Summer 2015 will be transit oriented

A Blue Line TRAX train waits at the Gallivan Station in downtown Salt Lake City.  Photo courtesy UTA.
A Blue Line TRAX train waits at the Gallivan Station in downtown Salt Lake City. Photo courtesy UTA.

Salt Lake City’s summer festival season officially kicked off over the weekend with the Urban Flea Market, Rose Park Community Festival and the 30th Annual Living Traditions Festival.  For residents, the City’s festivals are an opportunity to engage the community, celebrate the arts and culture and enjoy summer weather.  This year the festival season will also be an opportunity for residents to shape new transit options.

This summer, Salt Lake City will use the City’s summer festivals and weekly Twilight Concerts to reach out to residents, business owners and commuters to help shape the City’s mobility future by participating in the development of the first Salt Lake City Transit Master Plan.

“By 2040, we expect 40,000 new residents and 20,000 new employees in Salt Lake City,” said Salt Lake City Transportation Division Director Robin Hutcheson. “Residents have already expressed a desire for improved transportation choices and, as we grow, we will continue to strive to be a first-class city when it comes to the availability of quality transportation options. Public transportation is a vital component of a healthy transportation network.”

The Transit Master Plan, to be developed through 2015, will be a guiding document for the City to improve public transportation services and amenities citywide. The City has officially launched SLCRides, an outreach campaign, led by the City’s Transportation Division, in coordination with the Utah Transit Authority, regional planning agencies and community stakeholders. According to the City, SLCRides provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to help prepare goals and determine strategies for improving our public transportation system of buses and trains, transit related programs and passenger amenities.

The Plan builds off of transit six goals to adopted by the Salt Lake City Council during a 2013 retreat:

  • Ease of Use: Anyone in Salt Lake City can get from Point A to Point B using only one transfer
  • Affordability: Cost for service should be scaled to the length of each trip – or everyone should get a transit pass.
  • Destinations: Everyone should be able to get to two transit routes within a quarter mile of where they live or work.
  • Time of Day: Mass transit hours of operation should mirror the times people leave and return from work and play.
  • Immediacy: Mass transit service should be available every 10 minutes so people can presume service
  • Route Reliability: Routes should remain stable so residents and developers can make transit part of their long-term housing choice.

Salt Lake City residents won’t have to wait until the Transit Plan is formally adopted to see enhanced bus service.  The Utah Transit Authority announced this week that service hours will be expanded in August for the S-Line streetcar, TRAX and several bus lines.

Beginning August 16, Sunday TRAX trains hours will extend a few hours, with the last trains leaving Downtown around 11:30 p.m., matching the current Saturday schedule.  The S-Line streetcar service hours will be expanded to match TRAX hours, extending the time the last train leaves the Fairmont Station by at least two hours (currently the last train leaves the station at 9:20 p.m. on weekdays).

The 220 bus route will run on a 15-minute schedule, bring the total number of high-frequency bus routes in the City to seven.  Currently 220 only runs every 15-minutes during the morning and afternoon commute hours.  The August schedule change will increase the percentage of City residents living near a high-frequency bus route from 46 percent to 56 percent.  The 220 route connects Sandy to Salt Lake Central Station via Highland Drive, 1300 East and 100 South.

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Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.