A long-range transportation plan designed to handle traffic until the year 2005 was practically ridden out of town on a rail Wednesday night by Farmington City Council members, who were visibly underwhelmed by the plan's research and proposals.
Council members reviewed the plan for Davis and Salt Lake counties drawn up by the Wasatch Front Regional Council. Farmington council members indicated the plan has little to do with the realities the city is facing now in planning roads and traffic patterns to handle projected growth west of I-15.Regional council staff members have been appearing at city council and county commission meetings along the Wasatch Front, briefing government officials on their study.
Staff member Doug Hattery told the Farmington council that better access to Salt Lake County and downtown Salt Lake City is a major need, recommending an upgraded I-15 corridor, eventual construction of the West Davis highway, upgrading U-106 (Second East in Farmington and Main Street in Centerville), and establishing express bus service between Farmington and Salt Lake.
Councilmembers pointed out several flaws in the proposal, most notably the recommendation that U-106 be upgraded to four lanes.
City Manager Max Forbush pointed out the two-lane road is hemmed in closely by houses along its entire length, a problem the city is dealing with this summer with the installation of curb, gutter and sidewalk.
"You'd have to take out rows of houses for miles and miles to expand that street," said Councilman Don Redd. He recommended that the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) drop the road from its inventory of highways, turning it over to the city, and use its resources for more worthwhile projects such as the proposed West Davis Highway.
Hattery assured the council that Wasatch Front staffers had coordinated with UDOT in their study. Councilman Don White Jr. told him that instead of hanging on to or acquiring additional right-of-way along Second East for eventual expansion, UDOT is giving up land bordering the road.
Hattery said the regional council study recommends construction of the West Davis highway parallel to I-15 and north from Redwood Road in Salt Lake County to about Parrish Lane in Centerville by the year 2005. Plans to expand it north from there, eventually tying into Bluff Road in west Layton, would follow that, he said.
Council members pointed out that the West Davis highway should have a higher priority because it is a vital link in access to the new Davis County jail and court complex, under construction now in west Farmington.
Right-of-way for the highway should be secured now, council members urged, while land is available instead of some time in the next century when the city anticipates all available land will be built out.
Council members also asked about an additional I-15 interchange in the Farmington-Kaysville area, suggesting the two unfinished rest stops off the freeway near Burton Lane be considered.
Residents west of I-15 in the two cities have no way of getting onto the freeway except doubling back into town, the council pointed out, again a critical factor for law enforcement officers stationed at the new county jail and sheriff's headquarters.
Some joint talks between Farmington and Kaysville have already been carried out on a new interchange, Forbush said, serving the Burton Lane and Shepard Lane areas.
Hattery indicated no interchange is included in the transportation plan and said UDOT has a policy of asking cities that want interchanges to help pay for building them.