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Hundreds Turn Out for Public Hearing on Streetcar

Most Salt Lake City residents and local businesses in Sugar House do not like the streetcar alignment favored by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and a number of Salt Lake City council members.  At least that’s the takeaway from last night’s public hearing at city hall, where several hundred people shuffled in hoping to have a say in the project.

The question before the council is this: Should the second phase of the Sugar House Streetcar travel east up 2100 south or north along 1100 east.

Lori Leighton owns Boxing is For Girls, a gym on 1100 east.  She delivered a petition to the city council with signatures from businesses and residents in the area who are against the 1100 east alignment. She’s mainly concerned the construction on the street will drive away business.

“There is a less damaging and more effective route," Leighton says. "I know you can and will find it. 1565 of your constituents, citizens of Salt Lake and Sugar House are counting on you.”

Others say the street is too narrow for a streetcar. They argue it will cause congestion. 

At least two council members say the streetcar should go east to better serve residents on the east bench.

But a group of Westminster students spoke in favor of the 1100 east alignment. Lexie Banks says the streetcar would cut her daily commute to campus in half and help her get around. She says many of her fellow students agree.

“They said they would use this street car every day to get to and from campus and to everywhere that they shop in Sugar House," Banks says. "Everywhere they intern downtown. Really it would just unite the Salt Lake Valley.”

The first phase of the project is slated to be completed by years end. It runs from the Central Pointe TRAX station on 200 west to McClelland Avenue, which is about 1050 east.

The council is scheduled to vote on a preferred route on May 7th

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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