Monday, December 17, 2012


#1 To see the future now

FrontRunner is the future.  Trains are the future.  Transit is the future!  Why do I say this?

In an opinion piece written to the Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month, two consultants who worked on the FrontRunner South project said this:

". . .the real beneficiaries of FrontRunner South will be those who follow us. In 30 years, the Wasatch Front population is projected to increase by more than 1.3 million people.

"A rail transit line is permanent infrastructure that can accommodate dramatic ridership growth at modest cost. Unlike highways that must regularly be widened and rebuilt to boost capacity, rail transit can meet higher demand by adding more cars and increasing train frequency. Our children and grandchildren will enjoy the fruits of today's hard work and investment."

 What does this mean?  It means that a train line can double or triple its capacity without significant infrastructure investment, unlike a freeway, which must be remade periodically to meet growing traffic demands.  It means that twice or three times the amount of people can be transported to and through downtown Salt Lake City, or downtown anywhere else, without materially increasing the number of parking spaces.  It means businesses like, oh, Adobe, can establish major centers (the current building is supposed to be the first of seven) near train stations without clogging the roads of nearby freeways and neighborhoods and filling the air with noise and smog.

Utah has weathered the recession very well.  We've made some dramatic gains in the past few years where others are simply trying to cut their losses.  There's no reason we can't continue to grow and develop for years to come.  As we grow and develop for years to come, there will come a point where we simply run out of room for more cars.  The people who would rather die than not take their cars to work will die, rather than not take their cars to work, but everyone else will have to find other ways to get to work, or school, or dinner, or whatever.  And that's when transit will really get cooking.  It's cooking now, but you haven't seen the half of it yet.  As transit becomes a more viable option for more people, it will move out of the fringe of our society and into the mainstream.  It will better and better serve the communities it connects.  And I'm excited to be there when it happens.

And you can see the beginning of it all today, if you ride FrontRunner.

See you there.

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