Streetcars are making a comeback across the country, and Utah will soon join the movement. The first phase of the Sugar House Streetcar project is set to open December 2013, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the first of what we hope will be several streetcar lines to Salt Lake City.
Well, we should say welcome back. Many years ago, Salt Lake City had an extensive streetcar network with lines stretching from Capitol Hill/The Avenues all the way into Sugar House.
It is easy to confuse the future streetcar with the TRAX system already in place. Streetcars move at much slower speeds, generally 7-12 miles per hour, while your average pedestrian travels at 3 miles per hour. Stations resemble covered bus stops and the rail lines are often integrated with existing roads.
One of Portland’s popular streetcars.
Phase 1 of the Sugar House Streetcar project is currently under construction and will run from the 2100 South TRAX station along Sugarmont Avenue, ending at McClelland (roughly 1050 East). This section of the streetcar line will open December 2013.
Phase 2 of the project will be the continuation of the streetcar line, which was the subject of an exhaustive study that considered land use, street amenities, housing and ridership.
The study was prepared over the course of 18 months, and recommends that the streetcar line extend from McClelland to Highland Drive along Sugarmont, and then head north to Monument Plaza and finally extend north on 1100 East to 1700 South to serve Westminster College. Both a technical analysis and community input were factored into this recommendation.
Also known as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), this plan draws the streetcar right into the heart of Sugar House and will further connect Westminster College as a community hub. Learn more about Phase 2.
Sugar House is coming back to life, thanks in part to the construction of the streetcar line, which helps spur local development and is a boon for the community.
This is an exciting time for public transit in Salt Lake City. You can learn more about the Sugar House Streetcar project at SHStreetcar.com.
And if you are on Twitter, look for the #welove11th and #purplelineSLC hashtags to join the conversation!
The Salt Lake City Council will be holding a public hearing on the future of the Sugar House Streetcar on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. If you cannot attend, you can still weigh in on the Open City Hall online forum.