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Residents, business owners protest Sugar House streetcar location

By Richard Piatt | Posted - May 1st, 2013 @ 9:31pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — A protest was held Wednesday in the Sugar House area about the upcoming street car line that will be coming to Salt Lake City.

The street car is one of the hottest topics in the city in years and it confirms that sleepy Sugar House is in the middle of a significant transformation.

There's lots of construction in the Sugar House area, building out and up — the only place it can go in spots.

Roads are congested, and the idea of a street car to give people an alternative is taking some heat.

"Are we going to have two rails with cars idling behind the bus idling behind the trolley?" said resident Lori Leighton. "That's what's going to happen: congestion."


It will affect a lot of the businesses, which is a real concern when there are other options like the bus, which offers a lot more flexibility and is a lot cheaper.

–Neil Davis


Along Highland Drive, there is a vocal group protesting the location of the street car. An existing line that opens in December will stop short of Highland Drive. The next phase could go east on 2100 South or north on 1100 East, and a mix of business owners and residents are actively saying no to the north line.

"It will affect a lot of the businesses, which is a real concern when there are other options like the bus, which offers a lot more flexibility and is a lot cheaper," said Neil Davis.

The Sugar House street car plan is generating heat like nothing city councilman Soren Simonsen has seen in a while. He says it taps into larger questions of how areas grow, where people live and work.

"This project becomes something that kind of launches those kinds of discussions, and we're right in the middle of it right now," Simonsen said.

Sugar House's transformation is already sparking other issues, like parking.

"It's a very big issue to us," said Scott Clark, from Clark Executive Detail. "Because we need parking for not only our workers, but for our customers too."

There is equal passion for the street car east on 2100 South by businesses who want to tap into the success the heart of Sugar House is experiencing.

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