UTA starts construction on newest TRAX station
Business has been good for Ben and Margaret Yee, owners of the Jade Cafe, for a long time: 51 years.
It's about to get even better.
The Utah Transit Authority on Thursday officially kicked off the construction of a new TRAX light-rail station at 900 South and 200 West.
"We've waited a long time for this," says Margaret Yee, whose business is located less than half a block away. "We foresee a big development in this area and it will be so convenient for the local community."
A combination of the new stop and projected growth promises to add 130,000 new riders to TRAX per year once the station is complete, according to UTA.
The $1.2 million station is slated for completion in early September - the first station to be built since the light rail system opened in 1999.
The project is funded through the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City.
UTA General Manager John Inglish said the station will increase TRAX ridership but will add less than two minutes to commute time.
"This station signals the improvement of mass transit in Utah," said Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. "I am thrilled at the partnership with the RDA and UTA, which shows the tenacity of so many people."
Anderson said the new station will be a boon to the neighborhood, and will help Salt Lake City to get away from sprawl development.
The mayor predicted the area will sprout new businesses and housing.
Because of its location, which sits across from homes and near apartment and business complexes, there will be no park and ride lot. Some residents have criticized the omission, worrying that rail users will park along the street and near their homes.
"It's our primary concern," said Bruce Johnson, who lives near the station site. However, he said the excitement of a TRAX station far outweighs any concerns.
"We're being told that our property values will increase, and that there'll be a lot of development that will happen here," he said.
Marble and glass etchings will adorn the station that will carry a theme of "community ownership," which designers hope will discourage vandalism, said Dan Cummings, whose business, Spectrum Studios, will be doing the artwork, along with String Beads and Glass Fire Studio. "We want people to feel that this is their station," he said. Cummings has also done etch work at the 500 South (Courthouse) and 1300 South (Ballpark) stations.
There will be some night construction on the station, Inglish said, but added, "the end result will be well worth while."
"It will definitely be a plus for the area, if not now then in the future," said business owner Mohammad Sarfraz.