The Orem City Council got a quick overview Tuesday of the next phase in rapid transit coming to Orem and along the State Street corridor.
Eric Rasband, Utah Department of Transportation project manager, explained the preferred option of the 20-mile route from Lehi to Provo along State Street.
Rasband said the transit program provides the following:
• Creates a robust north-south high-capacity transit spine with connections to key developing areas.
• Connects to key Transit Oriented Development opportunities.
• Provides connections to regional transit systems – FrontRunner, UVX, potential Point of the Mountain transit.
• Serves all communities in the study area.
“Preliminary modeling indicates that this alternative maximizes ridership potential compared to other alternatives on their own,” Rasband said of the future of the project.
During the presentation, Rasband noted there were seven local governments and organizations participating in the project including Orem, Provo, Vineyard, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Lehi, UDOT, Mountainlands Association of Governments and Utah Transit Authority.
The development of the State Street transit projects shows potential stations along State Street in Orem. Those include:
• 1600 North (State St.)
• 800 North (State St.)
• Center Street (State St.)
• 800 South (State St.)
• University Parkway
• 1700 South
• 800 N. Branch Stations
• Geneva Road (branch)
• 900 West (branch)
The public has already had two chances to offer recommendations and ideas, and will have another opportunity with virtual open house nights Oct. 26 and 29 to add thoughts to the public comment portion of the project.
Rasband noted there had been strong support for the north-south transit spine along State Street Alternative and the addition of the east-west connections to Vineyard.
The east-west connection will meet in Vineyard at the new FrontRunner Intermodal hub expected to be completed next year.
“General concerns around the transit project included creating additional vehicle congestion, widening of roadway to accommodate transit, and safety for pedestrians,” Rasband said.
Rasband also noted the rapid transit system is expected to link at Point of the Mountain, and UDOT and UTA have been working closely with the Point of the Mountain development team.
After the final public input is completed and recorded in November, the next phase will be to do the environmental impact studies, develop funding strategies, and organize operations planning.
A few of the council members were concerned about losing lanes on State Street. However, Rasband said UDOT is committed that it will stay a six-lane road with on-street parking as well.
Mayor Richard Brunst was concerned about current plans to put in safety medians in the middle of State Street just to take them out.
Jamie Davidson, Orem city manager, said the safety medians are necessary and they would be installed during nighttime hours for less disruption to vehicles.
With all of the studies, financing and engineering that remains to be done on the corridor, Davidson said he doesn’t see the transit project starting for about seven years.