This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Karen Coon's family car broke down a month ago, so she is especially happy that the new Bingham Junction TRAX station is literally next door to her Midvale apartment.
She dropped off some cans of food in exchange for fare on the new Mid-Jordan TRAX extension during a preview day Wednesday. "I took the kids downtown for a field trip to visit their dad at work," she said. "He's been riding his bicycle to the main TRAX line in Murray, so he's happy for the new station, too."
The Coons were among thousands of families taking advantage of the "food for fare" offer to benefit the Utah Food Bank on Wednesday and who are looking forward to the permanent opening Sunday of the new Mid-Jordan and West Valley City extensions that will nearly double the TRAX system.
Several cities also used the preview day to ballyhoo some new development they say has been helped by the new TRAX extensions, or simply to celebrate the new trains. Among them were Midvale officials who gathered at the Bingham Junction station.
Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini who noted that Bingham Junction was the original name of Midvale looked over what was once known as the Midvale smelter slag site. It is turning into a vast development of apartments, offices and businesses in areas cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The TRAX station here will help," she said, noting it will attract more businesses because of a now-easier commute. She pointed to some subsidized housing nearby and said having TRAX so close will make it easier for low-income people to walk to the train to commute.
Ray Limb, Midvale's coordinator for development at the reclaimed slag site, said inexpensive housing there now could attract students at what was once considered the distant University of Utah. "They can hop on the train here and go directly to the university, maybe in just 20 minutes or a half-hour."
Some other communities taking advantage of the TRAX preview day to celebrate included the Daybreak community in South Jordan, which had face-painting, food and giveaways.
The West Jordan City Center station had fire trucks, police vehicles and other city information for new riders. Actors dressed as witches from Gardner Village led activities at the new Historic Gardner Station in West Jordan.
Utah Transit Authority spokesman Gerry Carpenter said UTA would not have a final rider count for a day or so nor know how much food it collected for the Utah Food Bank.
"But trains were pretty full. It seemed like the farther you were away from existing TRAX lines at the end of the new lines where riding TRAX is new and a novelty the busier the stations were. We had full food collection bins at the Daybreak and West Valley Center stations" at the end of the lines, he said.
No passengers will now be allowed on the new lines until they officially open for business on Sunday.