A Utah Department of Transportation consultant on Tuesday asked the people of Logan what they value most when it comes to the congested Main Street corridor.
The people spoke — or placed dots next to seven guiding principles, rather — and concluded that their most important value is to “uphold our quality of life,” followed by enhancing transportation choices.
It’s a small step forward in a long-term planning process. UDOT consultant Kim Clark said her goal Tuesday was to find out what the community cares about. Next, Clark will take that quantitative data and combine it with technical information, like traffic data, to help form a plan to improve Main Street. Specific projects to improve or change Main Street are not up for discussion at this point.
“We can come up with technical needs really well, but this helps us with identifying the needs of the community,” Clark said at the meeting.
It all started earlier this year when Mayor Holly Daines expressed an interest in moving forward with the second phase of a one-way couplet study. About 10 years ago, Logan hired a consultant to come up with several scenarios for one-way streets. The plan suggested that couplets could move more traffic with less pavement.
Logan Public Works Director Paul Lindhardt said the city this year approached UDOT with the idea of moving forward with a comprehensive one-way couplet study, and UDOT then offered a more holistic planning approach to the entire Main Street corridor.
“They came to us and said, ‘Hey what if we did this?’ and we really liked it,” Lindhardt said.
UDOT Region 1 Director Kris Peterson said the state agency cares about the whole picture and not just one aspect of transportation. That includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation and the needs of the community. But different stakeholders have different needs, so it’s important to understand and balance those desires.
“If you’re Logan, this corridor means something different to you than if you are Nibley or if you are Smithfield,” Peterson said.
The guiding principles discussed Tuesday include the movement of goods and people from Smithfield to Nibley, protecting the region’s environmental conditions, creating easier east-west connectivity and supporting regional sustainable growth and development.
Jordy Guth, USU campus planner, said she thinks safety should be more of a focus. There are pedestrian deaths and bad accidents on Main Street every year.
“I think that Main Street tends to be a barrier, and so they’re doing unsafe things to get there,” Guth said in an interview after the meeting.
She said the one-way couplet study mentioned reducing the number of lanes on Main Street and possibly making it more of a boulevard with a center median. She said that would create a refuge for pedestrians in the middle of the crosswalk.
Kevin Brown, a freshman civil engineering major at USU, said he would like to see more regional public transportation options, like a bus service to Ogden. He said he has used ride-sharing service Zimride to connect with other students headed home, but he can’t always find a ride, so he recently bought a car.
“If I could get to Ogden I could transfer to another bus, but it only goes to Brigham City,” Brown said.
With fresh data in hand, Clark said she will likely return to Logan early next year for another meeting with Cache County residents. Daines said the current planning process is a long-term effort, and it’s important to gather community input.
“It’s a UDOT road, but it’s our Main Street,” Daines said.