cycling utah July 1999

Letter to the Editor

A few months ago I wrote a letter to the editor of both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune about the Salt Lake Airport Authority's proposal to close 40th West between 300 and 1200 North to accommodate a new deicing area for a new terminal.

I have since received a copy of the June 1999 Centerline, which is the quarterly newsletter of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports detailing the plan and stating that the closure could occur as soon as November of 1999 or as late as May 2000.

I am concerned about this closure for several reasons.

First, is that myself and several other cyclists use 40th west from south Davis County coming from the north to access the bike route that leads to the International Center and on to the frontage road to the Great Salt Lake Beaches. This allows us to avoid most of the heavy truck traffic that travel on Redwood Road.

Second, closing the road eliminates a good training loop around the airport for cyclists from both Salt Lake and Davis Counties. I'm sure you are aware of the fact that there are very few good training rides around where you don't have to fight a lot of traffic. This loop using 40th west has been a good one for many years.

Third, is another south Davis County issue of using 40th west to commute to work by bicycle to the airport businesses south of the closure area on the airport (Federal Express, the Post Office, etc.). This also includes the businesses further south on 40th west just north of 21st south and the businesses in the International Center. With the closure of this section of 40th west we are restricted to Redwood Road and I-80.

Fourth, vehicle access to the airport will be greatly restricted in the event of an accident on either I-215 or I-80. With only one airport terminal access this could be a major problem, especially with the volume of traffic that now utilize these routes.

The reasons given for the closure are summed up by this quote: "Closing this road simplifies the airport road network, avoids construction of $35 million in bridge structures and enhances airfield operations, safety and security."

I would like to read their report justifying the safety and security aspects since many major airports have highways and freeways running through them. I believe the only issue is money. There will be a hearing in front of the Salt Lake City Council August 3 to address this issue. I think it would be prudent to get the word out to as many cyclists as possible to attend the hearing and hopefully kill this shortsighted proposal. The article in Centerline would lead you to believe it's already a done deal.

Charles J. Palmer

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