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Rocky spurs man’s 21-mile walk

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Paul Burnham walked from Kaysville to S.L. to find "common ground."

Paul Burnham walked from Kaysville to S.L. to find “common ground.”

Jay Dortzbach/KSL-TV 5

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson got an invitation to come to Davis County Friday.

There's just one condition: He has to walk.

Kaysville resident Paul Burnham delivered the invitation to Anderson's office after walking 21 miles from his suburban home.

"I would like to extend an honest invitation to you and your staff: Please come visit me in my home in Kaysville," Burnham said. "But only if you do the most environmentally conscionable thing: walk."

Burnham arose at 5 a.m. Friday and began his trek to City Hall in Salt Lake City. A few people brought him nourishment and encouragement along the way and by 11:30 a.m. he had reached the Mayor's Office.

As he chugged up Victory Road near the Utah State Capitol, the husband and father of two said he wasn't trying to embarrass anyone but was trying to "smooth things out a little bit and maybe find some common ground."

In Anderson's Jan. 11 State of the City speech, the mayor chided his "friends from the north" who clog traffic, foul the air and "make us sick simply because of the choices they make about where they live and how they get around."

The comments came as Anderson was lamenting Davis County's planned Legacy Parkway, which will cost an estimated $750 million for 14 miles of road. Anderson maintains more mass transit should be built first and says the highway will cause more people to want to drive and further pollute the Wasatch Font's air quality, which is often abysmal.

Burnham, who works in Kaysville, used to hold a job in Salt Lake City. Back then he would take the number 72 bus, which goes directly to Kaysville.

"I am disappointed more Davis County residents don't ride this bus into Salt Lake City," his letter read.

Burnham noted riding the bus is much cheaper than driving and can give a person an hour of free time each day to read, learn a new language or study.

"I agree with you that an additional roadway (specifically, the Legacy Parkway) will eventually lead to more drivers," Burnham wrote. "Not that the roadway will cause more growth, but it will create a convenience that may lead to more traffic. Indeed, it makes sense to build or augment the mass transit system first."

Still, Burnham said he thinks an alternate to I-15 needs to be built to provide for public safety and access if I-15 is ever shut down for an emergency.

When he arrived at the City-County Building downtown, Anderson wasn't there. The mayor was on a plane coming back from a conference on "smart growth" in Miami.

Burnham did get a welcome from Anderson's chief of staff, Sam Guevara, and spokeswoman Deeda Seed.

The pair made Burnham an honorary member of Salt Lake City Gets Fit Together, a program launched last year to encourage city employees to walk more.

"He walked the equivalent of 40,000 steps," Seed said. "I want him to personally replace me."

E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com