The Legacy Parkway vs. park and find another way

By Mike Bednarz and Andrew Kirk


Rocky Anderson continues to piss off elements of Davis County, but I’m with the mayor.

Long a pariah for jointly suing the state in its failure to project environmental impact on the proposed Legacy Highway, Anderson angered our neighbors up north with comments in the State of the City speech last Tuesday.

In one of Anderson’s more controversial quips, the mayor said that he welcomes Davis residents to Salt Lake City, but “We just don’t want them to increase our city’s traffic, further foul our air, undermine the quality of our lives and make us sick simply because of the choices they make about where they live and how they get around.”

Predictably, Davis County officials responded with outrage. Davis County Commissioner Alan Hansen pointed out that Salt Lake County has double the cars of Davis and Weber. Hansen implied in a letter to Anderson that Salt Lake drivers are the cause of our own poor air quality.

This misses the point. Anderson wants to avoid the quick-fix mentality that’s guided us until now.

Rocky Anderson believes another road can’t help us, and he’s right.


It doesn’t matter if he’s right or wrong. The problem is Rocky has his cranium inserted up his anal cavity most of his waking hours.

He knows Davis County boosts Salt Lake City’s economy. He just hates the D.C. because its population is predominantly Mormon. If you have a more logical explanation, I’m dying to hear it.

I agree the leaders of my county have a quick-fix mentality that is damaging to the environment. Rocky’s lawsuit to stop the highway, however, was comparable to a kid on a playground stabbing the kickball because he doesn’t think the teams are fair.

Flashing his ACLU card and roping in his “Drain Lake Powell” Sierra Club friends really solved the problem, right? The fact is, Davis County is growing (like the rest of Utah) and we’re going to need more roads. I’d prefer a commuter train to relieve the congestion but we’re going to need that road as well.


Davis County’s problem is a massive and shortsighted lifestyle choice. As the Ogden Standard-Examiner noted while criticizing Rocky last week, many people moved north to avoid paying higher housing prices in Salt Lake City, and many of these people continue commuting south to Salt Lake City’s more plentiful jobs.

By committing themselves to living north and driving 30 miles every day, these commuters condemn the air quality. Such behavior should be discouraged. The newly renamed Legacy Parkway subsidizes suburban sprawl.

Currently, traffic on Interstate 15 puts a supply-and-demand check on sprawl. One is less likely to move north if gridlock persists every morning. This puts a lid on drivers for now. Obviously this isn’t a long-term solution, but the current situation should be remedied in ways that don’t pollute.

The Ogden commuter rail, which Davis strongly supported, is one such option. Other remedies include expanding I-15 to 10 lanes, including a carpool lane. A second highway may need to be built, but public transportation should be expanded first. Otherwise we will quickly compound the problem with cars before residents can get used to alternatives.

With UDOT’s plan for the four-lane Legacy Parkway, a car- commuter lifestyle becomes more attractive, ensuring more cars drive back and forth every day. Furthermore, without carpool lanes on either I-15 or Legacy, Davis residents will have no incentive to abandon single-occupant commutes.

This means more drivers, more long commutes, and more urban sprawl, but there’s more at stake than ugly houses and big-box retailers. Sprawl in this metropolitan area is literally lethal.

As Anderson pointed out, “those who, through their public policy decisions, support and accommodate greater dependence on the automobile are directly accountable for our poor air… and the deterioration in the quality of life that accompanies the increase in miles traveled in single-occupant automobiles.”

More roadways are not the solution. If road construction helped traffic, highway-saturated L.A. would have the least congested expressways on earth. Instead, these highways induce short-term thinking and insatiable congestion. The building cycle should stop immediately.


A commuter train from Ogden is a great idea, but will take years to build. Letting us sit in gridlock to punish us for moving north is really easy for you to say, since Salt Lake City’s freeway renovations were completed for the Olympics.

Yes, the real problem is urban sprawl and too heavy a reliance on automobiles. But you kwnow what? None of us enjoy the hour of our lives lost every day in the commute. There’s nothing “attractive” about a commuter lifestyle.

But one lives where they can afford a home and they work where they get a job. If Rocky doesn’t like that affordable housing is up north and the jobs are down south, why doesn’t he blame the community developers who built the cheap houses 30 minutes from the good jobs? He wants to punish the little guy for Utah’s poor growth plan? What a crusader for the people!

If he wants us to stay in Davis County, why isn’t he pushing for more economic development there? This is because he likes our patronage in his city. He’s just an egotistical “Master of the House” who flashes an inviting smile while hissing insults through his stained teeth.

You want the truth? I’ll give you the truth. Because our politicians have not planned well, the urban sprawl has already occurred. Houses are currently being built on the beautiful marshland the environmentalists wanted to protect with the lawsuit.

Because UDOT has to provide an alternative habitat for the flora and fauna bulldozed by the highway in Davis County, it is creating a wilderness reserve on ALL of the land west of the highway. Thanks to Rocky pissing everybody off instead of promoting alternative solutions, the highway is now the ONLY way to stop the urban sprawl. No highway, no UDOT wildlife preserve.

Let’s keep working on alternative transportation solutions for the area and hoping for better Davis County leadership. But the community needs the Legacy Parkway now.

Rocky knows this; he just has more fun acting like a fifth grader.

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