A streetcar named desire, or maybe named desperation? Talk of an Ogden streetcar project, which hasn’t publicly reared its head for more than a year, resurfaced courtesy of Mark Johnson, Junction City’s chief administrative officer, who said the city is still interested, but has many hurdles to overcome.
We can think of one big hurdle ... an estimated sticker price for a streetcar system of $160 million. With that price, desire for a streetcar can be red-hot, but it’s not going to happen. It’s time to sit down and find an alternative, non-streetcar solution that meets Junction City’s transportation needs.
It’s obvious that Ogden city needs a good mass transit route between its FrontRunner hubs and Weber State University. There is disagreement between the Ogden City Council and the Utah Department of Transportation over which street should serve as a path from downtown Ogden to Harrison. The council would prefer 25th Street; UDOT favors 36th Street. An agreement over the dueling routes can be worked out. Paying scores of millions for a streetcar system cannot.
A good solution that would not incur so much money is to have a Bus Rapid Transit system between Ogden’s downtown and the university. Currently, Ogden has basic bus service that starts at the transit hub and eventually uses 25th Street to get to Harrison Boulevard and the university and nearby places, including McKay-Dee Hospital.
Getting a better bus system, rapid transit, between downtown Ogden and the Weber State University area is the most reasonable, and fiscally prudent, solution. The Ogden City Council and UDOT need to get together and make that happen. It may have been a nice idea to have a streetcar running throughout the city. But the money isn’t there, and it should no longer be on the table, acting as a roadblock to actually solving this Top of Utah transportation need.