Murray City receives transportation grant for Central Station
Murray City was awarded a Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) grant for continued development of the Murray Central TRAX and FrontRunner station. (Mandy Ditto/City Journals)
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Murray City was awarded a Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) grant for continued development of the Murray Central TRAX and FrontRunner station in April.
The purpose of the TLC program is to help cities facilitate their desired growth coordinated with transportation — like TRAX — across the Wasatch Front. The TLC grant program is led by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) and funded by partnering with Salt Lake County, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). This year, TLC grants adding up to $909,000 were given to 16 communities across the Wasatch Front.
Because the grants are often used to facilitate development in areas that already have existing infrastructure, “they don’t need a new road, they don’t need a lot of new, local infrastructure to be built… so it costs less for that form of development,” said Ted Knowlton, deputy director of the WFRC.
Along with being less expensive, developing in areas near regional transportation infrastructure helps new businesses and residents use public transportation or drive shorter distances. Overall this reduces demands on our roads, Knowlton said.
Murray Central Station is unique because, besides two stations inside Salt Lake City boundaries, it is the only area with both light rail (TRAX lines) and commuter rail (FrontRunner) within walking distance.
“This makes it an incredibly strategic piece of land for the metro area, and it’s also the first project for which Murray City has received a TLC award,” Knowlton said. “Murray City, their city council working with their residents and land owners, they are completely in charge of the outcome. This is a locally controlled project, with assistance from the TLC program.”
The grant is specifically for a small-area plan for development around the Murray Central station, said Jared Hall, Murray City’s Community and Economic Development division manager.
“The small-area plan would be one for focusing on land use, creation of design guidelines, a market study to see what kinds of uses we should be trying to bring into the area, an accessibility study to see what things we could do to make that station more accessible to people on bikes, on foot, and more used than it already is,” Hall said.
The plan will also show how development of the station itself can also interrelate with the area around it, to provide maximum usage and accessibility for the area, he said.
Before any of the planning will begin for the small-area development around the station, the City Public Works department will put out a request for a proposal to get a lease to hire a consultant to help put the plan together. The grant money will be available for use this summer, Hall said.
The recently adopted new general plan for Murray City states that there should be some areas looked at for development with small-area plans, and this TLC grant helps to further that goal and use the general plan, he said. It also furthers the goals of the regional vision plan for the Wasatch Front, in developing land use and transportation at TRAX and FrontRunner lines.
“Murray kind of occupies a unique place here in the center of the valley, and there aren’t many places on those two lines where you have a train platform that runs between the light rail line and commuter rail line,” Hall said. “It’s a good, busy platform and we want to make the most of it.”