Provo Municipal Council to continue considering 900 East UVX station
At first glance, it appears the stars are aligning and things could be moving into place for a new UVX Station on 900 East in Provo.
While it is still preliminary, the Provo Municipal Council gave its nod to further investigate possibly putting a station in front of the new Brigham Young University music building and across the street from Wasatch Elementary School.
During two recent open house events, both sponsored by the city, people were significantly in favor of the station. Those attending the open house at the Rec Center were 8:1 in favor of new UVX station; they were 5:1 at the other open house.
Over the past year Dixon Holmes, deputy chief administrative officer, said he has received 170 emails from residents asking the city to look into having a station.
Since the early developments of the bus rapid transit routes more than a decade ago, a station was slotted for 900 East. Residents in the east neighborhoods at the time were vocal and organized against it. The city and the Utah Transit Authority bowed to their wishes.
In addition to the new music building on the horizon, BYU is working out a land trade with the Provo School District that would move the elementary school and its students to another location.
According to council members, that is a game changer for many of the residents that were once opposed to the site.
Councilwoman Shannon Ellsworth also noted the federal government’s transportation and infrastructure initiative and grants might suit the station project.
Because the idea is still in the exploratory stages, Holmes said three things would have to happen for a project to begin.
“Provo would have to approve, BYU would have to cooperate and UTA would have to be in favor,” Holmes said.
According to UTA, if they did put in a new station on 900 East it would become the most used station between the Provo and Orem intermodal hubs.
It will cost between $3 million and $5 million to put in the station and, if needed, the council would have to approve part of the funding, according to Holmes.
“It’s important to my constituents and it’s important to me,” Councilman George Handley said. “A bad feeling still exists in my neighborhood, but I think it’s important to move forward.”
Handley noted the new music building will bring more traffic to 900 East and the bus service will be vital.
“There has been a significant shift in feelings about UVX,” Handley said. “There is a growing level of comfort with UVX.”
It appears there are funds available for UTA and Provo to start an environmental review process, according to Wayne Parker, chief administrative officer.
Dec. 1 is a deadline to get the project in the budgeting process, according to Mary de le Mare-Schaefer, regional director for UTA. She needed consent from the council that they are willing to proceed, even if it’s preliminary, so the paperwork could be submitted.
The council approved the measure and gave the administration the nod to continue investigating the options.