By 2040, Wasatch Front residents want: housing options, well-developed city centers, a variety of bike and pedestrian routes, mass transit and good roads.
On Friday, Envision Utah released a new planning guide that it says will help cities give residents what they want. The plan is called Wasatch Choices 2040 and was developed after two years of public workshops. It outlines how municipalities can make decisions to reduce traffic congestion, create desirable developments, preserve open space and enhance quality of life.
"This is a way of directing our growth and making sure it maintains our quality of life," said West Valley Mayor Dennis Nordfelt, who also is chairman of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, which, along with the Mountainland Association of Governments, commissioned the study.
To create the plan, Envision Utah held a series of workshops over the past two years in four counties: Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber. About 1,000 people attended the meetings and gave input on questions such as where new development should happen and where roads and transit should be located.
The study found that "transportation choices help determine where growth will occur and how much land area will be developed," according to the planning guide.
The Wasatch Choices plan outlines 10 strategies to help cities create the types of development people want. One strategy shows how cities can create transit-oriented developments. The planning guide says that most developments perform better if they are located near a transit line and provide walkable access to homes, offices and stores.
The other strategies focus on redeveloping land, preserving future routes for roads and utilities, creating walkable city centers, providing a variety of housing options and developing a network of road and pedestrian paths.
Ted Knowlton, Envision Utah planning director, said that if cities adopt the plan, it could lead to 18 percent less congestion, 12 percent more transit use and 23 fewer square miles of urbanized land.To date, only a few cities such as West Valley City have adopted parts in the plan. George Ramjoue, a planner with the regional council, said Friday that the next goal for his agency is to travel to cities and counties to promote the plan.