Image by Steven Vance via Flickr
Opposition reroutes UTA's corridor plan
While most of the media attention on this line has focused on the people up in Centerville, it looks as though there is also opposition down in Bountiful which would really benefit from this line, especially the small business owners.
Sadly the people that are forming the opposition seem to be confusing what exactly UTA is proposing here. Of course part of the problem is that there is only two modern streetcar systems in the United States so far, so many of them have not been exposed to what is being proposed.
In the article Cecilee Price-Huish calls the system light rail which is not being proposed here. I can understand her fear picturing the construction that takes place when a true light rail system is being built since that is the experience Utah has. However, while any construction is going to be disruptive for the construction period, construction for the Portland Streetcar in now way disrupted the area like its MAX light rail service.
In fact once construction has been completed, the local stores in the community would greatly benefit from the presence of a streetcar especially if marketed properly.
Having been a small business owner, and having a mother that was a retail business owner, I know the struggles that they go through. Having to compete with "government enhanced" competitors such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Cabela's, IKEA and so on, it is hard to compete. In addition like most of the United States, many small business owners carry too much debt and do not have an emergency fund to deal with construction plans.
However, having heads in the sand is not a solution to these problems. A trip to Portland to see the success that is along the streetcar system may open some eyes.
Of course this puts UTA between a rock and hard place. If they paid for people to travel to Portland to see the streetcar success they would get bashed for it, but of course none of these people will actually go check things out for themselves and if they did they would take their tunnel vision with them and not see the true success of the system.
Bountiful has an outstanding walkable downtown area, a streetcar would enhance the experience by creating the freedom of a new option to access the area.