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1 Welcome! West Valley-Taylorsville Transit Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Open House/Hearing July 19, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Welcome! West Valley-Taylorsville Transit Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Open House/Hearing July 19, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Welcome! West Valley-Taylorsville Transit Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Open House/Hearing July 19, 2006

2 2 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

3 3 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)

4 4 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

5 5 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

6 6 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

7 7 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 transit –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 pollution

8 8 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 findings 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

9 9 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 No- Action, 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

10 10 What is the Recommended Preferred Alternative? Approximately 5 miles of ballasted double- track light rail, along streets and in new right-of-way 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 stations

11 11 Project Schedule Final Environmental Study Spring 2007 Adopt Project and Begin Final Design and Construction Draft EIS Public Hearing July 19, 2006 Public Comment Ends August 9, 2006 Publish Draft EIS: June 25, 2006 Review public comments and continue design/planning for Preferred Alternative ? 2018-2021? *Red Boxes reflect schedule if funding referendum does not pass *Blue Boxes reflect schedule assuming funding referendum passes * * *

12 12 What Environmental Topics are in the Draft EIS? Land Use & Socioeconomic Conditions Property Acquisition & Displacements Neighborhoods and Populations, including Low Income and Minority Groups Transportation Considerations Air Quality Analysis Noise & Vibration Analysis Water Resources & Drainage Ecosystems & Wetlands Utilities Energy & Mineral Resources Historic & Archaeological Resources Parklands & Open Space Visual Resources Safety & Security Construction Impacts Cumulative & Indirect Effects

13 13 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 downtown –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.

14 14 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 Construction Visual change Wetlands Parks and trails impacts Floodplain impacts

15 15 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 agencies Complete final design and begin construction Open West Valley Line for revenue service

16 16 West Valley - Taylorsville Transit Corridor Draft EIS Public Comment Period June 25, 2006 - August 9, 2006

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