SLC rolls out plan for downtown streetcars

Salt Lake City wants to make the dusty black-and-white picture books of downtown bound to life.

Mayor Ralph Becker imagines a 21st-century version of the city's old streetcars snaking through the capital's urban catacomb.

And, now, consultants hired by the city have four potential routes that -- depending on federal funding -- one day may make it possible to traverse the business district on wheels without a car.

"The administration sees it as a key element in catalyzing development in downtown," says Becker spokeswoman Lisa Harrison Smith. "It's definitely a high-level priority."

Subject to tweaks, the proposed alignments would zip streetcars from the Salt Lake Central transit station south to 900 South, east to 500 East and right through downtown's heart -- passing by the Salt Palace Convention Center and planned City Creek Center. The lines would be designed to swell ridership on the Utah Transit Authority bus and rail network and serve as a "circulator," ferrying people between downtown TRAX stations and the FrontRunner hub.

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