West Davis Corridor project unveiled amid criticism

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 7:40 p.m. MDT

“We have very seriously considered these alternatives and made our recommendation,” Jefferies said. “We know it affects thousands of lives and affects the environment as well, so we want to get it right.”

UDOT has faced harsh criticism by opponents of the project.

This month a coalition of groups issued a joint declaration in support of what they call the "shared solution" and urged that the alternative be given fair consideration.

Distributed to the governor's office, UDOT, the Utah division of the Federal Highway Administration and multiple Utah lawmakers, the "shared solution" embraced several components, including emphasis on locally focused roadway design.

According to Roger Borgernicht, co-chairman of Utahns for Better Transportation, the plan also calls for innovative intersections and "boulevard community development" that incorporates housing, retail and employment on any given stretch of roadway.

He said the value in boulevard communities is that they reduce vehicle miles traveled by placing housing, jobs and services close to each other — something this latest proposal fails to accomplish.

“We should do 'smart sequencing' of a shared solution for future mobility, looking at cars, looking at transit, looking at bicycling and looking at communities that allow walking to some (destinations),” Borgernicht said. “A balanced transportation approach that leads to shared solutions.

He said the coalition preferred that the environmental impact study not been issued because the group's shared solution would be a much more reasonable alternative than building another highway.

Farmington City Manager David Millheim said he was disappointed with UDOT's recommendation but he stopped short of criticism.

“I may not agree with every nuanced interpretation, but I think (UDOT) is trying really hard to explain why the road is needed,” Millheim said. “I’m not going to throw stones at the process at this point because everyone is working hard to try to navigate a very difficult minefield.”

He offered support for the proposal to develop the roadway to mitigate projected growth along the corridor, but also noted that the development process must be conducted in a fair and equitable fashion for all involved.

“This highway is very important,” he said. “We want to make sure the (recommended) route is the smartest route.”

Comments on the proposal can by posted online at udot.utah.gov/westdavis. UDOT has scheduled three public hearings on the proposal. Each is from 6 to 9 p.m.

June 11 at the Legacy Events Center, 151 S. 110 West, Farmington.

June 12 at West Point Jr. High, 277 W. 550 North, West Point.

June 13 at Freedom Elementary, 4555 W. 5500 South, Hooper.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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