Huge transit projects are coming to Utah

A Salt Lake Tribune article outlines the many transit projects in the works in Utah. “The projects listed in the plan will add 4,700 miles of active transportation pathways across the state, including bike paths, multi-use paths and improved trails.” We applaud the focus on expanding active transportation pathways. According to the Utah Department of Air Quality’s 2022 Annual Report, mobile sources are the greatest source of emissions in the Wasatch Front, accounting for around 39% of pollution.  

Bike lanes in Utah, photo by Aimee Custis

Increasing and improving active transportation routes can help cut down on vehicle emissions, which have a direct impact on air quality and contribute to the challenges of climate change. The projection of a 13% reduction in statewide emissions upon project completion is an encouraging indication of the plan’s environmental benefits. Cleaner air not only improves public health but also supports the broader goal of mitigating climate change.

There are still causes for concern in many of Utah’s development plans, however. UDOT is planning to expand I-15 through a nearly 20 mile stretch of the Wasatch Front between Salt Lake City and Farmington. Increasing freeway capacity in other cities has increased use of the freeway such that over time, often only a short time, the benefit of reduced congestion is eliminated by increased overall use. UDOT should be focusing on improving mass transit to decrease highway congestion and fossil fuels in the valley. 

Comment to UDOT on the I-15 expansion here.

Our comments on the highway expansion: