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UTA moving forward with plans for transit spine through Utah County

By Ryne Williams daily Herald - | Oct 21, 2020

Officials from UTA made a presentation to the Provo Municipal Council on Tuesday about the Central Corridor Transit Study and a preferred route from Lehi and Provo FrontRunner stations using bus rapid transit.

Using responses from the first and second comment periods on the study, it was determined that the preferred route will run through seven different cities in Utah County, creating what officials called a high-capacity transit spine.

“The Central Corridor Transit Study is looking at our 850 bus that travels north and south along State Street from Provo Frontrunner to Lehi Frontrunner,” said Mary De LaMare-Schaefer, regional general manager for UTA in Utah County. “This came on the heels of the great success of the UVX system where the cities from Provo to Lehi were very enthusiastic about wanting to move transit forward.”

The study’s process involved an evaluation of high-capacity transit improvements along the route, selecting a preferred alternative to be moved into future phases of the project and provide a collaborative process for all involved.

Over a year ago that process began and since then a number of alternatives to the project have been looked at, coming to the decision that the preferred alternative is the best option.

A planned 25-mile long route from Lehi to Provo, with over 30 stations, will operate a bus rapid transit which is similar to the existing UVX.

From Lehi to American Fork the line will utilize a freight corridor to stay off of existing streets. In American Fork the line will jump on to State Street, then along North County Boulevard through Pleasant Grove and Lindon before getting back onto State Street through Orem and into Provo.

The route also will include a branch to connect to the Vineyard FrontRunner stop.

The key features listed during the presentation included a high-capacity route to service local and regional trips. Connections to UVX, FrontRunner and the Point of the Mountain study will allow for more transit options while also connecting transit into southern Salt Lake County.

One of the biggest questions brought up was, why is this needed with the FrontRunner?

The response was that the FrontRunner stations are spaced further away from each other. This project would act as a complement to the FrontRunner, allowing for more frequent stops through the seven cities as well as connecting to three different FrontRunner stops along the route.

“Our big picture goal and marching order was to really look at providing a robust, high-capacity transit corridor from Lehi to Provo,” senior planner Claire Woodman said. “We really wanted to evaluate different alignments and different mode options that could really meet the needs of all the communities along this corridor and also the regional transportation needs.”

The proposed plan shows the buses running in their own lanes down the middle of State Street in Provo, which will lead to the possible movement of shoulders, parking and sidewalks.

The study has received 250 comments so far and it has received some strong support for the route. Concerns surrounding the project include more vehicle congestion, the widening of roadways to accommodate the buses and the safety of pedestrians.

There will be an online public open house on the preferred alternative held on Oct. 26 and 29 at 7 p.m. The public will be presented the plan with opportunities for comment and questions.

To learn more about the study and proposed route, visit the website at www.centraltransitutah.com.

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