Short takes on the news
UTA ridership down • When the Utah Transit Authority rolled out two significant extensions of its system over the past few months, people had every expectation that ridership would go up. It didn't. Despite the opening of UTA's $850 million FrontRunner line to Provo, and the $350 million TRAX extension to Salt Lake International Airport, ridership on the system over the first four months of 2013 was basically flat compared to the same period last year. And, as UTA Board Chairman Greg Hughes rightly points out, the same number of people riding a much larger system amounts to a loss. There are obvious problems. Despite all the space-age rail services now on offer, cutbacks in the old-fashioned bus system, coupled with higher fares, have conspired to keep the UTA system from reaching its full potential. Transit officials say they are on the case and hope to attract more paying customers soon. They'd better. Not only have they spent a ton of our money, the area's ever-more-threatening air-quality problems demand a transit system that draws maximum usage.
KCPW listenership served • It is a bold and somewhat risky step that Salt Lake City's "other" public radio station, KCPW, is taking by dropping its affiliation with National Public Radio and offering its listeners a largely new menu of programing. But station managers are correct that there isn't much point in being an alternative when so much of that station's lineup is the same as that aired by the larger, University of Utah-supported, KUER. Offering a real difference in programing should help attract more funding, from individuals and underwriters. The best news for local newshounds is that when KCPW changes its offerings on Monday, it will include more programing from what may be the best journalism outfit in the history of radio, the BBC. Even in the wake of recent cutbacks for the British Broadcasting Corporation, that global news service presents in-depth reporting and interviewers who challenge the views held all up and down the political spectrum. Listen in.
County planners correct • The Salt Lake County Planning Commission made the right call the other day when it told the folks behind the proposed Tavaci Development, a multi-use project that would be shoehorned into a small space at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, that the plan was a no-go. A project that includes too many units, rising too high into the sky, on a plot that lacks proper road access, is a bad idea for all concerned. The issue now moves to the Salt Lake County Council which, after a public hearing late next month, should reject the plan as well.