FARMINGTON - Streetcars probably won’t be coming to Davis County, but UTA hopes that a lot more busses will.
The Davis County Commission officially adopted bus rapid transit as the locally preferred alternative for public transportation expansion in south Davis. The information comes from UTA’s Davis-Salt Lake Community Connector Transit Study, which also determined that local residents need more public transportation options to downtown Salt Lake and the University of Utah.
“Our long range transportation plan is to improve service on Davis County’s east side,” said Hal Johnson, manager of project development and systems planning for UTA. “A lot of people from Davis County are going to work and recreational activities in Salt Lake, and a lot of students from Davis County are going to the U.”
Though no rail lines are used, bus rapid transit often includes a dedicated lane for busses along the route and stations in the center of the road to avoid curb-side delays. Platforms would also likely be raised to bus height, and busses would likely get priority at intersections.
Johnson said that the preferred route for those busses would start on Main Street in Bountiful, connect to Highway 89, then continue to 400 West in Salt Lake. They would then head up to the University of Utah along 200 South. The route would also connect to the Woods Cross FrontRunner station.
“It takes awhile for people to get to FrontRunner,” said Johnson. “It will be much quicker with the new project.”
According to County Commissioner Bret Millburn, that connection is one of the reasons the council approved the route.
“What’s nice about it is the enhanced opportunities for east-west travel,” he said, adding that the commission would like to see more projects from UTA. “For quite some time, I think we’ve all identified that transit improvements could be made to Davis County as a whole.”
UTA officials will also present the route to the North Salt Lake and Bountiful City Councils for their approval. After that point, UTA hopes to move ahead into the environmental process for the project.
“We’ll go into a little more detail on the study, and a lot more detail on the engineering and design,” said Johnson. “We’d know within inches where everything would be.”
Before that can happen, however, UTA needs to raise the funding needed to begin the process.
“We’ll be working with our stakeholders,” said Johnson.
Though he estimates that it will be at least a few more years before the project begins to have an impact on South Davis residents, Millburn can see the potential benefits.
“Some of the key elements we’re looking for are ways to increase mobility, connectivity and transportation choices,” he said, adding improving the county’s environment and economic opportunities to the list. “Transit has the opportunity of helping out in a number of different areas.”