During a crowded open house Tuesday night, an overwhelming majority of residents opposed a plan to use a streetcar to connect southeast Davis County with Salt Lake City.

The open house's location, Centerville Junior High School, perfectly highlighted the opposition to a streetcar, said many.

"My concerns are the school zones," said Becky Money, of Centerville, adding her children have to walk across Main Street to get to school.

Although they will likely be done with classes there before the streetcar would even be built, nothing short of a skybridge for students seems safe enough, Money said.

Money also worries about a tax increase to fund the streetcar.

The transit line could cost between $411 million and $472 million, said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter.

A TRAX line, which was considered previously, would have cost up to $700 million. Carpenter said the next step would be to find funding for the line, which could be a mix of federal and local dollars.

The plan calls for rails to be built in the lanes that are shared with traffic along the narrow Main Street; where the road is wider, there would be a designated center streetcar lane.

Although buses might be cheaper, they don't draw as many riders, and creating a permanent rail line for a streetcar would help encourage economic development because builders can count on the route not changing, Carpenter said.

"The concept is to change the way people think about travel," he said, adding it can be used to go to Salt Lake City, or to move around within the nearby Davis cities.

It also serves a need not filled by FrontRunner, Carpenter added, which has two nearby stops, Farmington and 500 South in West Bountiful.

Folks wanting to move among cities could be more easily served by the 10 initial streetcar stops.

Bountiful resident Eric Fenton thinks streetcars would encourage more people to walk and shop at local businesses on Bountiful's Main Street.

"I think this is great option if you want to build up commerce," he said.

But Centerville resident and business owner Bruce Pitt said the subsequent construction, traffic and lack of street-side parking will hurt stores on his end of Main Street.

He's gathering a petition opposing the streetcars and other residents have formed centervilleagainstrail.blogspot.com/ .

mariav@sltrib.com

The Utah Transit Authority showed its proposal to install the street-car system along Main Street, beginning at Centerville's 100 North, then through Bountiful and North Salt Lake's Highway 89 route. It would take a small detour off Beck Street near the Staker-Parson's gravel pit, then travel down 400 West in Salt Lake City to connect with the TRAX line. A network of buses would be used to connect eastern and western areas to the streetcar, as well as the Farmington FrontRunner station.

UTA seeks comments until March 16; they can be sent to 1245 E. Brickyard Road Suite 400, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84106 or by e-mail to southdavistransit@hwlochner.com. More information on the streetcar plan is available at rideuta.com/projects/southdavistransitstudy.