FrontRunner versus Legacy

Legacy Parkway on a Sunday afternoon
With the opening of Legacy Parkway and FrontRunner now in service for a few months it is instructive to compare some numbers. Note that my rickety figures are approximate, if there is interest I will spend some time to produce more accurate numbers. However, there is such a large difference between both sets that the conclusions would still be the same.

Each project cost approximately the same amount to build. FrontRunner carries 7,800 passengers a day and Legacy Parkway around 30,000 vehicles a day. In addition, over 1,000 FrontRunner passengers previously rode buses. I don’t have any numbers for how many Legacy Parkway riders are in carpools.

FrontRunner made a slight dent in congestion by removing a small percentage of the traffic from the 140,000 daily car trips along I-15. Legacy Parkway cleared I-15 congestion on its first weekday in operation.

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Legacy Highway First Drive

Gateway to Legacy Parkway

First Drive

The day after the Legacy Highway opened we took our first drive along the 14 mile route. It was very impressive with a smooth ride and freeway style on ramps. Parallel to the road was a bicycle trail for the whole route. There were places especially to park your car if you wanted to walk, run, or ride your rickety bicycle. The two main entry points at the north and south were ample for even the largest traffic flow. Even the bridges had an artistic flavor.

It is really too bad that environmentalists held up construction for nine years. All that time during the commute I-15 traffic was slowed to a crawl, causing each vehicle to churn out much more pollution than at cruising speed. One wonders what the real agenda is of these selfish people. Well I guess that’s traffic under the bridge now.

Mighty fine looking bridges.
Impressive Footbridge

Impressions

On Sunday afternoon, the day we drove, there were a lot of cyclists using the trail. There were a few countryside aromas wafting around that I didn’t recognize. Even the smell from the sewer plant added to the sense of the outdoors and didn’t detract from our pastoral driving experience. That is, only if you’ve been inside much too long so that nothing could spoil your outdoor trip. One thing you will notice immediately is the absence of big rigs. This works well on a two lane road so that you are not blocked by one truck slowly overtaking another. The bridges didn’t look like they were designed to allow a third lane which is unfortunate because it won’t be too long before it will be needed. The drive works very well for Kaysville and Farmington residents that work at or near the airport. At the south end the highway spills out onto I-215 not far from L-3 Communications, a large local employer.

500 South Trailhead.
A lake by Legacy.

Legacy Parkway Details

With the fifth-fastest growing population in the country, Legacy Parkway will help address commuting needs by reducing congestion on I-15 by an estimated 30% during rush hour.

The Legacy Parkway Project was designed as a 14-mile stretch of four-lane highway to provide an alternate roadway for northern Utah commuters between Salt Lake City and Kaysville.

Legacy Parkway is the first of its kind in the United States and includes many unique elements:

  • Gateways to introduce motorists to the Parkway and surrounding communities
  • Meandering roadway instead of a traditional fixed, straight freeway design
  • Unique landscaping
  • Unusual structural design features including bridge monuments and barriers
  • Independent multi-use and equestrian trails alongside the Parkway
  • Blurs the boundary between the Parkway and community
  • Provides a pastoral driving experience

Legacy Parkway sign
On Sept. 21, 2005, Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the Utah Department of Transportation, the Sierra Club and Utahns for Better Transportation announced an agreement in principle to settle the Legacy Parkway case outside of court. The Agreement was approved by the Utah State Legislature on Nov. 9, 2005, and signed by the Governor on Nov. 14, 2005. Some provisions of the agreement include:

  • 125 acres of additional nature preserve near 500 South for future mitigation
  • 55 mph speed limit
  • Trucks with five or more axles or more than 80,000 lbs. cannot drive on Legacy except during emergencies on I-15
  • Parkway features to enhance the driving experience, the trail system and neighborhoods located adjacent to the Parkway
  • Quiet pavement to reduce traffic noise
  • Up to $2.5 million to study the possibility of Bus Rapid Transit / Light Rail Transit (BRT / LRT) in southern Davis County

The total budget approved by the legislature is $685 million.

The Legacy Parkway Northern Interchange was named the Wasatch Weave. Farmington residents Dawn Flynn and Kesley Clampitt won the naming competition.

The Legacy Nature Preserve is a 2,225-acre wildlife preserve on the southeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Established as environmental mitigation for the Legacy Parkway Project, the Preserve helps prevent encroachment of future development into this portion of the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem by restoring a mosaic of different wetland and upland habitats that are important for a myriad of wildlife species. This is especially critical when lake levels rise in the future.

Monday Update

My wife drove to work from Kaysville to I-215 on Legacy and found no slowdowns as is usually the situation on I-15. Driving home she took I-15 to run an errand. As she drove by the entrance to Legacy there was a road sign that had the approximate drive times to Farmington via Legacy and also I-15. Driving on I-15 at 5pm. she said there was no slowdown. Now that is a major improvement in drive times.

Bicyclers along the Legacy Parkway Trail.
Rickety signature.