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Locals divided on Sugar House Streetcar path

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-17 19:39:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY - There's a battle brewing over where the Sugar House Streetcar route should go. 11th East or 21st South? Two groups are divided and are making sure their voices are heard.

The two groups are local businesses along 1100 East and Westminster College students. Salt Lake City, however, was given the recommendation to construct the streetcar route along 1100 East, but not every Council Member is on board with that.

There was a small group of protesters who held signs, speaking out against a proposal to construct a streetcar route down 1100 East in Sugar House Wednesday afternoon.

"The reason why we're against it on 11th east is because of how busy it is on 11th as it is, and the streetcar stops at every other block and it's a very narrow street, this is a walkable district," says Eliza James who owns Boxing for Girls.

However Westminster students are against the streetcar route being built along 2100 South.

"Our thought with going up 21st is it will connect to neighborhoods instead of really promoting the shopping and really boosting the businesses so that's why we're more for 11th East," says Brandon Lloyd, who is a student at Westminster College.

The streetcar line from 1100 East would take riders from 2100 South to 1700 South, which would connect them to Westminster College and potentially the University of Utah as a part of a bigger project. The alternative would head east from 2100 South to 1700 East, which Councilman Soren Simenson says would someday connect riders to Sugarhouse Park and Highland High School.

"As I've listened to the community I've come to the conclusion that bringing it east is a better connection to make right now," says Simonsen.

Local businesses say their bottom line would take a huge hit if there's construction along 1100 East but DJ Baxter, who is the Executive Director of the redevelopment agency, says they conducted a two-year study that showed more people are in favor of that route.

"We conducted a very robust public engagement process where people had numerous opportunities to look at these options and provide us with their feedback and there was a preference for going north in that part of the process as well," says Baxter.

The redevelopment agency says their study found that 50 percent of people who took part in their public workshops were in favor of the streetcar being built along 1100 East versus the 35 percent who are for the route along 2100 South.

There will be a public hearing at next Tuesday's City Council meeting at 7 p.m. for people who want to voice their concerns.

For more on the Sugar House Streetcar line, visit www.letsrideuta.com.

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Where will the Sugar House Streetcar line end?
Sugar House streetcar project moves forward