The Chronicle’s View: A new beginning with TRAX

Today, after all the hoopla, the stipulations and the tests, the new U Medical Center TRAX extension opens for community use.

The effects of having the line available have the potential to affect almost all U students.

With high usage, the system could help eliminate some of the parking tension that plagues the U campus. If even a small percentage of U students that normally commute to school and park in the overcrowded lots utilized TRAX instead, the traffic and parking flow on campus would benefit dramatically.

U students now finally have a direct connection between upper campus and downtown. With the opening of the Medical Center, Wasatch Drive and South Campus Drive stops, students without cars are no longer confined to the campus, as a trip downtown can easily be made during time off between classes.

The locations of the stops have been thought out well, too. The system’s designers chose to put TRAX in the areas of high traffic that will benefit the most from increased transportation capacity. And, with a UCard, students can ride for free-a major plus for those strapped for cash.

But there are dangers associated with the line opening. As has been reported in The Chronicle, the potential for catastrophe is present with the train lines running through parts of campus that traditionally have high foot traffic. Students need to be aware of the lines and adapt their daily walking and driving patterns to maintain a safe commuter environment on the U campus.

Ultimately, though, what the TRAX opening boils down to is an issue of responsibility. Students have a responsibility to maintain their own safety to help ensure the success of what should inevitably prove to be a positive addition to campus life.

TRAX has the potential to be an incredible asset to the U, but the success of the system depends on vigilant members of the U community. There is really no reason why TRAX should fail. There really is no reason for U students not to embrace the system.

The stop locations are prime, it’s available at peak times, it’s safe and cost efficient. Depending on which area of the Salt Lake area a student comes from, riding the train may be less time effective than for others. Nonetheless, the benefits outweigh any negative aspects. Some individuals just need to adjust to the hour-long commute from Sandy, for example.

But it’s not like the highways are much better in the mornings anyway.

Students have the power to make TRAX a welcomed and useful addition to the U campus or to make it a pointless hazard.