Salt Lake Community College and Utah Transit Authority (UTA) are working to bring mass transit to the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Although still in the planning phase, the project would provide a connection from Front Runner to the college’s flagship campus by Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). It would only take riders 15 minutes to reach the school from Front Runner in Murray.
“UTA has been really good to work with. I mean, it’s been a partnership from the beginning,” says SLCC master planning coordinator Malin Francis. “We’re trying to see what we can do to make an equitable partnership in bringing more people in mass transits.”
Bus Rapid Transit is a shuttle bus with minimal stops, which provides a quicker, smoother commute than standard bus service
Planners at SLCC hope this new transportation project will cut down on parking conflicts within the campus parking lots.
There are a few hoops the partnership will need to jump through in order to get the project rolling, and funding for the project is only partially complete.
“The Legislature appropriated $4 million last year for the project,” says UTA representative Patti Garver. This amount of money is a fraction of what the cost is expected to be. “The total construction costs are around $25 million and then the vehicles to run [the route] are another $6 million.”
The federal government is not funding this project, which means UTA must look to state and local funds to fill the gaps. Until the money materializes, the project completion date is uncertain, but it is now tentatively set for December of 2015.
The Taylorsville Redwood mass transit project was first introduced in 2008. In the last decade, UTA has finished major mass transit projects including the Front Runner, which now runs from Ogden to Utah County.
Each proposed expansion is carefully reviewed according to the demand of riders in an area.
It is expected that many students would take advantage of the new expansion
In addition to reducing pollution and cutting back on gas usage, this project may eliminate some of the parking problems at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
“Parking has always been an issue on our campus and will always be an issue,” says Francis. “If we can accomplish this goal in reducing the number of cars on campus, I think it’s a great win. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
There are some who believe this project is a win-lose situation. People in a neighboring community on the south side of the Taylorsville Redwood Campus are upset by the new plans that would require a hub station for the BRT.
“The one thing we’re upset about is all the noise from the construction, the dust, the dirt, and our privacy is gone,” says Bowling Avenue resident Jeff Morgan.
Morgan has had conflicts with the college dating back to 1996, when he says SLCC promised Bowling Avenue residents a landscaped buffer along the south side of campus.
Seventeen years later, a buffer has yet to be installed. Many people living near the college would like some sort of compromise.
At an open house held at SLCC on Feb. 26, people in the community had an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter. UTA says it welcomes any concerns about the upcoming project.