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Layton rail-station site raises concerns

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LAYTON — FrontRunner commuter rail service begins Saturday and is expected to relieve the stress of driving to Salt Lake City for its passengers. However, some city officials fear the location of Layton's FrontRunner station could produce some new traffic headaches for those traveling to and from the station.

Located at the extreme south end of Layton's Main Street, the FrontRunner station is near the southbound ramp to I-15. Some Layton city staff have referred to this area as "the runway" in the past, in reference to the high speed of some drivers there.

"We may be dealing with some issues," Peter Matson, Layton city planner, said of the commuter rail station.

FrontRunner's other six stations, between Salt Lake City and Ogden, don't appear to have the potential traffic problems/congestion that the Layton station could have.

Even though the speed limit is 40 mph along Layton's south Main Street and in front of the station, some drivers accelerate early to access the freeway.

Layton will have 350 parking stalls available for FrontRunner users, split into a north and south lot, which do not connect directly by interior roads. About two-thirds of the stalls are in the north lot. That lot also has a connection to Gentile Street, but the south lot will have only Main Street access.

"Left turns won't be prohibited," at least initially, Matson said.

The biggest potential hazard may be for those who use the south lot of the Layton station and who have to cross the opposing lane of traffic amid speeding drivers headed for I-15.

Since Kaysville doesn't have its own rail station, many residents of that city will likely be using the Layton station.

Long freight trains on the Union Pacific tracks can clog rush-hour traffic in the south Main Street area, too. Such times would make parking or leaving the Layton FrontRunner station extra difficult.

Matson said when a new, full I-15 interchange is built in the area, such problems won't exist. In fact, he said the plan for adding parking spaces around the Layton station will then put them on the west side of the railroad tracks.

In the meantime, Layton officials will monitor any traffic problems around the station.

Matson said the FrontRunner trains themselves will pose little delay for motorists. Trains will be able to cross any one of Layton's five rail crossings in just 10 to 20 seconds and produce little backup.

He also expects that the FrontRunner station will generate some extra patrons for businesses in the south Main Street area of Layton.

However, only time will tell whether 350 parking spaces at the Layton station will be adequate.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com