Ogden WSU Transit Study

The Ogden City Council is hosting an open house on the Ogden/WSU transit study.

OVERVIEW
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is partnering with Ogden City, Weber County, Weber State University, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) and McKay-Dee Hospital to study future transit alternatives between the Ogden Intermodal Center and Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.

The transit study, known as the Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study, is an environmental assessment (EA) that will build on previously-collected data and focus on two recommended alternatives from the 2011 Ogden-Weber State University Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis. The current study is the next step in the transportation planning process that will evaluate and define an alignment and mode and develop a locally preferred alternative (LPA) that is competitive for funding.

The Ogden-WSU Transit Project Study held a public open house on June 25 at Ogden High School. Here are the materials from the open house.


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BACKGROUND
In 2004, officials from UTA, WFRC, Ogden City and WSU initiated the Ogden-Weber State University Corridor Study to answer the question: “What is the best public transit investment to connect the Wasatch Front region with Ogden’s key destinations?” The study aimed to refine plans outlined in the WFRC’s 2004 – 2030 Long Range Plan that called for a transit project connecting downtown Ogden and WSU. The study concluded in 2005 and recommended a public transit investment that connected destinations such as WSU, McKay-Dee Hospital and downtown with the Ogden FrontRunner station. Streetcar was identified as the preferred transportation mode, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was identified as an alternative mode.

In 2008, UTA initiated the Ogden-WSU Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis to build on findings from the 2005 feasibility study, address community transit needs outlined in the WFRC’s long range plan and evaluate options for improved public transportation service in Ogden. This study did not investigate alternatives that were screened out from further consideration in the previous study. The study was overseen by policy and technical committees with representatives from Ogden City, Weber County Commission, Weber Area Council of Governments, WFRC, South Ogden City, UDOT, McKay-Dee Hospital, Weber State University and the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce.

In 2010, the policy and technical committees selected a recommended alternative for adoption by local governments as the locally preferred alternative (LPA). The recommended alternative was a modern streetcar system that connected the Ogden Intermodal Center to WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital using 23rd Street, Washington Boulevard to 36th Street and 36th Street to Harrison Boulevard. The study also recommended a cross-town option (30th Street to Harrison Boulevard) as an alternative alignment for further evaluation during the next phase of the project.

OGDEN TRANSIT STUDY TIMELINE

  • 2005 – UTA begins construction on the Ogden Intermodal Center on Wall Avenue at 23rd Street. The Ogden Intermodal Center will serve as a connection to the 44-mile FrontRunner line between Pleasant View and Salt Lake City.

  • 2005 – The Ogden Transit Corridor Feasibility Study is complete. The study recommends a streetcar line with a BRT line as an alternative.
  • April 2014 – Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study (environmental assessment) is initiated.

  • December 2015 (anticipated) – Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study is complete. A recommended alternative, including alignment and mode, is submitted for adoption as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) by Ogden City and other project stakeholders.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the purpose of the Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study?

The study’s purpose is to:

  • Increase mobility, connectivity and travel choices between downtown Ogden and the WSU/McKay-Dee Hospital area
  • Promote economic and community development and create jobs in Ogden City
  • Support local and regional land use initiatives
  • Increase ridership, attract more local riders and provide improved access to overall transit system
  • Improve regional transit reliability
  • Provide increased connectivity to  bicycle and pedestrian friendly facilities
  • Develop a project that has strong local support and is competitive for federal funding

How is this study different from previous studies?

The current study will build on the work that has already been completed in previous studies. The environmental review phase provides an opportunity to complete a more in-depth technical analysis that will fully evaluate potential impacts and identify necessary mitigation. Additionally, this study is a coordinated effort among all the partners, and it will take into consideration potential economic development opportunities and impacts of both candidate corridors as well as the ability to successfully secure federal funding.

How long will this study last?

The study period is anticipated to last until December 2015.

Which areas are included in the study?

The study will verify data and information from the 2011 study before examining two recommended alignment alternatives. In spring 2013, two alignments from the previous study were approved by the Ogden City Council for further analysis. The alignments being considered are:

  • An alignment from the Ogden Intermodal Center to WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital using 23rd Street, Washington Boulevard to 30th Street, 30th Street to Harrison Boulevard and Harrison Boulevard to WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital.
  • An alignment from the Ogden Intermodal Center to WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital using 23rd Street, Washington Boulevard, 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard, Harrison Boulevard to WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital.

What is the cost of the current study and who is paying for it?

The Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study will cost approximately $750,000. UTA is paying for half the cost and the study partners are paying the remaining balance.

How are project decisions made?

The Ogden-Weber State University Transit Project Study is directed through a partnership of UTA, Ogden City, McKay-Dee Hospital, Weber County, WFRC, WSU and UDOT. When major decisions are needed, the project team considers technical findings as well as community input received, and presents a recommendation to the stakeholder advisory committee. Decisions are made by a stakeholder advisory committee consisting of representatives from each of the partners with assistance from the project consultant team.

Which transportation mode will be implemented?

A transportation mode has not been predetermined for this study. This study will examine the possibility of streetcar and BRT as potential transit modes on both alignments.

Why isn’t the transportation mode selected first?

The planning process begins by examining where transit service would best serve current and future travel demand. After the “where” has been determined, the “how” can be considered (because some modes are more appropriate than others in a given corridor). Mode selection depends significantly on the context and character of the corridor being served. Identifying potential alignments allows transit planners to make responsible decisions about modes. 

How and when are costs factored in?

Once the “why” and “where” have been answered, and the “how” is considered, the project team will produce cost estimates for construction and long-term operation and maintenance. Costs become a factor when the funding source is considered as well as the ability of the stakeholders to bear those costs.

What happens when the study is complete?

After the study is complete, a recommended alternative will be presented to the Ogden City Council and the UTA Board of Trustees. If the City Council and board accept the recommendations made by the study’s stakeholder advisory committee, the next steps are to seek funding for implementation,  design development, and ultimately project construction.

How are public comments used in the decision-making process?

The project team realizes that community input is essential for developing a successful project. A public involvement program has been designed to coincide with key decision points. Information about public comment opportunities (online and in-person) will be regularly posted on this site as they become available.

How can I provide feedback to the project team?

Information about public comment opportunities will be regularly posted on the website. You can also find out about upcoming open houses and public comment opportunities by liking RideUTA on Facebook or following @RideUTA on Twitter. Throughout the study process there will also be opportunities to comment via Open UTA (UTA’s online civic engagement forum). To learn more about Open UTA and to register for an account, please visit www.rideuta.com/openuta. You can also contact the project team via email at Ogden-WSU@rideuta.com or via phone at 801-236-4798.

PUBLIC INVOLVMENT
Meaningful public involvement is a key component of the transportation planning process. It ensures that decisions are made with the public in mind and projects meet public needs and preferences. Public and stakeholder input throughout all phases of the project are crucial to a successful outcome.

UTA is committed to engaging the public and stakeholders throughout all phases of this project. The intent of this public involvement program is to provide affected residents, business owners and members of the public, including traditionally under-represented populations, with opportunities to learn about potential alternatives and provide feedback to help inform decisions made by local policy makers and the UTA Board of Trustees. 

This study will feature an extensive public involvement program with diverse public involvement opportunities including regular advisory committee meetings with local government and stakeholder representatives, updates to elected officials, a series of community focus groups, a community telephone survey, extensive grassroots outreach to the local business community, presentations to community interest groups, public open houses and expanded opportunities for the public to comment online.

CONTACT US
We’re interested in hearing what you have to say. Feel free to send us a comment.

If you’re interested in having project representatives meet with your community group or business, just give us a call or send us an email.

Phone: 801-236-4798
Email: Ogden-WSU@rideuta.com

 

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