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Midvale Journal

Midvale receives grant for transit-oriented development planning

Jun 02, 2017 11:07AM ● By Travis Barton

The Bingham Junction TRAX station with surrounding buildings is an example of transit-oriented development. (Ruth Hendricks/City Journals)

By Ruth Hendricks | [email protected]

Midvale is one of 16 Wasatch Front communities to receive a Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) program grant for projects encouraging economic development around TRAX community and transportation centers.

The TLC grant program is led by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) and funded through a partnership with Salt Lake County, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). TLC uses grant funds to support local governments with technical expertise and resources, which further local planning efforts and advance the individual vision of each community.

Ted Knowlton, deputy director at WFRC, said that there are two goals of the grant. The first is to help communities achieve their long-term vision to improve the city. The second goal is to have a land use planning focus for new development.

“The focus is on where development happens,” said Knowlton, “especially where there is a transportation benefit along with the other benefits.”

Utah’s population is expected to nearly double by 2050, so the grant is to help cities plan for a future that includes better connectivity, greater mobility, balanced development and increased prosperity.

This year’s grantees will use the funding to initiate plans and projects to foster more active transportation; encourage zoning and land use patterns that offer transportation choices; analyze and plan for the future of major corridors in the Salt Lake Valley; and develop centers within communities to support economic development and affordable living.

Knowlton explained that “Placing new development by a TRAX stop makes it likely that people nearby will use it, which is good for all. It makes the region a great place by reducing demands on the roads, as well reducing air pollution and emissions.”

Cities applied for the competitive grant.

“Midvale did a great job talking about their vision for the city and had a compelling application that showed how the greater metropolitan area would benefit,” said Knowlton.

Midvale’s area plan will address land use and economic development around the TRAX Midvale Fort Union and TRAX Midvale Center stations. Analysis of the stations and surrounding neighborhoods, a conceptual plan and an implementation plan make up the key components of the project. Transit-oriented development surrounding the Midvale stations will bolster ridership and economic development through the creation of growth centers, as well as strengthen the overall sense of community in these areas.

Now that the resources have been granted, the city is in complete control of the planning process. Phillip Hill, Midvale assistant city manager and community development director, said that the grant Midvale received is for $65,000, plus there is a $10,000 match from the city.

The funds will be used to look at the current zoning ordinances for small area planning, which looks at architecture, parking, and the transition from higher density land use to the single-family neighborhoods.

“Putting people next to transit is good. We’re suburban, so we want to give people the option to use transit. But we are concerned about how this transitions to the single-family homes,” said Hill.

The city plans to hire a consultant who will do 3-D modelling of the plans.

“A committee and the city council will review it,” said Hill.

The next fiscal year’s budget for Midvale will be set after July 1. Hill hopes that starting around August they can begin the process to select a consultant. They plan to have a steering committee which would include residents, city staff and a council member.