The Desire Named Streetcar

On a perfect day, somewhere in the near future:

The streetcar departs the Intermodal hub, headed up 23rd Street past the Ogden Raptors stadium.  Cruising through the Junction, it drops off several passengers, coming to visit I-Fly and dinner at the famed Sonora Grill.  Heading south on Washington, the streetcar picks up some MarketStar & Ogden City employees and heads up 25th Street.  Making its way up the hill, it gathers several more riders at the Weber County Library, the new Jefferson Commons complex and Golden Hours Senior Center.  On both sides of 25th Street, historic homes line the path of the streetcar, dotting the landscape with these jewels of the past.  Ridership increases as the car heads up the majestic 25th Street route, lined with historic streetlights and trolley stops. At 25th & Quincy, many get off & on, frequenting the new Trader Joe’s & World Market complex at 24th & Monroe.  What once was a hollow shell of an old grocery now attracts visitors from the entire state with the magnetism of fresh foods, trendy accoutrements and practical additions to their homes.

Residents of the Trolley District and East Bench climb on the car at stops along Harrison, making their morning commute to schools, hospitals or down to the FrontRunner station to points beyond. Where residents were destined to sit at the lights at Harrison and travel only by car, the Central City now provides an integrated lifestyle to its fortunate residents. Historic homes have been purchased by the hundreds, converted back to original purposes and shine like pearls along the route and beyond. Restored to its former glory of being the Trolley District, as it was at the turn of the last century, the streetcar route can boast the scenery rivaled by few in the U.S.

 

The efficient, lovable streetcar continues to pick up and drop residents, employees, visitors and students all the way down Harrison Boulevard.  Formerly slated to be a seven lane highway, Harrison Boulevard has been converted into an iconic livable, walkable community.  Dotted with historic homes, complimented by the clever design of mixed-use retail and service businesses, Harrison is the ‘place to be’ in Weber County.  Large, unsightly old grocery stores have been transformed into desirable shopping havens, loaded with health food stores and special interest shopping venues.  Integrated with living space above, most residents of Harrison have dumped their cars for the option of Life on Streetcar Lines, cycling or walking most places.

 

Ending at the hubs of Weber State and McKay-Dee Hospital, students, professors, patients and hospital employees no longer have to fight for that coveted parking spot – as most patrons take the streetcar.  Businesses continue to flourish all along the route, helping Weber County to capitalize on the transit-oriented-development (TOD) that only “rails in the ground” can provide.  TOD since the streetcar went in a few years back has exploded, putting Ogden City on the map for a stellar planning example by the Utah Transit Authority and UDOT.  UTA’s foresight in selection of the most effective streetcar routing is admirable and attributed to the success of the project.  UDOT’s willingness to truly address the future – and decline of fossil fuel transportation – is to be commended.

So, I can dream, can’t I?  This scenario actually CAN happen for us in Weber County, as it has in Portland, Seattle, Tampa & Los Angeles.  With your support, your voices and your participation in the process, an amazing economic development tool awaits us.  This planning is happening right now, thanks to the involvement of our Ogden City Council.  Visit TrolleyDistrict.org to keep in touch with what is happening.  For questions about the streetcar, feel free to drop me an email at sue@alwaysogden.com.

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