cycling utah October 1999

Community support evident at Parley's Crossing opening

By Steve Klass

August 27, 1999 was a turning point in facility development and public relations for Utah cycling. Over 400 people attended the ribbon cutting for Phase One of Parley's Crossing and the first annual Regional Trail Fair.

This $2.3 million phase creates two bridges and a dedicated linking pathway connecting Wasatch Drive and Wasatch Boulevard north to south across the mouth of Parley's Canyon.

A tunnel under I-215, providing connectivity east to west, constitutes Phase Two of the Parley's Crossing Project. The 160 foot long structure, estimated to cost $800,000, will open the gateway for a major regional bike path connecting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to Sugar House (and ultimately the Jordan River Pathway) and to Summit County (and ultimately the Rail Trail to Coalville). The Parley's Creek and Canyon Corridor Trail is being championed by a newly formed citizens' committee hosted by the Bonneville Resource Conser-vation and Development Coun-cil, a nonprofit organization.

Governor Michael Leavitt set the tone with some light and brief remarks but also did not hesitate to take a ceremonial ride across the south bridge on a bike offered to him immediately after the ribbon cutting.

Tom Warne, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Transportation declared that "this is UDOT's flagship bicycle and pedestrian project" and would not be the last of its kind.

Michael Ritchie, the Division Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, that agency's top representative in Utah, applauded the community's efforts and encouraged them to do more.

Warne also mentioned the value of partnership and the involvement of the private sector in doing these types of projects.

Zeke Dumke Jr., having made the largest of four private contributions critical to the successful launching of the project, indicated the vision of the project appealed to him from the start and the demonstration of widespread community and public agency support strengthened his resolve to help.

The most significant commitment to the future and enthusiastic support for cycling came from Salt Lake County Com-missioner Brent Overson.

Overson indicated the priority of the County to do more for family recreation and alternative commuting, citing extensive Jordan River pathway facilities. Representing the largest financial contributor to the project next to the FHWA and UDOT, the Commissioner pledged $200,000 towards the second phase of the Project, a tunnel under I-215 between the Grandeur Peak and Canyon Rim neighborhoods. He challenged the Salt Lake City mayoral candidates and transportation officials present to work with the County to complete the project.

The Regional Trail Fair reinforced the regional significance of the event, involving representatives from a range of interests across northern Utah.

Approximately a dozen entities provided information on a variety of cycling and trails initiatives.

The Phase One ribbon cutting culminates four years of effort by a citizens project steering group calling itself the Parley's Crossing Steering Committee.

Core committee members were recruited to represent the neighborhoods close to the project area and provide the expertise needed to identify and surmount barriers with tenacity and endurance. Carrie Dickson (community council president for the Mount Olympus area, BST Routes and Standards Committee Chair and veteran Salt Lake County activist) and Bruce Alder (principal in Alder Construction, Arcadia Heights Benchmark Community Council member and BST Routes and Standards member) were selected as co-chairs.

The intensive community-building phase took place in late 1995 and early 1996, with community councils for a 5-mile radius, government entities and a multitude of trail, bike, and recreational organizations endorsing the project. Important seed funds from private trail patrons were secured during this period. A large grant and matching funds were received from the Utah Department of Transpor-tation (UDOT) and Federal Highway Administration in summer of 1996. Salt Lake County partnership to UDOT was attained also I 1996.

Both UDOT and Salt Lake County increased their funding commitments twice during the course of project fund raising as cost estimates were revised upwards. In 1997, the Utah Trail Connection Program was established to support this type of project and two awards were received from this program As summary of funding sources and amounts is shown in the table.

Back to Home Page