Transportation was a major goal of The Mountain Accord, with studies and improvements for the Cottonwood Canyons focused on increasing transit use, biking, and walking and decreasing single-occupancy vehicle use. Multiple studies were conducted under Mountain Accord and UTA co-direction which identified key local and regional transportation issues to be evaluated and implemented in the Cottonwood Canyons. Expanded ski bus service in the Cottonwood Canyons was one result of those studies.
Building on the initial work by Mountain Accord, UTA, and UDOT, the Central Wasatch Commission is tasked with coordinating among the affected jurisdictions and State transportation agencies to address equity and regional mobility in the Cottonwood Canyons and surrounding areas.
To consider longer term needs, a working relationship between CWC and UDOT is being developed to conduct additional planning studies to address equity and regional mobility in the Cottonwood Canyons and surrounding areas. All studies will feature a robust public process, including public comment periods and meetings, email updates and notifications and project information shared on social media channels and the project website.
Little Cottonwood Environmental Impact Study
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) began an Environmental Impact Statement in the spring of 2018 for Little Cottonwood Canyon and Wasatch Boulevard. Regional mobility and equity between the canyons indicated a need for a robust approach that is beyond the scope and immediate needs of Little Cottonwood Canyon alone. UDOT adjusted the scope of the EIS to address the immediate challenges of traffic congestion at key intersections, trailhead parking and canyon closures in Little Cottonwood. The following specific improvements are moving forward:
- Avalanche Sheds
- Lane improvements from SR-210/SR-209 intersection to Wasatch Resorts Driveway
- Trailhead parking will be evaluated at Bridge, Lisa Falls and White Pine
- Wasatch Boulevard improved mobility for commuters and adjacent neighborhoods
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon Corridor and Area Planning Study
A Corridor and Area Planning Study for Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons will be co-managed by UDOT and CWC. The role of CWC will be to engage stakeholders, coordinate with CWC members, facilitate and lead discussion of transportation goals with the CWC Stakeholder Council, assist in development of selection criteria, measures and prioritization.
The CWC will not supplant UDOT on transportation decisions for State roads. The role of UDOT will be to provide technical assistance, communication and strategy planning and production resources to support the CWC. The study will provide a prioritized list of actions for future improvements for implementation by the CWC and other partners to address long-term transportation needs. Incorporating past and current studies of the Millcreek Canyon area is also being considered.
This study will include, but is not limited to:
- Water quality
- Traffic congestion
- Pedestrian and bike facilities
Parking Structure Study
A separate parking structure study would also be co-managed by CWC and UDOT to address challenges that affect transit ridership and ridesharing options. This study will be linked to the corridor and area planning study and will evaluate the following: parking stall availability, size, and function of transit centers. The results of this study will support the corridor and area study.
Timeline for These Studies
The revised LCC EIS: projected to start in January 2019 and is anticipated to be complete by Winter 2020/2021
The Parking Study: will begin in January 2019 and is anticipated to be complete by Summer 2019
The Corridor and Area Planning Study: anticipated to start Winter/Spring of 2019 and be complete by the Winter/Spring of 2021