Monday, August 11, 2008

Ogden Transportation Study: Currently On Track

The only real apparent obstacle? Boss "Gondola Boy" Godfrey

Interesting article in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, regarding the tantalizing possibility that Sugar House may be the first community in Utah to adopt a "modern" street car system. We incorporate Brandon Loomis's introductory paragraphs below:

The view from a Sugar House front porch is homey: narrow streets, tree-canopied sidewalks, stroller-pushing moms.
Paint in the kind of slow-moving streetcars that rumbled over urban Utah rails decades ago and you'd think it was the 1950s. It soon will be, in a sense, if a joint study by Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and the Utah Transit Authority leads where planners hope - to Utah's first modern streetcar line.
(And alas... here we were hoping Ogden City would be "the first." It appears these forward thinking Salt Lake County entities "somehow" got the jump on us, however.)

Toward the middle of the article Mr. Loomis describes the proposed route:

The Sugar House route stretches for two miles behind dozens of warehouses and tire shops from the Granite Block's south edge around 2200 South to TRAX light rail at 2100 South. The two cities and UTA are splitting the cost of a $300,000 study, and the line ultimately could cost $37 million and serve 2,300 people a day. Construction would come after the three parties find funding.
According to the article, not only is this a joint study by Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and the Utah Transit Authority that's already underway, but Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker stands solidly behind it:

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has pushed to expedite the link, and city planners see it as just the start of a web connecting denser neighborhoods with TRAX.
Being the curious type, after reading this SLTrib article, we wondered what's happened to Ogden's pending combination transportation and alternative analysis which we last discussed in mid-May of this year.

We spoke with Council Chair Amy Wicks this morning; and she kindly provided this information update:

1) Shortly following the council's above-referenced council work session, a meeting was convened with representatives of all the major "stakeholders." Representatives from the following public and private entities were in in attendance, among others: The UTA, UDOT, WSU, McKay Dee Hospital, Weber County and the Ogden Mayor's Office. In the course of this meeting the UTA agreed to draft an interlocal agreement for a joint study, apportioning the obligations of each of these stakeholders with respect to the pursuit of the subject transportation study analysis. Although this draft agreement has not yet been yet received from the UTA, it's expected to be completed any day now.

2) UTA's Mick Crandall has already confirmed that the $200 thousand in federal transportation study funds, which were stealthily granted to UTA for Ogden City's benefit last year, would be fully applicable, as at least a portion Ogden City's share of the costs of the combo transportation alternative/EIR analysis.

We'll consider this to be good news, evidence that the process of adopting a "modern streetcar system" in Ogden is generally "on track."

The bad news?

We have a lingering sensation that Boss Godfrey might not share Mayor Becker's commitment to reasonable transportation alternatives -- such as streetcars. In truth, Ogden citizens have every reason to remain gun-shy. Hopefully our city council can continue to keep his feet to the fire on this -- and disabuse Boss Godfrey of his gondola obsession.

That's our update. We thought our gentle readers would want to know about this.

Who will be the first to comment?


curious 1 said...

From an earlier thread, KUTv TV had a piece on the evening news with a ride along with the OPD and a Prostitution sting they accomplished within the last week. I'm sure this throws more negative assumptions on Ogden City. The OPD invited the ride along for the journalist to show that they are actively involved in sting operations and it might deter some of those individuals who are soliciting sex.
What about the gang problem and following up on the recent drive-bys. What happened to the extra police that was suppose to be hired?

Positive thinker said...

I hope to see the Jupiter Express running the entire route between downtown and Weber State. Nothing would make me smile more than watching dignified businessmen swallow their pride as they "hop aboard" the little train that could.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to top shelf

Dorrene Jeske said...

I want to put everyone's concerns to rest: Friday the Council received a copy of an email from John Patterson that included an email from UTA's Mick Crandall stating that the $231,000. that is Ogden's monery received from the Federal government will be used for the alternative analysis and the environmental impact studies for the WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital transit corridor. John Patterson has assured me that they have an agreement with UTA and that the other stakeholders in the project have been urged by the Mayor to provide their funding for the studies as soon as possible so that the process can begin.

I understand from the firm who did the studies for Sugar House that it was started more than two years ago. There are a couple of other cities who are in the process of conducting their studies now, so Ogden will not be the second nor third city in Utah to have a street car. I am so glad that we have committed to the required studies and started the process for a transit system in Ogden. All of the Council members and the Administration are pushing for it.

righty said...

Does anyone know what input, if any, has the public been allowed pertaining to the corridor alternatives? It was my understanding that the corridor would be opened up to public comment before a formal study/ analysis is done. Am I mistaken? From what I understand, at this point the corridor has been narrowed down to two of the Mayor's choices and one of the Council's. It is my hope that the study we are going to fund will have viable options to look at. What is the point to studying it if we are analyzing faulty alternatives in the first place?

Curmudgeon said...

TY, Councilwoman Jeske.

Dorrene jeske said...

Righy, the Wasatch Front Regional Council held several "Open Houses" where they presented a number of options and asked for public input. They then presented to the Council and Administration the most popular routes. The Council asked the Planning Commission if they had any recommendations and they suggested three more. The Council Staff prepared a list of all the possible routes and asked the Council to rank them. The Mayor told us which ones he wanted included in the alternative analysis. The top three routes were asked to be considered and ranked in the studies.

Several months ago three Council members met with the firm that did the studies for Sugar House for more than a very informative hour. It is my understanding that when an alternative analysis is done, the public/residents are surveyed. They are asked to provided input on routes, mode of transit they would use and support and where and what type of development along the route they would like. So that is when you will have a chance to have your say. All three entities -- the residents the Administration and the Council will be asked to serve on committees and the process should be fair and impartial.

I think it is wonderful that the residents will be a part of the decision-making process. I hope this answers your questions and eases your concerns, Righty.

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