Stakeholders surrounding and including Utah Valley University held a joint meeting Monday to collaborate and give input on the future transportation needs in and around the campus.
Orem, Vineyard, Utah Valley University, Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Transit Authority and Mountainland Association of Governments joined in hiring Avenue Consultants to conduct a study of the area to determine options to ease transportation needs for the next 30 or more years.
According to UVU data, the university anticipates there will be 55,836 students by 2028. Growth in Vineyard, Orem and Utah County in general will bring more traffic to and through the area.
Of greatest concern is the areas from Orem’s 800 North to University Parkway and from Geneva Road to 400 West.
Using the most recent historical example of the Golden Spike 150th anniversary, HG Kunzler of Avenue Consultants said, “Establishing the railroad from coast to coast opened the door to prosperity. Transportation is the backbone of prosperity.”
With that, he asked the more than 50 people in attendance to hop on their phones for a real-time survey of questions.
Kunzler wanted to see stakeholder vision of what could be done. There were concerns with backups on both southbound and northbound ramps with cars getting to and from UVU and the added safety concerns.
The added issues of a new campus area in Vineyard, with an intermodal hub being built, gave stakeholders the collaborative option of potentially expanding the current UVX route to Vineyard as a less expensive option.
Paul Goodrich, Orem’s transportation engineer, said many issues surrounding UVU had been discussed as far back as 20 years ago, but environmental studies and other impacts have lapsed.
“Some ideas we’re just crossing out because there at too many impacts,” Goodrich said.
Goodrich, like others, believes that the success of UVX could be one of the answers to the transportation problem.
“UVX is successful. We should take it to Geneva Road and to Vineyard and increase the service area,” Goodrich said.
The stakeholders have discussed connecting tunnels, bridges for buses only, switching road directions depending on the time of day and more options.
Goodrich said that before funding or environmental clearance, the public will be invited to give their options and input.
Jason Bench, with Orem’s development services, has already scheduled neighborhood meetings for this summer to discuss the options.
It is anticipated that UDOT will have to provide a big portion of the funding because of the size of the project, according to Goodrich.
“I’m grateful we’re planning the future rather than letting it just happen,” said Tom Macdonald, Orem councilman.
Orem Mayor Richard Brunst said his group looked at other redevelopment options to help with transportation. The Walmart area south of UVU could be built out for parking, housing and making walkability to and from campus a great option.
Avenue Consultant will take Monday’s information, study it and prepare more specific options by July.