About the only sure thing regarding light rail is there are going to be disagreements regarding its need and location.
Thus it's not surprising that some people don't want a west-east light rail to run down 400 South. Business owners fear construction will have an adverse impact on them. They reiterated those concerns during a Friday night meeting.Progress often is painful. But it's necessary. Federal and state funds have already been committed to light rail. That form of transportation is going to be part of the Wasatch Front. Period. Construction has already started on the north-south line that will go from downtown Salt Lake City to Sandy on Main Street. And construction shouldn't needlessly be delayed by regurgitating all the previous debate on the west-east line that would run from the airport to the University of Utah.
All of the light-rail proposals have their drawbacks as well as strong points. But when all angles are considered, the decision to have the west-east line go along 400 South makes a lot more sense than having it traverse another city artery.
The Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Deedee Corradini committed to that route for good reasons. Those include keeping light-rail cars out of residential neighborhoods. The route needs to run where it will do the most good, and that is along 400 South. That is where the biggest concentration of people and businesses are.
It wouldn't be convenient or practical to have it run on a parallel track several blocks away where people would be let off in residential neighborhoods and have to walk to the various businesses.
Concerns about decreasing traffic capacity and increasing traffic congestion need to be looked at carefully. But those same concerns would exist on any another route.
Obviously there will be a lot of disruptions while the system is being built, just as there are a lot of disruptions with the reconstruction of I-15. But in the end the addition of the west-east route will be part of a carefully constructed mosaic that includes the north-south route and commuter rail. That coupled with a much improved I-15 and the Legacy Highway will position the Wasatch Front to adequately deal with a substantial increase in population.