Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Protesting the West Davis Corridor

UDOT has proposed the Glover Lane option of the West Davis Corridor (WDC), and it seems to be the option they're taking most seriously right now.  They are planning on putting a new freeway that will run along the north of Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area.  The new freeway will run as close as .4 miles from the new education center; how do you educate children on the importance of wetlands from the shoulder of a freeway?  The freeway will also be within .2 miles of the public entrance to Farmington Bay, and will run between 400-500 ft of Glover Ponds on the the west end (this is where Farmington Bay's famous Heron rookery is).  The freeway is projected to have 22,0000-29,000 cars travel it on a daily basis. 

Farmington Bay is an 18,000 acre wildlife management area that was established in 1935.  There have been over 200 documented species on the management area, and hundreds of thousands of birds use it for nesting or as a stopping point on their annual migration.  Waterfowl numbers can exceed 200,000 ducks during peak migration.  Farmington Bay WMA is critical breeding habitat for thousands of ducks, terns, grebes, herons, egrets, ibis, and songbirds.  In addition to the breeding habitat that Farmington Bay provides, it provides critical wintering habitat for Bald Eagles, Rough-Legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Barn Owls and Short-eared Owls.  Putting a freeway along the north end of Farmington Bay will have detrimental effects on large numbers of birds along the Wasatch Front, and it could also affect the migratory patterns of many species. 

From an air quality standpoint, the WDC makes no sense.  Our local government is telling us that they're doing everything they can to clean up our air along the Wasatch Front, and they're pointing the finger at us, telling us to drive less.  How exactly is building another freeway promoting driving less?  With freeways come development, and the increased pollution will follow.  This freeway will not simply reroute existing traffic, it will encourage new traffic.  We don't need a new freeway.  UDOT should properly assess the threat of a doubling population, and work with UTA to sustainably address those transportation needs. 

On February 21, Bryce Bird, director of the Department of Air Quality, said that one of the keys to reduced pollution was "smart growth."  This new freeway isn't smart growth.  It's stupid growth that will have negative consequences on our air quality along the Wasatch Front. 

The protest of the WDC took place last Saturday, and it was a smashing success.  Around 200 people braved a near blizzard to come out and oppose the WDC.  Birders, hunters, equestrians, cyclists, joggers, and clean air activists all banded together to protest a freeway that makes no sense. 

Here are some pictures I took of the rally: 

A statement that accurately reflects the impacts this could have on wildlife

What an artist!

The educational benefits of Farmington Bay will be diminished with a nearby freeway

Great pictures

A budding artist and activist

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Carl! The coming West Davis Corridor is a serious challenge for those of us who want to keep living and breathing in this valley. I want to addthat land use is a major factor when considering road building. Highways induce auto-dependent development that will only induce private car travel and poor land use management. It's easy for UDOT to get support from residents who want to shorten their commute but I think we should be encouraging residents to think long term about what this highway will inevitably do to the character and quality of west Davis county.