IRON COUNTY — The cities of Cedar City and Enoch are in the process of developing a comprehensive master transportation plan for the area.
According to a recent news release from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, the plan is designed to help the communities prepare for future growth “by planning how to best connect people by car, bike, on foot or other modes of transportation.”
The $100,000 planning project is being funded by the Utah Department of Transportation and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, which together are providing approximately $94,000. The cities of Cedar City and Enoch are contributing $3,000 apiece.
“We’re happy to collaborate with Enoch and appreciate the support from UDOT and the health department,” Cedar City Manager Paul Bittmenn said in the news release, adding, “The active transportation emphasis of this effort is particularly appreciated. Walking, running and cycling continue to be of more interest to our citizens.”
Added Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson: “The dynamics of transportation have been changing for some time and this plan is the first of its kind for our area. Adding the active transportation component will assist in future growth and help us increase safety as we connect our community.”
After making a request for proposals, the two municipalities have hired Avenue Consultants to produce and develop the transportation master plan, using input from key stakeholders, including members of the public. The consulting firm has set up a website that includes details about the plan, along with a schedule that outlines steps to be completed between now and April 2021.
The website’s timeline includes public meetings where citizens will be able to provide comments and input. Users also may give feedback using the website at any time, marking the locations they are referring to on the site’s interactive maps.
Dotson, who took part in a meeting with other stakeholders earlier this week, told Cedar City News on Thursday the committee is in the process of developing and refining a vision statement for the master plan. He noted there were two primary ideas upon which the group agreed.
“Number one was that this has to be an action plan,” he said. “This can’t be a plan that sits on a shelf somewhere, right? It has to be a long-term action plan.”
“Number two is the public has to be involved,” Dotson added. “Public input is vital. Because, as an administrator, I’m not out there and I don’t see all the issues. I don’t see it from a perspective of a biker or somebody that jogs or something, because I don’t do that. I don’t see it from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t have a car. How do they get to where they need to be for a doctor or a dentist appointment?”
Dotson said he hopes the master plan will be a useful blueprint that will shape the future of transportation in the community for decades to come. He said the planning process will take into account population growth projections and anticipated traffic loads, particularly along key roadways such as state Route 56 and state Route 130.
“Right now, Cedar City has a great trails map and green trails program. Enoch City is fledgling in that we’re just beginning that process … but we have some connectivity problems. SR-130 and Highway 91 right there at the Maverik and the bowling alley, that is a choke point.”
UDOT is currently moving forward with plans to construct a roundabout and other improvements along SR-130.
“My vision, and the reason why we’re really pushing this, is because with the growth we’re seeing right now, and the change that’s happening in our society with fuel consumption and people being more active, there needs to be connectivity,” Dotson said.
According to the news release, the transportation master plan will serve as a guide for developing roadways, coordinating infrastructure improvements with land uses and responding to future growth and demands on the transportation network.
“These plans also include strategies to improve safety, minimize congestion, preserve local character and improve the health of residents,” the news release added.
The active transportation component of the plan aims to lay the foundation for what types of cycling and walking trails are to be built.
Kye Nordfelt, Southwest Utah Public Health Department’s director of health promotions, added: “Cities that install bike lanes and improve sidewalks see residents who exercise more and generally have better physical and mental health.”
For more information about the master transportation plan or to provide feedback, visit the website.
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