main street traffic

Vehicles travel along Main Street in Logan on Monday afternoon.

Logan has partnered with the Utah Department of Transportation to begin a high-level planning effort to explore solutions for the congested Main Street corridor.

The effort began this year when newly elected Logan Mayor Holly Daines met with UDOT officials to discuss the future of Logan’s transportation network. As a candidate last year she supported moving forward on the second phase of a one-way couplet study for downtown. Instead of pursuing a project-based study, however, UDOT and Logan officials decided to pursue a broader corridor planning process.

“This is really being driven by the mayor, and we’re supporting,” Jeff Harris, state planning director for UDOT, said.

Harris said jumping right into a specific project, like one-way couplets, can sometimes lead to a lack of context and understanding of what the community wants. The corridor planning process, on the other hand, is based on gathering community stakeholders, finding out what they want, examining the growth projections and setting goals for the corridor.

“Once you establish that context, then you can answer the question about how does this corridor need to function in order to support all of that,” Harris said.

Daines said a stakeholder meeting was conducted last Friday by a UDOT consultant. The next step is a public meeting for anyone who wants to be involved in the future of Logan transportation.

“This is the beginning of the conversation,” Daines said.

Right now, it’s a very broad process. Harris said UDOT isn’t even thinking about specific projects. He said UDOT is taking a more inclusive approach and looking at the transportation system as a whole instead of through one lens, like cars. By the end of the corridor study process, solutions could revolve around road improvements, or they could focus on mass transit or multi-modal options.

“Let’s start thinking about a system of improvements, start thinking about it as a system; that’s why we’re trying to say it’s not just about U.S. 89, it’s about the entire transportation system in Logan,” Harris said.

Jeff Gilbert, planner for Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization, said Logan has been curious for years about solutions to congestion on Main Street. It’s a problem with no clear solutions. One-way couplets, however, is one potential option.

The concept of one-way streets in downtown Logan first appeared in the city’s General Plan about 10 years ago. Then, in 2013, Logan commissioned a one-way couplet feasibility study. Traffic models showed that one-way couplets in Logan could work, but the study didn’t include much public input. The UDOT planning process could eventually help determine if one-way couplets are possible in Logan.

“We may end up in the same place where the couplet is the likely solution, but I think everyone, and the mayor included, felt it would be good to step back a little bit,” Gilbert said. Twitter: @RealSeanDolan