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West Valley-Taylorsville Transit Corridor
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Public Open House/Hearing
July 19, 2006
Meeting Purpose
We are here to:
• Help the public learn more about the choices for
improving the West Valley Transit Corridor
– Show Features and Next Steps of the Preferred
Alternative for Light Rail
– Discuss the Draft EIS and its findings
• Gather public comments on the Draft EIS
Please Note: All Draft EIS comments submitted this evening, or from
June 25 through August 9, 2006 will be addressed in the Final
Environmental Study
Open House/Public Hearing Format
• Panel displays show the project
corridor and the Build Alternatives for
light rail
• Project staff are here to answer
questions about the project, its
impacts, and the planning process
•You may submit comments by:
–Leaving oral comments on the recorder
–Writing comments on the Comment Form
–Sending comments postmarked by August
9 to UTA or via the website (see handout
for address or URL)
Project History
• The Wasatch Front Regional Council’s (WFRC) 1996 Long Range Plan
outlined the corridor’s need for transit improvements
• WFRC’s 2000 West Valley City Transportation Corridor Major Investment
Study identified the most promising routes for light rail
• In 2001, UTA and WFRC began environmental planning and engineering
work on light rail alternatives
• From 2002-2006, UTA and WFRC prepared a Draft Environmental
Impact Statement (Draft EIS) and studied the project’s funding and
implementation needs
• In 2002, West Valley City, UTA and WFRC recommended a Preferred
Alternative for light rail
• UTA and WFRC released the Draft EIS in June 2006
Project Overview
• Part of 30-year
transportation plan
– Brings high capacity
transit to Utah’s second
largest city, tying into
regional system
– Better serves current
and future jobs, housing
and civic centers
– Supports regional
transportation, land use
and environmental goals
Who is Proposing This Project?
• WFRC identified need in long range plan
• WFRC, South Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and UDOT are project
partners with UTA
• UTA would build and operate the light rail line
• Current plan is to use only local funding to develop the project
• No federal funds are currently being pursued, and the Federal
Transit Administration is not currently involved
• Most of the decisions and permits for the project will be local, made
by the UTA Board and the project partners, working with the public
• Funding and timing of the project remain to be decided, but could
be made through a public referendum
Why is This Project Needed?
• Project Purpose: Improve travel between the West Valley,
downtown Salt Lake City, the University of Utah and other
regional centers
• Project Need:
– West Valley is Utah’s second largest population and
employment area, but is not yet served by high capacity
– 70% regional population growth is projected by 2030, and up
to 60% growth is projected in parts of the West Valley
– Our ability to expand highways is limited
– Faster and more convenient transit service is needed to serve
current and future riders and to help reduce congestion and
What’s in the Draft EIS?
Draft EIS explains:
– Why the project is needed and what its
purpose is
– What UTA proposes to build and operate
– Likely Environmental Impacts and Benefits
An Executive Summary highlights key facts and
Other chapters with more details:
• 1 – Purpose of and Need For Action
• 2 – Alternatives Considered
• 3 – Affected Environment
• 4 – Environmental Consequences
• 5 – Transportation Impacts
• 6 – Evaluation of Alternatives
• 7 – Local Financial Commitment
• 8 – Impact Assessment for Recreational
and Historic Properties
What Alternatives Are Studied in the Draft EIS?
• No-Action Alternative: Existing & Funded transportation
projects in the Long Range Plan without West Valley Light Rail
• Enhanced Bus Alternative: Existing & funded transportation
projects including low-cost transit improvements beyond the NoAction, but still without West Valley Light Rail
• Build Alternative: Existing & funded transportation projects in
the Long Range Plan with West Valley Light Rail
– The Preferred “Build Alternative” for Light Rail
– Variation “E” for a section between the Jordan River and Redwood
Road is not the preferred alignment
What is the Recommended Preferred Alternative?
• Approximately 5 miles of ballasted doubletrack light rail, along streets and in new
• New line starts just south of 2100 South
TRAX station
• Ends at West Valley City Center; site of
proposed Intermodal Transit Center
• Four new stations: Chesterfield, Decker
Lake, E Center, West Valley City Center
• Ties into North-South TRAX line to allow a
direct trip to south end of downtown and
the University of Utah
• Trains run every 15 minutes each way
• Local bus service refocused to serve
Project Schedule
Publish Draft EIS:
June 25, 2006
Draft EIS Public Hearing
July 19, 2006
Public Comment Ends
August 9, 2006
Review public
comments and continue
design/planning for
Preferred Alternative
Final Environmental
Spring 2007
Adopt Project and
Begin Final Design
and Construction
*Blue Boxes reflect schedule assuming funding referendum passes
*Red Boxes reflect schedule if funding referendum does not pass
What Environmental Topics are in the Draft EIS?
• Land Use & Socioeconomic
• Property Acquisition &
• Neighborhoods and
Populations, including Low
Income and Minority Groups
• Transportation Considerations
• Air Quality Analysis
• Noise & Vibration Analysis
Water Resources & Drainage
Ecosystems & Wetlands
Energy & Mineral Resources
Historic & Archaeological
Parklands & Open Space
Visual Resources
Safety & Security
Construction Impacts
Cumulative & Indirect Effects
Other Key Findings
• Compared with bus service (No-Action
Alternative), light rail would provide:
– a 9-minute travel time savings for a typical trip to
– a 12-minute savings to the University
• Light rail would make transit competitive
with automobile travel
• Light rail travel times would be more
reliable than buses on congested roads
• The line would attract nearly 9,500 daily
transit boardings in 2030 and would
contribute to higher ridership throughout
the TRAX system.
Findings About Environmental Impacts
• The mostly industrial eastern part of the corridor has
fewer impacts
• More impacts are found where light rail would pass west
of the Jordan River; land uses include residential,
park/open space and commercial properties, including:
Noise and Vibration
Traffic delays, safety, access
Property acquisitions
Visual change
Parks and trails impacts
Floodplain impacts
Next Steps: After the Public Comment Period
• Review of public comments by project team
• UTA Board to revalidate selection of the Locally Preferred Alternative
• Continue environmental, engineering and public outreach efforts, focus
on Preferred Alternative
• Identify appropriate mitigation commitments and other project
measures to maximize benefits
• Release Final Environmental Study, including project team responses to
public and agency comments on the Draft EIS
• Secure a Decision Document approved by UTA and federal/local
• Complete final design and begin construction
• Open West Valley Line for revenue service
West Valley - Taylorsville Transit Corridor
Draft EIS Public Comment Period
June 25, 2006 - August 9, 2006