Murray commits to more bike paths and walkwaysOct 01, 2022 08:00PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
While highly sought-after walkable communities with many bicycle options are often left to a municipality to figure out, Murray City joined six other communities to expand those options beyond its borders. At the Aug. 23 Murray City Council meeting, the council approved a resolution committing itself to the Mid-Valley Active Transportation Plan (Mid-Valley ATP).
The Mid-Valley ATP connects and develops an active transportation Backbone Network (bike lanes and walkways) across six cities: Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray and Taylorsville. The plan was created by the six cities as well as the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Salt Lake County, and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA).
Hoping to establish better options for residents and visitors to get around the communities safely, the plan aspires to provide regional connections between communities for walking, biking, scooters and public transportation. The Mid-Valley ATP will connect along shared city boundaries and address needs specific to each community.
“It’s a commitment from Murray City and our neighbors to work together to create a backbone network of active transportation, i.e., bicyclists and pedestrian pathways, to connect our cities,” Murray City Engineer Chris Zawislak told the council.
In 2021, the collaborating governments surveyed residents to determine needs that would encourage active transportation.
“The backbone network was narrowed down from the input of those comments and the input of each of the member cities,” Zawislak said.
One of the Mid-Valley ATP’s primary aims is to create a regional Backbone Network of active transportation facilities connecting the cities. The plan approaches the study area as a collective region and looks at each municipality individually. This allows each city to take a detailed look at bicycle and pedestrian facilities within its city limits and at the larger scale of regional connections surrounding its borders. This highly collaborative planning process identifies needs, gaps, opportunities and constraints to produce a list of 244 total projects. Of these projects, 31 were selected to create the Backbone Network for the Mid-Valley ATP.
“One of the benefits of Mid-Valley ATP is that it helps not only just communicating between our neighboring cities but also helps with getting state, federal and county funds. For active transportation, we don’t necessarily have to follow the plans or the guidelines set there, but they do provide that lane for which we will decide how it goes,” Zawislak said.
Of the 31 projects, Murray’s highest priority is creating a bike lane on 900 East. This project starts in Millcreek at Elgin Avenue (3000 South) and extends southward to Hillcrest High School (7300 South) in Midvale. The project’s estimated costs for the three cities comes out to $140,000, of which Murray’s responsibility would equal $53,000.
Project No. 5 is located along 4800 South and extends four miles from 900 East in Murray to Redwood Road in Taylorsville. Buffered bike lanes are the primary facility type for this conceptual design and run along both sides of the road until about 1,000 feet before 4800 South meets 700 East. Safety is a heightened concern at that location due to traffic on and heading toward 700 East. Here, the buffered bike lanes become a single, protected cycle track along the south side of the road. This cycle track offers added protection around 700 East as the project turns to join 900 East. Where the cycle track begins along 4800 South, curbs are extended out into the road. These curb extensions cause vehicles to slow down due to the reduced width of drivable pavement and provides a safe crossing for pedestrians using the sidewalk on the north side of the road. In addition, this design calls for removed parking in specific locations along 4800 South. The total price tag for this project tallies in at $3.6 million, with Murray fronting $2.1 million of that.
“Obviously, if there is an onus amongst the community to have something more than what’s proposed, I think that’s something that Murray City and public works are more than happy to evaluate. The key importance is making sure for us that we provide a safe place for cyclists and pedestrians,” Zawislak said.
More information about the Mid-Valley ATP can be found online at midvalleyatp.com.