Sunday, March 15, 2009

Std-Ex: Public Comments Invited on Proposed Ogden City Streetcar Routes

UTA Public open houses calendered for March 24 and 26

We'll direct our readers' attention to an important story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, which will be of interest to those of you who are closely following developments with respect to Ogden's pending street car study project. This morning's story reports that the Utah Transit Authority will be seeking public input on three possible cross town routes, in which connection it will host the following public open houses:

March 24, 2009 - 4 to 7 p.m. - Ogden Eccles Conference Center
March 26, 2009 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - WSU Student Union Building

As we've discussed before, each of the three proposed routes would connect Ogden's downtown Utah Intermodal Hub with WSU and Dee-Mckay Hospital, and each will feature east-west connectors between Washington and Harrision Boulevards. The first of these, which would use 26th street for its east-west leg, was also identified the the preferred alternative in the 2005 Baker Study, the only rigorous study which has ever been done (at considerable taxpayer expense) to examine possible transit corridors. The latter two, which would follow routes along 30th and 36th Street, are routes which Boss Godfrey apparently pulled (at no taxpayer expense) out of his ever-visionary... umm... hat.

Mark your calenders folks, and please plan to attend at least one of these events if you can.

Reader comments about the relative merits and disadvantages of each of these proposed routes are invited in our lower comments section, of course.

17 comments:

RJ Svengali said...

East - west.

Hmmm.
36th is freakin narrow, 30th has a steep hill and should already be 2 lanes plus center medians and right turn lanes in each direction...

26th street goes through the heart of our designated "should all be bulldozed" zone.

There needs a widening/straightening of about four east-west streets, regardless.

If someone who is an expert told us our house needed a supporting beam at X location, you can be sure we would not second guess the recommendation.

What, like Mayor Godfrey is also a civil engineer?

We like these little choo choo trains, really.
No kids will shoot BB guns and 22 rifles at it as it goes past, the way they would an urban gondola.
That thing would be pock marked, glass shattered, pissed in, and tagged to the point of being unusable within a week.

We love this town.

Moroni McConkie said...

In case anyone feels professorial today, here are some questions:

Has there been any consensus of opinion here at the WCForum on which route is the soundest? The reference to the 2005 Baker study in the main article makes it seem like 26th Street is best.

Are the buses between the Transit Center and WSU often full? Unless current bus service is overcrowded, why is an upgrade to rapid transit or streetcar considered necessary? (I ask this as a self-confessed public transportation Nazi.)

In Salt Lake, the TRAX University route is heavily used because students ride "free," i.e., their fares are included in their student fees. Is there a comparable fee structure at WSU? If not, would more WSU people take public transportation to school if their fees made it "free?"

monotreme said...

Students (and faculty) at WSU are given an EdPass on request, which allows them to ride on the buses, Trax, and FrontRunner at no additional cost.

Curmudgeon said...

MM:

I can answer a couple of your questions. Currently, WSU provides to all students [and faculty and, I presume, staff] UTA E-passes, which means free transit on UTA buses, TRAX and Frontrunner. I use mine often. Daily, and sometimes several times daily during the term. The installation of the new "tap on/tap off" system should give us some reliable numbers on usage by WSU people by the time the contract has to be renewed, changed or dropped.

As for load levels on the buses between downtown and WSU: there are two run regularly during the work week. The 603 runs every fifteen minutes, comes up 25th from Wall, turns south on Harrison to campus [passing by the 36th Street trailhead along the way], then to McKay Dee. Returns via same route. The 455 runs once an hour, goes south down Washington to 30th, then east to Harrison, then follows the same route to WSU, then out to 89 and SLC. Returns same route, once an hour.

Load levels vary. I've caught the last 603 that will get students to an 8:30 or 9:00 class and had to stand. All seats filled. And I've caught the bus on an off hour in mid afternoon when there were only two or three people on it at any given time while I was on [but I did not ride the whole route]. The 455 I've seen packed with many standees when it goes south from WSU in the late morning or early afternoon, carrying students home. So it varies during the day, considerably.

UTA tells me the 602 is one of its most heavily used routes. There have been times when I've ridden the 603 downtown [or back from downtown] when there were never more than six or seven people on the bus at any one time, but over the whole route upwards of 21 rode it part of the way at least. [I did counts, just for my own information.] So it can be misleading to draw conclusions about ridership by looking at one bus as it passes. You can't tell how many people were on but got off, or will get on once it's past the point at which you observed it. And depending on the WSU schedule, the next bus by may be loaded with students. Which is why those hard numbers are going to be very helpful in making sound judgments about usage.

Percentages said...

It seems like it would be most cost effective to run the new line where the old line once was. I believe the Bamberger ran up 24th or 26th Street.

This would be more cost-effective because the utilities are already on either side of the street since the old track ran up the center so there would be no need to spend the extra months and thousands of dollars to move everything – not to mention far less inconvenience for the impacted neighborhood. Wouldn’t it just be a matter of uncovering old tracks and then tearing them out and replacing them with whatever the new system required?

It seems like this would also bolster our downtown area if residents could ride directly to our major retail (or at least where it’s supposed to be – after dinner at Iggy’s last night I noticed every ground level shop at Junction remains empty). Maybe transportation directly or in close proximity to site is exactly what potential investors need to invest in a new business during tough economic times.

We have public schools on both 24th and 26th and two charter schools about two blocks from 24th Street and there also seem to be a lot more businesses (at least Ogden businesses) at those locations. Why make it easy for Ogden residents to buy groceries a Macy’s or Costco when they’re both in South Ogden and we see no revenue benefit? If South Ogden builds their own system, that’s wonderful – but let’s build something that benefits the Junction where all of our tax dollars were invested.

It seems like a lot more WSU students would use this option too. If you live in Clearfield it would be much easier to hop on FrontRunner and then take light rail to campus. The extra step of catching a bus from the Intermodal Hub or walking the six-twelve blocks to the proposed line would turn a lot of people away from this option. From FrontRunner in SLC, you can tax TRAX right to the U of U.

This would also benefit 25th Street too because of its close proximity.

This URL also has info on the old tracks that ran up to Huntsville -- potential for direct rail access to resorts from the SLC Airport.

Percentages said...

More info on the Bamberger Electric Railway in this link.

Tammi Diaz said...

You stop and think how are pay for all this, taxpayers will be Responsible for Drivers, Maintenance and the Purchase of Streetcars. Get ready for Taxes to go up.

blackrulon said...

On his last television show the mini mayor told a caller that he was working with UTA to remove bus benches from 25th street and reroute the buses. How will this impact, if at all, the decision on the streetcars?

RJ Svengali said...

Conversationally, were we your evil overlord
most daily travel would use public transportation fueled by sunlight.

Personal automobiles would only be used as a recreation toy or object of art; using whatever fuel for which one can secure a permit, one can still pursue the hobby of driving with archaic gasoline.
We will never sell our Detroit steel.
Likewise, we shall not take away yours.

We would pay for it all with the toil and ambition of the well tended populace working together to serve our will.

Curmudgeon said...

Blackrulon:

Did he say why he was working to get the bus stops off 25th Street? The stops eliminated that now deliver passengers, and pick them up, right in the dead center of the 25th Street Historic District? What the possible point of moving public transit away from Historic 25th Street could be?

moo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drewmeister said...

Curm: When are you going to learn and stop asking silly questions? Your answer is: When the Mayor has spoken, the thinking has been done.

blackrulon said...

Toward the end of the show a caller asked about adding more bus stops and or benches, The mini mayor then told of asking UTA to remove bus stops and benches. He said this was to make 25th street a more walkable street.

what will it cost us said...

Sounds like he is trying to remove the bus riders since one of the businesses Indigo on 25th a FOM complained about those waiting to catch a bus.

Buses and streetcars going up 25th would show off those businesses. On 26th street it could use the upgrade that would happen with a streetcar, also a central corridor for those that really need public transportation, and there are businesses on 26th. The renovation of the old IGA would benefit from a streetcar on 26th also. 30th has already been updated and repaired, but with governments that just means to tear it up again. Only homes on 30th or 36th so it wouldn't attract any shoppers.

OgdenLover said...

Running a trolley line along 25th St makes a lot of sense.
1) The street is broad, so there's lots of room, unlike some of the other proposed routes.
2) Since few homes are located there, residents wouldn't be disturbed.
3) Not only would existing businesses be showcased, studies show increases in businesses along trolley lines.
4) Imagine being able to take the trolley for an evening out on 25th Street and being able to have a glass of wine with dinner. No worries about drinking and driving, no need for a designated driver.

looking for info said...

To those who may have thought about this more than I, what's the up side of having a street car run up 26th and then along Harrison to WSU as opposed to running along Washington to 36th and then up to Harrison? Seems to be more businesses along Washington that would benefit than along Harrison.

dan s. said...

looking,

South of 30th Street, Washington Blvd. is dominated by auto-oriented businesses that wouldn't be very compatible with pedestrians or streetcars.

36th Street itself is almost entirely residential, and very narrow.

However, the long-term plan is to put a second transit line up and down Washington Blvd. Assuming that it will go in eventually, we need to ask what route to Harrison and WSU will best complement the Washington Blvd. line. If we ever want better transit to serve the east-central neighborhood, Ogden High School, etc., then now is the time.

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