Central Wasatch Commission’s Comment on the WFRC’s Regional Transportation Plan

February 24, 2023

The Central Wasatch Commission would like to thank the Wasatch Front Regional Council for
the opportunity to comment on the updated Regional Transportation Plan. The CWC is an
interlocal government agency representing the jurisdictions in and adjacent to the Central
Wasatch Mountains. Improving transportation and mobility within the Central Wasatch are core
pieces of work for the CWC.

The Central Wasatch Commission is currently working on a Big Cottonwood Canyon Mobility
Action Plan. The BCC MAP will provide a menu of options and timeline of service
improvements, policy recommendations, and infrastructure investments. This planning process
should be completed in the spring of 2023 and the CWC requests key outcomes be included in
the RTP. In the past, the CWC has done several transportation planning processes and public
outreach for the Central Wasatch, including the Mountain Transportation System report which
evaluated several mobility options for the Central Wasatch.

The RTP 2023-2050 plan should include transit and infrastructure investments for Big
Cottonwood Canyon. This includes seasonal express buses for the resorts, year-round local bus
service serving varying nodes, transit centers, and key core bus routes connecting to the
regional transit system. Additionally, expediting funding for the phase one implementation plan
for both Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Seasonal Express Buses
Most visitors during peak winter hours are heading to ski resorts up the canyons. By offering
very frequent direct service to resorts, guests to the resorts will have a convenient, reliable, and
quick transit option. By providing this transit option to most canyon visitors during peak winter
hours, there should be a reduction in automobiles in the canyon, providing improved mobility for
all canyon users. This service should be 10-minute headways or better during peak demand
hours. The route would begin from Midvale Trax station with one stop at the mouth of Big
Cottonwood Canyon and directly to each ski resort. 15-minute headways can be used during off
peak. This service would generally run from the beginning of the ski season to the end
(Approximately end of November to end of March).

Year-Round Local Bus
Year-round local bus service starting from Midvale Trax station and providing access to
trailheads, businesses, communities and potentially resorts is recommended for Big
Cottonwood Canyon. To provide the most optimal schedule, UTA will need to provide transit
travel time analysis to determine the most efficient bus route and start and ending times.

Transit Centers
The plan should also include recommended transit centers, hubs, bus stops from the BCC
MAP. These facilities will help improve the efficiency of a bus system. The initially identified
locations include the Gravel Pit location, mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride, near
Solitude ski resort, and Brighton ski resort. Additional funding should be included for potential
roadway improvements that enhance transit service.

Regional Connections via UTA Core Routes
The CWC recommends the addition of funding for UTA’s core routes that will enhance regional
connections to the Cottonwood Canyons. In order to build a mountain transportation system that
serves diverse needs, improves equitable access, and reduces vehicles miles traveled and
emissions, the system needs excellent regional transit service in Salt Lake Valley. Improved
transit services in the valley would be of benefit to a regional mountain transportation system.
The regional transit system can be used as a building block for year-round transit access to the
Central Wasatch Mountains.

Expediting Funding for Cottonwood Canyons Transit Improvements
It is critical to immediately get resources and funding to improve mobility and transit in the
Cottonwood Canyons. The CWC recommends moving all transit investments in the Cottonwood
Canyons to the most immediate funding scenario of the RTP. Each year the mobility, safety, and
reliability of the highways in the Cottonwood Canyons deteriorates. Immediate funding for transit
improvements is necessary to improve mobility, quality of life, and economic benefit for the

Again, the CWC would like to thank the WFRC for the opportunity to comment on the current
updates to the RTP. This is a valuable process that has the opportunity to address some of
mobility and transportation challenges facing the Central Wasatch. Please reach out to the CWC
if there are any questions and clarifications.

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