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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Coming Soon: TRAX

One of the main principles of New Urbanism is the integration of mass transit into the community. In following this principle for Daybreak, Kennecott planned on a light rail line running through the town center. On all of the maps and brochures of Daybreak you can see the two future TRAX stations displayed prominently. The one word that always caught my eye on the map was "proposed." Not set in stone. Well it seems that this mass transit option will become a reality soon. UTA brought in the heavy-duty equipment to start building the line today. UTA projects that the project may be completed in the next three to five years. Will Daybreak be built out that far by then? The row homes and condos on the West side of Daybreak will be near the South station, but will the other villages North of that or the Town Center itself exist? Kennecott has a lot of building to do.

Kennecott did play a large role in encouraging the development of the TRAX line. They did it in classic Kennecott style: money and land. Kennecott donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the initial study of the line. Greasing the wheels of development never hurts. They did this with the Mountain View Corridor as well. What will this mean for Daybreak residents?

  • Peak hours travel time to downtown Salt Lake City: 46 minutes
  • A train will come to the station every 15 minutes
  • Direct connection with commuter rail for regional travel
  • Two huge parking lots: 600 spaces and 400 spaces for park and ride
  • Direct transit to fashion place mall, covey field, energy solutions arena, U of U stadium etc.
You can see that there will be some pros and cons to the whole picture, but with good planning I can see the benefits outweighing any downside. APTA (American Public Transportation Association) has conducted numerous studies alongside university researchers on the value that a light rail line brings to surrounding property. The studies all agree that properties in close proximity to a station increase in value. The stations also give a commercial boost to those retailers located within two blocks of a station. The biggest benefit of all: less people on the road.

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