BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
NORTH SALT LAKE – UTA wants to make it easier for south Davis residents to get from here to there.
The organization has partnered with the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Bountiful City, North Salt Lake City and others to find future transit routes that will both meet residents’ needs and help improve local economies. The group will share the latest information on this Davis-SLC Community Connector Transit Study at an open house on Dec. 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at North Salt Lake City Hall.
“We want people here to be able to get places they’d like to more quickly,” said UTA Strategic Planner Brett Coulam at a meeting with the Bountiful Rotary. “We want to better understand your region and what your needs are.”
This is the second study UTA has done to determine local transit needs in the last few years, with the previous one concluding in 2010. Though that study chose a preferred route that was rejected by county residents, organizers of the current study say that residents’ opinions will be heavily factored into their route choice.
“A key aspect of this study is public involvement,” said Coulam. “We want to identify something that really resonates with people here.”
Another difference between this study and the previous one is that the current study focuses on the economic benefit transit can bring to an area.
The success of Station Park in Farmington has inspired other cities to look for opportunities to keep both shoppers and employees in town.
“This isn’t just about moving people around,” said Jaime R. White, a UTA project engineer involved with the study. “We’ve had cities say ‘We have a nice place, but we could make it nicer.’”
Though the study focuses on Bountiful and North Salt Lake, other cities such as Woods Cross, Centerville and Farmington are considered an “influence area.”
UTA officials have conducted focus group sessions with residents in both the focus and influence areas, identifying what locals are looking for in their public transportation needs.
According to Coulum, the three major needs residents expressed were more east/west public transit, increased frequency in transit services, and better connections to FrontRunner.
“We heard a lot of people say they love FrontRunner, but if you don’t have a car waiting for you at the stop it’s too hard to use,” he said.
Study organizers have currently identified five potential corridor routes that they consider most effective in meeting these needs.
Each route is broken up into south, central and north sections, with some routes differing in only one section. For example, two routes are very similar except for the fact that one travels along 500 West in Bountiful, while the other follows Main Street.
Maps of all five routes will be on display at the Dec. 11 open house. Organizers specified that the particular type of public transit planned for these routes wouldn’t be discussed until a route has been decided.
“We’re not talking modes at this point,” said Lori L. Labrum, a senior transportation engineer who is working with UTA on the study. “We’re only looking at potential corridors.”
• A transit study open house is set for Dec. 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the North Salt Lake City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.
• The five major route options will be discussed, along with east/west connector possibilities.