US 89 May Become Freeway and Remove Bike Access – Public Comments to be Taken

January 16, 2018 – The Utah Department of Transportation is working towards converting US Highway 89 from Fruit Heights to I-84 in South Ogden, Utah from a highway to a closed access freeway where bicycles and pedestrians would not be allowed. The controversial conversion is in study form currently. A public hearing is scheduled for January 18, 2018, and public comments are being accepted via email as well.

The study doesn't account for current bike and pedestrian use of the existing shoulder of 89 and only mentions nearby bike and pedestrian facilities. 

Regarding future bike and pedestrian facilities, the study refers to future plans by the local communities for bike and pedestrian facilities (not by UDOT):

Bicycle Lanes

Additional bicycle lanes are planned along US-89 from Nicholls Road in the south to the South Weber town limit in the north. Bicycle lanes are also planned on South Weber Drive, SR-193, Oak Hills Drive, Crestwood Road, 400 North, Country Road, Green Road, Nicholls Road, Mountain Road east of US-89, and Farmington Main Street.

Shared-Use Paths

Local plans show a shared-use path along US-89 between Farmington Main Street and Oak Hills Drive.

Additional paths cross or intersect US-89 in the following locations:

• Bair Creek (see Map 4 in Volume 2)

• Mutton Hollow Road (see Map 7 in Volume 2)

• Oak Hills Drive, leading to Holmes Reservoir (see Map 8 in Volume 2)

• Gordon Avenue (see Map 10 in Volume 2)

• Kays Creek/Layton Ridge Drive (see Map 13 in Volume 2)

• Weber-Davis Canal (see Map 15 in Volume 2)

• South Weber Drive (see Map 16 in Volume 2)

• Weber River (see Map 17 in Volume 2)

A connector trail also links the Weber-Davis Canal Trail and Weber River Parkway Trail along the west side of US-89 (see Maps 15, 16, and 17 in volume 2).

Comments will be taken on the Revised Draft State Environmental Study at a public hearing on January 16, 2018. Download the full pdf here (large file): Full Draft document (combined files – download only) See page 3-18 for information on bicycles and pedestrians. 

Public Hearing information:

Tuesday, January 16
Davis High School Auditorium
325 Main Street
Kaysville, UT 84037

4:30 to 7:30 PM

Comments can also be submitted via email: [email protected] (email) or 888-752-US89.

Comments on the Revised Draft US 89 State Environmental Study will be accepted from January 2 through February 3, 2018.

Details on public input: http://www.udot.utah.gov/us89/public-meetings/#collapse-6

Highway 89 from Fruit Heights to S. Ogden, Utah may be converted to a closed access freeway which would eliminate bicycle and pedestrian access. Graphic from the Draft Study.
Highway 89 from Fruit Heights to S. Ogden, Utah may be converted to a closed access freeway which would eliminate bicycle and pedestrian access. Graphic from the Draft Study.

Commentary by Cycling Utah (submitted to UDOT):

The 2018 Revised Draft US 89 State Environmental Study completely minimizes the importance and current use of the 89 corridor for bicycles. It only looks at existing bike lanes, and disregards the current use of the shoulder of 89 for bikes and pedestrians. Additionally, there is little information on the replacement route in the document suggested by Wayne Bennion of WFRC. A shared use path can be ok, but can have huge issues if not done correctly. While UDOT is revamping the freeway, they are not properly accounting for the current use of the corridor by cyclists and pedestrians.

From the study, it appears as though UDOT is leaving it up to the local communities to replace bike access on the frontage roads and the crossings of 89. This may or may not happen and is not dependent on the project. UDOT is removing access, but not replacing it. The highway should not be converted unless the full complement of bike and pedestrian facilties is in place prior to conversion. This should be a requirement of the project.

In addition to the impact to local cyclists and pedestrians, the freeway would effectively eliminate the Morgan Loop recreational bike route (Salt Lake City to I-84 via Highway 89, then on I-84 to the backroads by Morgan, East Canyon, to Emigration Canyon/Little Mountain Summit), and back to Salt Lake City.

The draft study is inadequate and should be reworked to properly account for bicyclist and pedestrian use of the corridor.

Additionally, from a traffic demand perspective, the conversion of the highway will only lead to induced demand, and will not solve the transportation issues in the corridor. There is only 1 mention in the document of ‘mass transit', and minimal mention of UTA. Only 2 bus routes currently serve the corridor, and no rail service. The study does not appear to mention increased or added rail service on the corridor. UDOT seems to be moving forward with doing the same thing, and expecting new results.

The entire study should probably be redone to account completely for alternative transportation forms, both existing and planned.

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