Utah Transit Authority will begin testing the Sugar House Streetcar line early next week. In the meantime, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and UTA officials gathered along a residential section of the streetcar corridor this morning to unveil the look and name of the streetcar. Here’s a hint: It’s a familiar design.
If a quaint, San Francisco-esque cable car is what you had envisioned for the Sugar House Streetcar, you might need to adjust your expectations. The new line, which runs east from the Central Pointe TRAX station at about 2230 south to 1100 east, will carry the same light rail cars that are being used on UTA’s red and green TRAX lines. Steve Meyer is UTA’s Chief Capital Development Officer. He says it was less expensive to use cars that UTA already had available in its fleet than to buy new vehicles.
“They’ve been used as streetcars around the country at different locations," Meyer says. "You can look at the modern streetcar like Portland or Seattle uses. They look more modern than a San Francisco-type car.”
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker couldn’t say if the same model will be used for phase 2, which will continue north from the 1100 east terminus.
"Our expectation is that as this system expands, which we are obviously fully anticipating, that we will be moving toward a more traditional streetcar design," Becker says.
The Sugar House Streetcar will be called the S-line. It will be white with large silver decals on the side. Unlike TRAX, the line will carry only one rail car at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. The streetcar will have more standing room and space for bicycles than TRAX because it’s meant for shorter trips instead of commutes. The corridor will include bike and pedestrian paths, landscaping and art.
The streetcar, with all of these emenities will open to riders in December.