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  #4261  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 5:58 PM
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Originally Posted by John Martin View Post
I'm not anti-transit per se, I'm simply stating the reality in response to notions that we should be spending more on transit in Utah than we already do. Obviously I'm not suggesting that a free car for every regular transit user is even remotely viable, but the fact that it isn't doesn't justify the costs of light and commuter rail extensions like you're connoting. You're carelessly applying a vague ideology to a specific case which you clearly know nothing about, and you're far from compelling as a result. Maybe you should do some research first.

You're placing credence in the benefits of rail such as efficient land use and traffic independence while ignoring the fact that the roads are already there, and are in far greater demand than rail in this area. City and commuter buses use the roads to, and they managed to service the Wasatch Front just fine before rail transit was introduced. TRAX and FrontRunner offer a more pleasant rider experience than buses, and in some cases, are slightly quicker. But they don't bypass any major problems like they do in your vision. The fact of the matter is that our rail projects don't reflect actual demand; they were funded with barrels and barrels of federal pork, which other communities were really in much greater need of, and alternatives are still preferred by many. Commuter buses are regularly packed, despite the fact that they follow the same route as FrontRunner and are subject to traffic. But the demand for auto travel vastly eclipses demand for any sort of transit in Utah, so it's silly to act like the incredibly disproportionate cost per rider is somehow justified. FrontRunner ridership has been disappointing to say the least. Fares are among the highest in the nation, and they're only expected to increase because UTA is nowhere near being sustainable, despite the fact that most of this was paid for with federal dollars. Our rail is nice, and I'm not devastated by any means because we don't have to pay the bulk of it. But I wouldn't try to fool anyone into thinking it was a fair and balanced approach. I hope demand increases in time, but I think all future expansion should reflect actual demand.
Disappointing to read this post from you, John. You are an intelligent guy, but it seems you may be shortsighted or unable to look at the big picture in this instance - in my opinion. I certainly am able to recognize UTA's shortcomings (and there are many of them), but I am also so grateful to see the investment that has been made in guiding quality growth here in Utah by UTA's aggressive plan for the implementation and expansion or rail in our great State. I truly believe that we will reap the benefits from this investment many times over.
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  #4262  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 6:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Martin
I'm not anti-transit per se
Your arguments were all produced a decade ago by highway lobbyists who were paid to spread anti-transit propaganda. Academic peer-review has repeatedly shown them to be disingenuous at best. In other words, you are repeating lies from people who were specifically paid to be anti-transit.

Maybe you don't intend to be anti-transit, per se, but your thinking is clearly poorly informed and biased by elements that are explicitly anti-transit, and which have not been taken seriously by professionals for a long time because of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Martin
I'm simply stating the reality in response to notions that we should be spending more on transit in Utah
You are stating your opinion that Utah shouldn't spend more on transit. Your opinion is not reality. Even if your opinion were informed by less biases sources, it would still only be an opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Martin
the roads are already there, and are in far greater demand
Why do you think the roads are in far greater demand? I'll give you a hint: the fact that they're already there has something to do with it.

It's not logically valid to suggest there's no demand for a bridge based on the fact that nobody is swimming across a river, and it's not logically valid to suggest there's limited demand for transit based upon a transportation system that for the better part of a century has overwhelmingly subsidized driving. Utah's 3 or 4 rail lines do not come anywhere close to the state's historic investment in car infrastructure.

Regardless, unless you are prepared to argue that Utah's existing road system can adequately handle all growth likely to come to Utah in the future, the existing system is irrelevant to the question of what should be built for the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Martin
City and commuter buses use the roads to, and they managed to service the Wasatch Front just fine before rail transit was introduced.
The fact that you think transit in Utah was "just fine" when it was bus only pretty much destroys any credibility you might have had in this discussion. You cannot simultaneously claim that nobody rides transit AND that transit is "just fine". Half of what you claim is mutually exclusive with the other half. One thing you say proves another thing you've said wrong. The logical inconsistency is astounding.

Everybody thinks they are a reasonable moderate, but you sir are an extremist, willing to say anything you can think up in support of a pre-determined and biased opinion that you are convinced is reality. If moderation is something you intend to strive for, then you need to take a good long look in the mirror.

Luckily, we've had enough decades of increasing traffic congestion and sprawl that there aren't many decision-makers left who listen to your idea of "facts". We tried it your way in the 20th Century, and it didn't work very well. Our planners and elected officials know better these days.
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  #4263  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 7:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Your arguments were all produced a decade ago by highway lobbyists who were paid to spread anti-transit propaganda. Academic peer-review has repeatedly shown them to be disingenuous at best. In other words, you are repeating lies from people who were specifically paid to be anti-transit.

Maybe you don't intend to be anti-transit, per se, but your thinking is clearly poorly informed and biased by elements that are explicitly anti-transit, and which have not been taken seriously by professionals for a long time because of that.
Which arguments are you referring to? Am I lying about the per-capita costs? Am I lying about ridership? You seem to be assuming a lot more than I've actually said. You're being too vague to do your argument justice. Simply calling it "propaganda" doesn't give me reason to retrace my steps.

Quote:
You are stating your opinion that Utah shouldn't spend more on transit. Your opinion is not reality. Even if your opinion were informed by less biases sources, it would still only be an opinion.
The costs are not my opinion. The earmarks aren't my opinion. The numbers are not my opinion. Those are stone cold facts. I don't know what else I tried to pass off as fact, but my opinion on this results from the costs, which I consider to be astronomical.

Quote:
Why do you think the roads are in far greater demand? I'll give you a hint: the fact that they're already there has something to do with it.

It's not logically valid to suggest there's no demand for a bridge based on the fact that nobody is swimming across a river, and it's not logically valid to suggest there's limited demand for transit based upon a transportation system that for the better part of a century has overwhelmingly subsidized driving. Utah's 3 or 4 rail lines do not come anywhere close to the state's historic investment in car infrastructure.
Yeah, absolutely. I'm not denying this at all. Utah has invested billions in its roads already. That's what's done. No one can undo that. Simply inserting a few rail lines into suburbs here and there will not vaporize existing suburbs, nor will it curtail the demand for low density housing. Whether anyone likes it or not, that's where demand is. I know the demand is there, because suburban communities are growing steadily all over the south and west sides of the SL valley. That's why MVC and all these other road projects are being built. The road system is being expanded to accommodate growth. Surely you're not suggesting that all our roads can just be replaced with streetcars, light rail, and commuter rail.

The government has to cater to the demand that's already there, as well as to future demand. Of course it can shape demand as time progresses; my point isn't that rail investments shouldn't be made, it's that the investments need to better reflect actual current and projected demand. FrontRunner, for one, has failed to meet the modest projections that UTA set out for itself. It would be disingenuous to shift all road investments to mass transit with the expectation that demand will conveniently follow, especially when we know beyond a reasonable doubt that communities like South Jordan, West Jordan, Herriman, Riverton, and Bluffdale will continue to develop in their current fashion. Hopefully they develop in other ways too, but I can't honestly see suburbs becoming obsolete, regardless of how much growth and demand there is for TOD. We've made huge investments in rail already, and we're far from filling our shoes when it comes to our existing lines. I mean, the latter portion of the red line goes through barren plains... Let's wait for transit-oriented development to catch up, but not neglect every other type of development in the meantime.

Quote:
The fact that you think transit in Utah was "just fine" when it was bus only pretty much destroys any credibility you might have had in this discussion. You cannot simultaneously claim that nobody rides transit AND that transit is "just fine". Half of what you claim is mutually exclusive with the other half. One thing you say proves another thing you've said wrong. The logical inconsistency is astounding.
Um.. I don't care what credibility I have in your eyes, because you don't seem to know anything substantial about our transit system or the Wasatch Front. I never said nobody rides transit. Re-read my post. I said commuter buses are packed. Commuter rail is not, though, and ridership has failed to meet projections. Buses on the other hand met demand, had more frequent and more extensive routes, and didn't cost tens of thousands of dollars per rider.

Quote:
Everybody thinks they are a reasonable moderate, but you sir are an extremist, willing to say anything you can think up in support of a pre-determined and biased opinion that you are convinced is reality. If moderation is something you intend to strive for, then you need to take a good long look in the mirror.
You're an extremist too, pal. Your argument is almost entirely ideological, and it seems as though you're looking at all of this in black and white. I'm not insinuating that I'm moderate... I don't know where you're getting these ideas. I'm taking a hardline against this and I know it's an unpopular stance. I don't know by what sense of the word that could be considered "moderate." But you're being totally unfair in trying to read my mind. I was very supportive of light rail when it was introduced to Salt Lake. My opinion evolved after FrontRunner was completed and turned out to be a really expensive flop, and the decision was made to spend hundreds of millions on a 3-stop light rail expansion into a wealthy, auto-dependent suburb. From there I adopted the stance that future development needed to be held to a stricter standard.
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  #4264  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 8:22 PM
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Before people start further flaming each other with numbers and costs I'm going to repost my UTA building cost findings which involved hours of research.



It looks like UTA's LRT, CR, BRT, and Streetcar projects put the Wasatch Front Metropolitan Area (2.2 million people) at about $3.5 billion in transit investments since 1997.


Lines Under Construction and Prices Will Likely Come in Lower

Sugar House Streetcar - Distance: 2 miles, Cost: 55.5 million
Airport Line LRT - Distance: 6 miles, Cost: 290 million
Draper Line LRT - Distance: 3.8 miles, Cost: 206 million
FrontRunner South CR - Distance 44 miles, Cost: 850 million

Total: $1,401,000,000

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Completed Lines


Mid-Jordan Line LRT - Distance: 10.6 miles, Cost: 535 million
West Valley Line LRT - Distance: 5.1 miles, Cost: 370 million
Magna BRT - Distance: 1 mile, Cost: 8 million
FrontRunner North CR - Distance 38.15 miles, Cost: 611 million
Intermodel Hub Extension LRT - Distance 0.9 miles, Cost: unknown to me (probably slightly under 50 million).
Medical Center Extension LRT - Distance 1.5 miles, Cost: 89.4 million
University Line LRT - Distance 2.54 miles, Cost 118 million
Original Main Street Line LRT - Distance 15 miles, Cost 312 million

Total: $2,093,400,000
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  #4265  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 8:38 PM
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I totally sympathize with John's points about putting mass transit energy into very lightly zoned areas as has Cirrus in other posts concerning the same thing going on with parts of FasTracks.

I only think it's lame if people claim to be really upset about how money is spent and disproportionally attack infrastructure (especially mass transit) over trillion dollar wars in the Middle East, an American Anti-Soviet sized military in a post Soviet World, Social Security / Medicare, NASA spending, etc.

If the complainers of pork and publicly voted for bonds want to scale their political involvement to proportionally attack infrastructure investments against these other spending elephants in the room, I would be willing to take them more seriously.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, the whole infrastructure wastes money concern is basically a symbolic gesture that distracts people from where we actually bleed all our money. So I don't vote for people who bring up the infrastructure spending concern because they must not be focused on the fixing the real spending problems.

Last edited by s.p.hansen; Apr 9, 2012 at 9:11 PM.
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  #4266  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 8:43 PM
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And on a final note, let's consider this.

Our massive freeway reboot which has coincided with our transit reboot both have the projected high usage dates of 2030 - 2040 (the Wasatch Front metro is growing much faster than other metros).

We voted for our mass transit improvements as a metro and built them cheaper and faster than most metros and did it during bad times for Utah's / the USA's economy. If this really pisses some people off, they're probably easily pissed off.

Last edited by s.p.hansen; Apr 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM.
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  #4267  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 9:41 PM
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Sorry Cirrus, it's difficult for some of these people to think outside of the box.
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  #4268  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 9:47 PM
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Sorry Cirrus, it's difficult for some of these people to think outside of the box.
There you go again (passive aggressive kitty uses the move scratch).

Last edited by s.p.hansen; Apr 9, 2012 at 10:12 PM.
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  #4269  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by John Martin View Post
I know the demand is there, because suburban communities are growing steadily all over the south and west sides of the SL valley. That's why MVC and all these other road projects are being built. The road system is being expanded to accommodate growth. Surely you're not suggesting that all our roads can just be replaced with streetcars, light rail, and commuter rail.
Are these communities really growing (babies don't count), or is only the amount of infrastructure growing in anticipation of the Mountain View Corridor being built?

Also, all our roads could be replaced with streetcars, light-rail, and commuter rail, if we really wanted to, but that is not what Cirrus was suggesting. It doesn't have to be either or. What we should be striving for is more "complete streets." Furthermore, I think what most people are asking for is that the different types of transportation receive an equal amount of funding.
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  #4270  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 10:57 PM
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I do think UTA is going through some growing pains right now. The fixed cost of Frontrunner/Trax is sucking up so much of the limited dollars that they are having to cut bus routes and frequencies in less urban areas.

The example I see is my own. I bought a house in Riverton very close to Redwood Road and soon found that they were cutting all the routes around my area. They added a flex route that went to the Sandy TRAX after a loop around the city. They then modified it to take me to the end of the Red line in Daybreak. They then got rid of some of the express buses causing many I knew to get back in their cars.

I know this is an isolated example but I imagine Utah County is about to get sliced up with Frontrunner needing to be funded.
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  #4271  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billbillbillbill View Post
I do think UTA is going through some growing pains right now. The fixed cost of Frontrunner/Trax is sucking up so much of the limited dollars that they are having to cut bus routes and frequencies in less urban areas.

The example I see is my own. I bought a house in Riverton very close to Redwood Road and soon found that they were cutting all the routes around my area. They added a flex route that went to the Sandy TRAX after a loop around the city. They then modified it to take me to the end of the Red line in Daybreak. They then got rid of some of the express buses causing many I knew to get back in their cars.

I know this is an isolated example but I imagine Utah County is about to get sliced up with Frontrunner needing to be funded.

That's the rub with new transit projects. You don't feel the pain during their construction like you do with freeways, instead you get readjustment pains after they open. With most of these new UTA projects opening in late 2012, all I can say is God help us all.
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  #4272  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 11:55 PM
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Saying FrontRunner is a flop and failure is inaccurate. Saying it failed to meet projections is also inaccurate. It's garnering 5900 riders per day.

Is that on the very low end of the projection? Yes. Is that disappointing? Yes. But that's absolutely not a failure.

Keep in mind that in its infancy FrontRunner attracted 7900 riders. But then a freeway was built that more or less parallels FrontRunner. Compound that with the steep drop in gas prices at the end of 2008... Well, of course ridership dropped.

Oh, and this: On Thursday, I was returning from Ogden on FrontRunner. At 1 pm. Yeah, the train was full. There weren't many people on the trip there at 11, but it was full going back. At mid-day. That is not a failure.

And I firmly maintain that spending all this money today for systems that will not attract stellar ridership for years is smart. Just as building roads that won't be heavily used for years is smart (Southern Parkway in St. George, anyone?).
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  #4273  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2012, 12:47 AM
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All investment in mass transit- including the Frontrunner- is not only wise, it is imperative. The whole of the Wasatch Front is land locked, and damn near at space capacity. Soon, the growth will be limited to increasing density. Sure, there will be some who still buy the track houses on the other side of Utah lake and whatever other suburb that springs up, and those people are choosing to sit in traffic for hours of their day. But for those who chose to live in the cities with existing amenities and community centers already established, the option of mass transit will easily be the best choice, and ridership will soar. This is inevitable. I know Salt Lake is a far cry from NY, but they are comparable in the limits of their space, and in NYC there will be no more highways. And owning a car is impractical.
I live in downtown Salt Lake. I rarely have need to venture outside of the city proper, which is great, and within the city, I find the transit system very preferable to driving. Trax is always utilized. There were people screaming against it when the idea of building light rail was presented little over a decade ago. Now all my friends and colleagues (knowing I'm such an urban planning nerd) ask me frequently when the airport line or the sugarhouse line will be available. They can't wait, knowing how much they will use it.
I too have been on Front Runner at times when it's loaded with people. It's ridership will increase, and in ten years or so, I believe people will look at Salt Lake's preemptive solution to the problem of commuting to and from Davis and Utah counties and will applaud it.
Gas prices are on the rise again, and I'm pretty sure the days of $2 a gallon will never return. Available space is shrinking, people are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, and also realizing that driving everywhere is a shitty lifestyle. Basically, the trend is shifting back to urban living. Not universally of course, but as the Wasatch Front grows, it will for all these reasons, urbanize, and then Mass Transit will be the best option, and in many cases, the only option. I'm very glad UTA foresees this and is trying to meet these rapidly approaching demands.

Last edited by scottharding; Apr 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM.
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  #4274  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2012, 4:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Future Mayor View Post
UTA currently owns right of way to roughly 800 S in Payson, that is the southern/Wal-Mart exit. The UP line that they own right of way on can be seen west of I-15 from roughly the old Sugar Factory in Spanish Fork all the way to 800 S in Payson. Immediately before the 800 S exit the right of way veers west and into what is the Payson TOD zone. Immediately after the TOD the tracks cross under the DRG line, a place called Red Bridge. UTA will need to negotiate the right of way purchase with DRG in order to eventually extend FrontRunner further south than Payson.
Thanks fr the reply.
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  #4275  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Yeah, I think we'll find that the airport line really is about 10 years late. It will have a huge impact on ridership, IMO.
Absolutely. I'm not sure why it wasn't in place for 2002. I mean, I know moneywise. But it should have opened before the Olympics came.
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  #4276  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2012, 3:00 PM
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Absolutely. I'm not sure why it wasn't in place for 2002. I mean, I know moneywise. But it should have opened before the Olympics came.
It will open before the games the 2022 games.
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  #4277  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2012, 3:34 PM
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It will open before the games the 2022 games.
Nice.
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  #4278  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 2:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Future Mayor View Post
UTA currently owns right of way to roughly 800 S in Payson, that is the southern/Wal-Mart exit. The UP line that they own right of way on can be seen west of I-15 from roughly the old Sugar Factory in Spanish Fork all the way to 800 S in Payson. Immediately before the 800 S exit the right of way veers west and into what is the Payson TOD zone. Immediately after the TOD the tracks cross under the DRG line, a place called Red Bridge. UTA will need to negotiate the right of way purchase with DRG in order to eventually extend FrontRunner further south than Payson.
As a resident of Spanish Fork that has inquired quite a bit about transit projects in the area, I have heard from a city council member that the proposed Spanish Fork station would be very close to the proposed Center Street I-15 exit (just north of the old Sugar Factory (two blocks from my house)). YEAH!

But, I've also been told that the 2700 North (Springville's 1600 S.) exit will be built before Center Street because of the compromise the city had to make with UDOT on the interchange rebuild. Since there is no more direct access from US-6 to north Main Street (an industrial park type area), UDOT agreed to rebuild the 2700 North bridge so they could later just add on/off ramps to complete an interchange. (the new bridge is wide enough to be four/five lanes) The Spanish Fork doesn't want heavy trucks on the more publicly used roads. Plus, Mapleton City is pushing for that exit because it will give their residents easier access to I-15.

Another FrontRunner location that has been talked about would be at 2700 North, east of I-15 it is Springville's 1600 South.
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  #4279  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2012, 4:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tygr View Post
As a resident of Spanish Fork that has inquired quite a bit about transit projects in the area, I have heard from a city council member that the proposed Spanish Fork station would be very close to the proposed Center Street I-15 exit (just north of the old Sugar Factory (two blocks from my house)). YEAH!

But, I've also been told that the 2700 North (Springville's 1600 S.) exit will be built before Center Street because of the compromise the city had to make with UDOT on the interchange rebuild. Since there is no more direct access from US-6 to north Main Street (an industrial park type area), UDOT agreed to rebuild the 2700 North bridge so they could later just add on/off ramps to complete an interchange. (the new bridge is wide enough to be four/five lanes) The Spanish Fork doesn't want heavy trucks on the more publicly used roads. Plus, Mapleton City is pushing for that exit because it will give their residents easier access to I-15.

Another FrontRunner location that has been talked about would be at 2700 North, east of I-15 it is Springville's 1600 South.
So on 2700 N there are two sets of tracks just East of the interchange you described. Does anyone know which set UTA is most likely to use for frontrunner? I can see advantages for both, but it appears based upon what FM indicated about UTA's right of way more South, it will be the second set (the one more East).
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  #4280  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2012, 3:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Neuroguy View Post
So on 2700 N there are two sets of tracks just East of the interchange you described. Does anyone know which set UTA is most likely to use for frontrunner? I can see advantages for both, but it appears based upon what FM indicated about UTA's right of way more South, it will be the second set (the one more East).
The "west" line (closer to I-15) is the active one that UP uses for freight. The "east" line is used as a holding area and might occasionally service some local businesses. That east one is the one that FrontRunner will use when it expands southward. They will have to do a flyover in/near the Provo rail yard to get to that line.

The crossing UP is currently rebuilding at Spanish Fork's Main St. in conjunction with I-15 CORE will be the FrontRunner line. From there, it basically parallels the west side of I-15 down into Payson.

The "west" (active) line crosses SF Main further north and is 1/2 mile further west out in Lake Shore and Benjamin as it heads south.

IMHO: I think they should put the station at Spanish Fork Center St. and have a possible future station closer to Springville's city center (400 S) rather than trying to service two cities with one, more inconveniently located station. There is room for TOD at both of these locations; especially to the west of both.
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