Herriman city council candidate answers: Transportation
I would like to sincerely thank the four candidates for taking the time to address my questions. I have included links to their respective websites and/or Facebook pages below.
Here is my original question for the candidates on the topic of the transportation:
Herriman City has very limited public transportation service provided by Utah Transit Authority in the form of one bus route that takes riders to the Daybreak TRAX station by way of the LDS Church Riverton Office Building and The District. As such, there is no easy way for a resident in Herriman to take advantage of public transportation to get to Draper, for example, or to Lehi/Thanksgiving Point.
The UTA TRAX line that currently terminates in Daybreak will some day come into Herriman, but this only provides transportation to the areas served by the TRAX system, which is far from comprehensive.
How do you think Herriman's public transportation needs should be met?
I would support a more integrated public transportation system. We have a small enough community where we should be able to easily integrate more public transportation without increasing costs dramatically.
UTA has proposed 3 routes that would bring TRAX to Herriman. The leading route would go through the future SLCC campus site, to the Herriman Towne Center, down 136th to Bangerter, then over to the Hospital and down 12400 South. Having a station at the Towne Center will give residents an option to utilize TRAX, plus a TRAX line would bring more businesses into Herriman. I support a TRAX line to the Towne Center, but do not think it should go further into Herriman so that we can maintain the rural atmosphere.
I am an absolute supporter of public transportation and the development of TOD (transit oriented development) within a community, particularly where it makes sense, along transportation corridors. The town center was developed with that concept in mind. I've attended many transportation meetings where the discussion revolves around the transformation of cities from the traditional large lot/single family dwellings into more diversified communities with a variety of densities. Why? Because that is the trend we are seeing with people's wants and desires for their lifestyle. We are seeing empty nesters and millennials that simply don't want the same lifestyle as generations before them. Across the board, cities are looking to their planning to accommodate this desire, as they should. I digressed into density a bit, so let me "squirrel" back on topic and come back to that :). Right now one of the alignments with TRAX does extend the terminus in South Jordan into Herriman, through Riverton and into Draper. That being said, that alignment has been and will continue to be challenged by our neighboring cities for their own commercial competitive advantage. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see the fight get more challenging with the announcement of their large commercial development and I'm sure a desire to have TRAX bypass Herriman altogether. I will fight hard for Herriman to be included in that alignment.
This is one area where I feel I can be a huge advantage to Herriman as a city council member. I have established relationships with Wasatch Front Regional Council, UTA, Salt Lake County, elected officials of both SoJo and Riverton and legislators. They know me, they've worked with me and, as such, I feel I can be an asset in making sure we are known as "players" in these many issues.
We have been active on the Corridor Preservation Committee for years and have received countless funds to help us preserve our transportation right-of-way. We need to continue our firm voice with our transportation needs, whether that be with TRAX, BRT (bus rapid transit), etc. This becomes increasingly important as we look to move forward with the Salt Lake Community College campus. I was the liaison on the campus development plan when I was at the city and helped us secure funding for the road construction. Public transportation is an absolute necessity for that campus to be successful.
I support the current project to bring TRAX into the Herriman Towne Center and then on to the New Community College. This will greatly increase the convenience and use of TRAX by Herriman Residents. As we grow, We will look to have UTA expand their bus routes to serve a greater number of residents. I expect much of that will happen as they TRAX line is built. As a City, we can protect the right of way for these public transit systems to ensure that we have somewhere to put them when we are ready to have them build.
I differ with all of these candidates in that I would like to see TRAX disassembled and UTA return to using buses as their primary method of providing public transit to Wasatch Front. Light rail and commuter rail (FrontRunner) have a significantly higher per-ridership-mile cost than buses and less flexibility (because they are tied to the tracks and can not be rerouted). In addition, the population density along the Wasatch Front is not high enough for rail-based transit to be a cost-effective mode of public transit. The public voted down light rail transit multiple times before UTA went ahead with construction and rollout of their TRAX system using federal grant money.
The small pragmatic side of me knows it's highly unlikely TRAX and FrontRunner will ever be shut down, so it's probably best that we just try to minimize our losses going forward. With that being said, it would seem bringing TRAX into Herriman is an inevitability and we should just push for the minimum amount of cost involved. We should push for more bus service so that Herriman residents can get to their desired destinations via public transit without taking a TRAX or FrontRunner train out of their way.
While none of the candidates came close to matching my views on this, Valarie Kingsbury expressed the most limited vision for rail transit in Herriman so she is my pick.