NORTH SALT LAKE - South Davis residents may not agree on whether Bus Rapid Transit or enhanced bus service would be the best to connect local riders to Salt Lake City, but many applaud Utah Transit Authority for recognizing the need to improve bus service between the counties.
“Bus Rapid Transit is an excellent idea,” North Salt Lake resident James Keeler said at a UTA open house held last week. “We have a great need for rail service.”
Keeler appreciates that UTA is studying additional bus service leading into Salt Lake City.
The open house was a follow-up to one held in December for the Davis-Salt Lake City Community Connector Study, being conducted by UTA, Bountiful, North Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Davis County, the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Utah Department of Transportation.
The focus of the study is to better understand current and future transit needs of south Davis residents through 2040, according to the UTA website. Though the study focuses on Bountiful and North Salt Lake, other cities such as Woods Cross, Centerville and Farmington are considered an “influence area.”
Keeler believes the transportation agency should place a transit station in North Salt Lake because getting into Salt Lake City and beyond is difficult for many residents, with limited access to I-215 and Legacy.
“We have a lot (of people) here that work at BYU,” Keeler said, “and it would be helpful to get on the train here.”
After December’s public hearing, UTA eliminated five proposed corridors for the project, leaving two possibilities. Both will begin at 500 South in Bountiful and head south into Salt Lake City. One proposes a Bountiful Main Street route, the other would traverse 200 South.
Now, the decision will be between Bus Rapid transit and enhanced bus service.
Bus Rapid Transit is a light rail utilizing tracks, with a guide down the middle of the road.
Enhanced bus service is more of an express bus service with stations placed about one-half mile apart, according to UTA Strategic Planner Brett Coulam.
The enhanced bus would better serve the Five Points Development, he said, and seemed to be the more popular option among those favoring increased economic development in the area, he said.
The study is also looking at increased east-west public transportation, something North Salt Lake resident Elaine Bennion is glad to see.
She and her husband are building a home in Woods Cross. She believes an east-west option would provide a route to get into Bountiful, that is more “pedestrian friendly,.”
Bennion believes such a line and additional bus lines on U.S. 89 will bring more foot traffic into Bountiful.
The study should be finished by later this spring, but construction on whatever plans are chosen won’t happen for at least two years, after additional study and the Environmental Impact Statement are completed.