Utah County hasn’t had commuter rail in decades but that’s about to change.
The tracks may be empty right now but in only a few months the FrontRunner train will go full speed ahead. The trains are able to carry 6,800 people, but there are some side effects.
UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter explains how they prepared for potential concerns, “When we started planning for this project we conducted some very in-depth environmental studies. We basically look at how will it affect traffic, how will it affect noise, pollution, all of the different aspects that can be affected when you’re introducing something new to your environment.”
Carpenter says mass transit helps eliminate traffic which could benefit Ashley Williams. She goes to Utah Valley University and makes the interstate trip everyday.
Williams says, “Driving to school can be a nightmare, parking can be horrible and it just takes me longer than is needed. So if I was able to take frontrunner it would eliminate the 40 minutes of driving around.”
Traffic could potentially improve on the interstate by people traveling on FrontRunner, but what about safety and the noise from the train?
“Quiet Zones” have been put into place to help with the noise around the residential homes near the FrontRunner tracks. It’s customary to have trains sound their horn when they’re coming to an intersection, but from the tracks that connect from Provo to Salt Lake City, that won’t be the case.
Flashing lights, gates and raised cement medians to prevent cars from passing have been put into place and will be working at all FrontRunner intersections.
When Ashley Williams returns to school in January, she and thousands of others will have the choice to drive or to take the train. As part of FrontRunner’s grand opening they plan to offer some free rides prior to their start up.
For more information about the FrontRunner project, visit their website at www.rideuta.com.