can resolve this on March 4th," Mayor Greg Bell said. "These are hard choices, and it's back to the drawing board."
City officials are overhauling their master transportation plan and especially want to ensure that future access to Lagoon is adequate and as separate as possible from the community.
However, residents of the nearby Clark Lane Historical District are concerned that the city's very heritage is threatened by a possible new I-15 interchange at 400 W. State St.
The tentative interchange would demolish the Orson and Lucile Clark home at 399 W. State St. and also remove many mature trees from the north side of State Street.
"We're not only defending the historic district for ourselves, but the historic charm of Farmington for all its residents," said David Barney, president of the Clark Lane Historical Preservation Association. "A better solution to accommodate development and not impact the neighborhood is out there."
Some four dozen residents attended the public hearing on the transportation plan. Everyone seems to like the overall plan, but no one spoke in favor of the State Street interchange - which would be built in about six years when I-15 is expanded from six to 10 lanes from Salt Lake to Kaysville.
The City Council doesn't particularly favor the interchange. Even Lagoon officials don't want it, but not building it would have safety consequences. Its absence means increasing traffic will continue to come off the south Farmington I-15 exit and travel down 200 West Street, past Farmington Junior High School.
Without a State Street interchange, traffic is projected to increase from the 5,000 cars a day in 1998 to 17,000 cars by the year 2020.
While Bell said he understands the strong community commitment to the Clark Lane Historical area, he said the State Street interchange was proposed because residents also said they didn't want an extra 10,000 cars a day.
"Now you're telling us 10,000 more trips a day is OK. . . . I don't think we understand what it means to put 17,000 cars in front of Farmington Junior High," he said.
A Planning Commission discussion last week upset some residents because it erroneously implied the community favored old bricks over the safety of children.
However, the Planning Commission ended up recommending the council delete the State Street freeway interchange from the master plan while working to find ways to lessen the accompanying traffic impacts on 200 West and State Street.
Horrocks Engineering, hired as Farmington City's consulting company, had recommended the interchange. City officials are pushing a summer deadline to have their master transportation plan revised. That way, it can be included in future I-15 planning by the Utah Department of Transportation.