High in the hills of southeast Provo lies a subdivision that never was.
Located near the Bonneville Shoreline trailhead, Sunridge Hills apparently would have been some sort of housing development if it hadn’t stalled before it got off the ground. As it is, however, the sign in the picture below announces nothing more than itself.
In fairness, this road does connect actual neighborhoods to the city. However, the road appears to be far larger than needed, perhaps in anticipation of the development that never was.
I know little about this failed project. However, a couple of things are apparent just from looking around for a few minutes:
1. There’s a good chance this would have been poorly executed sprawl. Based on the surrounding houses, as well as the location of this development on the outskirts of the city, it seems likely that Sunridge Hills was destined to have inexpensively constructed low density housing. That’s just a supposition, of course, but it seems reasonable, and unfortunate.
2. Most significantly, this project is made possible by government subsidies in the form of the road. It’s frustrating to think of taxpayer money needlessly going into the pocketbook of any private developer, but it’s even more alarming to see it happen on a failed project. In other words, every government project involves allocating resources. Allocating resources for this road benefits fewer people than similar allocations in denser areas. It’s less bang for the tax payers’ buck, and the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the road is designed to service homes that were never even built.
3. The recession may have stalled this sort of development, but unless cities change their attitudes about spending, roads, and development, it’s likely to resume someday. If and when that happens, tax payer money will continue to be used for underperforming projects that benefit fewer people than they should.