Salt Lake City revamps transportation Master Plan with focus on equity, multi-modal railways

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Officials in Salt Lake City, Utah, said they would be overhauling the city’s Master Plan for the first time in more than 25 years to focus on equity and multi-modal railways.

Last updated in 1996, the new master plan is expected to carry the city’s transportation vision and values through the next four decades.

“Transportation options have changed significantly in the past 25 years, and so has Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “It’s time to view our roadways as assets for all our residents and visitors, not only those who drive automobiles.”

The new plan, called “Connect SLC,” will guide the implementation of future projects across all modes of transportation, including vehicular, public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle, planners said. Additionally, the plan will reference other transportation plans, including the Transit Master Plan, adopted in 2017; and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, adopted in 2015. ‘

At the heart of the plan will be equity, considering that many communities on the city’s west side face significant barriers when attempting to travel to the city’s east side. Other concerns include high transportation costs, historic disinvestment, and geographic distribution of transportation infrastructure.

“The Transportation Master Plan is important to me because I believe safe, affordable, and accessible transportation should be available to everyone,” said Tessa Nicolaides, a member of the Transportation Master Plan Community Advisory Council. “I have seen firsthand how much transportation plays into job and housing stability. Because transportation is what ensures that people can reach everyday destinations, such as jobs, schools, food, and healthcare, it needs to be accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status.”

The Transportation Division’s Community Advisory Council and the city will engage with community members over the summer to gather guidance from the public, and the plan is expected to be submitted to City Council in the fall of 2022.