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City council votes to build Sugar House streetcar along 1100 East

By KSL.com | Posted - May 8th, 2013 @ 7:41am



SALT LAKE CITY — The next phase for the Sugar House streetcar is set after the city council voted Tuesday evening to send the line up 1100 East.

Residents, especially business owners, say they've already had enough construction, but the council members who voted yes say the streetcar will help get rid of congestion.

"When you start ripping up the street for streetcars, it's going to put a lot of nails in the coffin for a lot of businesses (on) 11th East," said Pat Newhouse, a business owner in Sugar House.

Adding construction could diminish accessibility of businesses in the area. Each person who walks into her business is a valuable customer, Newhouse said. If those people don't think they can get there, it could be a big problem.

"You take those people away, or they (might) think they can't get to our neighborhood because of the construction," Newhouse said.

Residents sounded off at an April 24 public hearing that lasted for two and a half hours. Most of the opposition was for the 1100 East extension, or to the streetcar in general. However, prior to that meeting Mayor Ralph Becker expressed his support for the 1100 East plan.

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"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."

There's a big demand for an alternative form of transit to lighten the number of cars driving through the area daily. UTA officials estimate people will make 23,000 trips through Sugar House streets every day by 2030.

"We support an alternative to give people an option besides cars, to replace cars with a comfortable and simple transit option," said Kyle La Malfa, Salt Lake City Council chair.

Like Becker, La Malfa said the technical analysis supported the 1100 East route because it eased "the tightness of the intersection and the mass quantity of cars that filter through."

Before construction begins the city council has to win a grant to pay for an urban rail. If all goes as they plan, the streetcar will be up and running in four years.

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