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Hundreds of residents sound off on proposed streetcar route

By Shara Park and Andrew Adams | Posted - Apr 24th, 2013 @ 7:39am

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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night to voice their opinion on streetcars in Sugar House and what route the new transit line should take.

The line currently runs from Central Point TRAX station to Sugar House. With the next phase, it could run north along 1100 East or east along 2100 South.

A public hearing Tuesday night sought public comments, which took two and a half hours. Those who didn't get to speak submitted digital comments or taped responses. Most of the residents who spoke voiced opposition to the 1100 East extension, or to the streetcar in general.

"We are great, soon to be grand. We don't need streetcars to be grand," said one woman.

Residents who oppose the streetcar proposal presented a petition signed by nearly 1,600 people who live and work along 1100 East. They're worried about parking, traffic congestion, and safety.

However, prior to the meeting, Mayor Ralph Becker and several business owners expressed support for it.

"The technical analysis points very clearly and solidly going to Highland, then going north on 11th East," Becker said. "That really helps flush our system as it develops, probably more quickly."

J.D. Smith of the 21st & 21st Business Association said, "A streetcar coming to our neighborhood completely revitalizes and doesn't become an economic downfall, rather an economic windfall as we develop this into a unique local area."

The proposed 2100 South route, which would pass Sugarhouse Park and end at 1700 East, got a warmer reception. Supporters for that route called the area underserved, ready for development, and a more logical destination.

Council members voted to address the issue again in a May 7 work session and possibly vote on a route that day. However, several council members expressed concern about the high volume of community feedback that has been submitted and may want more time to review the proposals.

The existing streetcar line is set to start operating in December, but the project is ready to move on to the second phase.

Contributing: Richard Piatt


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