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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Transportation Master Plan to define road categories and recommended speeds

Mar 28, 2022 09:54PM ● By Cassie Goff

A Transportation Master Plan addressing all roads will be adopted before May. (Photo courtesy of Matt Shipp/Cottonwood Heights)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

A Transportation Master Plan for Cottonwood Heights is currently being drafted by city staff members, planners and engineers. One of the primary goals for the plan is to classify all of the roads within the city in order to help develop recommended design speeds. 

“I know the city is really focused on being traffic calm,” Public Works Director Matt Shipp said.

Shipp has been working to define those road classification categories appropriately for the city. Currently, he has narrowed them down to three main road classification categories: collectors, arterials and local roads. Within those broad categories, three subcategories for each have been identified: suburban, urban and urban core.

“We are really getting into urban when we come into Cottonwood Heights,” Shipp said. “We are not rural, so we have to work within urban classifications.”

Design speeds (the target speed at which drivers are intended to travel on a road) for each of those six road classification categories will be thoroughly articulated within the Master Plan. Current estimates for design speeds are based on research of similarly sized and structured cities and roads, individual road context, and the layout and grid of Cottonwood Heights. Shipp presented the design speed estimates for each of the six classification categories to the Cottonwood Heights City Council March 2. 

The design speed estimates for collectors are: 35 mph to 50 mph for suburban collectors; 30 mph to 40 mph for urban collectors; and 25 mph to 35 mph for urban core collectors.

“There are areas in which it makes sense to have a 30 mph design speed,” Shipp said. “In other similar areas, it makes more sense to have a 25 mph design speed.”

The design speed estimates for arterials are: 30 mph to 55 mph for suburban arterials; 25 mph to 45 mph for urban arterials; and 30 mph or less in urban core arterials.

“If you cross Fort Union with Highland Drive up to 3000 East that’s the urban core area,” Shipp said.

Urban core collectors and arterials will be found within this commercial area of Cottonwood Heights. It is home to many businesses and larger residential developments. Since Cottonwood Heights already has a Master Plan for Fort Union Boulevard, Shipp and others have incorporated those plans into drafting the Transportation Master Plan as well.

Not only will the Transportation Master Plan articulate design speeds, it will account for varying cross sections and provide different options for rights-of-way, dependent on the context and function for individual roads. Lastly, it will lay out suggestions for lane widths and street dressings such as park strips, sidewalks and trails.

“There will be a lot of bicycle and trail elements,” Shipp said.

City staff members are still in the process of finalizing the draft, as multiple engineers are working to make additional modifications. Once the road classification categories within the Master Plan have been finalized by city staff members, they will be discussed and voted upon by the city council.

Once finalized, the drafted Transportation Master Plan will be discussed by the Cottonwood Heights City Council. Currently, that discussion is scheduled to be the second city council meeting in April (tentatively April 19). The Transportation Master Plan will then go out for initial review and public comment. After which, the city council will vote on a final adoption, currently scheduled for the end of May. 

When finalized, it will “go forward to different organizations to show what we are doing within the city,” Shipp said.