Recently, UTA announced its Long-Range Transit Plan (LTRP): UTA Moves 2050.
UTRU has reviewed the plan and has responded. We are releasing our thoughts on the plan based on geographic area over the course of this week – but if you just can’t wait, you can view the full response now by clicking here.
Our release schedule is:
Monday: Introduction to UTRU, UTRU’s opinion of the plan, and an Executive Summary
Tuesday: System Wide Review
Wednesday: Salt Lake County Review
Thursday: Utah County Review
Friday: Davis and Weber Counties Review
Today: Tooele, Box Elder, and Summit Counties Review
This response was approved by UTRU’s Board of Directors on October 17, 2023, and presented to UTA on October 30, 2023.
Tooele, Box Elder, and Summit Counties
- It is depressing to see just how underserved Tooele County currently is by UTA. There are more flights leaving the Salt Lake City International Airport to Phoenix every day than there are buses that leave downtown Salt Lake and go to Tooele.
For the average Tooele resident, it is extremely easy for someone to simply get stranded in Salt Lake – you miss the 5:40 PM leaving the Courthouse station? Well, that’s it, you better either find a ride or find a hotel, because you are stuck. It is for this reason we are very happy to see greatly increased service between Tooele and Salt Lake City that is slated to span from 4 AM to midnight and that connects directly to Salt Lake Central.
- It is disappointing that UTA failed to create any local fixed bus routes in Tooele County. If UTA can support one circulator route in Brigham City, surely UTA could create at least one route in Tooele and one or two extension routes to Stansbury Park and Grantsville. An Innovative Mobility Solutions Zone (IMSZ) could still serve as a supporting transit role, but in this case, it feels like UTA is punting on the issue.
- Though we do like the idea of a high-frequency high-service express route between Tooele and Salt Lake City, we feel that UTA is thinking too small regarding the needs of Tooele Counties citizens. Yes, connecting to Salt Lake Central will grant a connection to FrontRunner and the Blue Line, but this still poses an inconvenience for those who travel to the west and southwest portions of the Salt Lake Valley.
We think there should be an additional express route that takes advantage of existing BRT infrastructure along 3500 South and future BRT infrastructure from the Mid-Vally Connection and make an express route that starts in Tooele and ends in Murray Central via the airport.
This would give Tooele County residents more direct access to not only the airport itself, but both ends of the Green Line, the rough midpoints of the Blue and Red Lines, and a FrontRunner stop that is further south for those who might be headed in that direction anyway.
Box Elder County
- Currently, Brigham City doesn’t get much love – after all, for the majority of the day it has less than hourly service. To be fair, it is a bit far-flung from Ogden, being roughly 20 miles north as the crow flies.
That being said, as the Wasatch Front Metro Area continues to grow, so too will the transit needs of these exurbs. That is why we are happy to see the addition of limited express service to Brigham City via Pleasant View without the elimination of existing service. Our only real complaint, which we discussed in the Weber County section of our review, is that, though the route stops at Pleasant View, they don’t extend FrontRunner to Pleasant View despite the infrastructure already existing.
With the addition of this proposed express route, it seems more likely, not less, that a reopened Pleasant View Station would be utilized as residents of both Brigham City (and, by extension, Logan) gain greater and more immediate access to the transit network.
- Given the geographic area and relatively low density, we do feel that the single flex route within Brigham City and the standard route between Brigham City and Ogden is an adequate level of fixed route coverage, so the added IMSZ service is a good supplemental addition to the area.
- We are disappointed to see that there is no attempt to connect UTA with the Cache Valley Transit District, which serves Logan and its outlying communities.
We have heard anecdotally from our members of a desire to connect the two networks, and it makes sense as the micropolitan Cache Valley has several economic and social connections to the Wasatch front.
We suspect that 4-8 runs between CVTD’s Central Stop and Ogden Station via Brigham City would be supported because, unlike a Tooele to Salt Lake run, the distance is just far enough as to where more “destination” trips become likely (i.e. trips to the Salt Lake International Airport or stay in Provo to visit friends and family), so high frequency isn’t as necessary. If, of course, more runs prove fruitful, increasing the number of runs should be explored as well.
- If statewide passenger service becomes a reality, we would love to see FrontRunner take advantage of more local stops between Ogden and Logan via Brigham City and Tremonton. Yes, this might be better suited for the 2100 plan than the 2050 plan, but we can always dream.
- With the Park City Connect route being shuttered by UTA last winter, it is understandable that UTA is not including routes up Parley’s Canyon in the 2050 Plan – and it is not so much that we expected to see service, but we were hopeful. Our biggest request is that UTA and High Valley Transit continue to work together to help ensure the success of the state’s only inter-agency route.
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