Residents Making Changes to Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan
Jun 13, 2019 03:34PM
By Cassie Goff
The speed limit along Wasatch Boulevard will be analyzed with the potential of lowering the speed limit. (Mike Johnson/Cottonwood Heights)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights City Council will vote on adopting the Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan on July 2 during their bi-weekly meeting at City Hall (2277 Bengal Blvd.) in the council chambers at 7 p.m.
The first draft of the Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan was published on the city’s website in September 2018. Since then, there have been many modifications, city council presentations and open houses.
The Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan is meant to be a blueprint, a guiding document, for the development of the corridor. “The purpose of the general plan is to know which way we are moving,” said Community and Economic Development Director Mike Johnson. In other words, it is not binding. Even after adoption of the plan, if the city council votes to do so, elements of the plans can be changed.
One of the most important components of the master plan is the emphasis on partnership. Since Wasatch Boulevard is owned and maintained by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the partnership is vitally important for the future of the corridor. The worst-case scenario would be if UDOT didn’t involve Cottonwood Heights at all, and ignored what the city, and its residents, wanted. Luckily, UDOT has expressed interested in working with Cottonwood Heights and hopes to follow the recommendations within the city’s master plan.
UDOT and Cottonwood Heights are not the only entities working collaboratively for the future of Wasatch Boulevard. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Sandy City, Holladay City, Salt Lake County, Snowbird and additional ski resorts, the Wasatch Front Regional Council and other stakeholders have been in communication regarding Wasatch Boulevard.
One of the suggestions for Wasatch Boulevard was to widen the road. UDOT recognizes Wasatch Boulevard as a state highway and a major corridor leading up to the canyons.
However, many Cottonwood Heights residents living along Wasatch Boulevard wish to maintain a non-commercial feel to the corridor. A petition entitled “Save Wasatch Blvd. – Cottonwood Heights says NO to a Hwy” was started by a group of residents called Unite for CH. Within that petition, residents would like to see Wasatch Boulevard’s speed limit reduced to 35 mph with traffic-calming measures implemented; no more than three lanes; trail space to promote pedestrian use and connectivity implemented; bike lanes implemented; priority given to egress and ingress to neighborhoods; and limiting “the expansion of the urban segment of Wasatch Blvd. through land use planning aimed to prevent further urban sprawl.” Eight hundred twenty-four supporters signed this petition on change.org.
“We have seen the change.org petition,” said Johnson. “This new draft should address those comments we have received so far. If we had the time to sit down with every single resident and talk through this draft, it would address most of their concerns. This plan is very responsive to public feedback and residential areas along the corridor.”
“We are not recommending commercial redevelopment on the corridor itself,” continued Johnson. Additionally, changes to the master plan include addressing local aesthetics and the character of local neighborhoods, mitigating speeds in a reasonable and responsible way, addressing bus implementation and promoting Wasatch Boulevard as an idle-free corridor.
Mayor Mike Peterson and City Manager Tim Tingey have recently met with UDOT Regional Director Bryan Adams. “We are taking a different approach with Wasatch Boulevard than any other corridor in the state,” Adams told Cottonwood Heights leaders.
Adams has agreed to look at the speed limit. “He is personally behind making this happen,” said Tingey.
For more information, visit the city’s project homepage at www.cottonwoodheights.utah.gov/community/city_projects/current_projects/wasatch_boulevard_master_plan
To view the master plan, visit the above website and click on “review a copy of the draft plan.”
To view the petition, click here.
To view UDOT’s Environmental Impact Statement and Cottonwood Canyons Transportation Action Plan, visit www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/
To read our previous story, click here.