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The City Journals

Road Work Ahead, Murray reveals new transportation plan

Oct 04, 2021 01:56PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray’s new master transportation plan highlights projects to be completed over the near future. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Better sidewalks and more active transportation routes are what Murrayites want to see most in future transportation projects. According to the Murray City Transportation Plan released in August, Murray residents want a more walkable community with better bike lanes and pedestrian pathways. 

The previous plan was developed and adopted in 2006, and a significant number of the projects identified then have been completed. However, other projects, such as downtown’s Hanauer Street continuation, were not identified in it.

“Since the last plan, there has been significant growth and number of changes in our City’s Land Use Regulations including the development of a new general plan which includes a number of identified zoning changes which directly affect transportation levels of service (LOS) throughout the City,” Murray City Engineer Trae Stoke said. “Ideally, the plan is updated every 10 years; however, it was important to integrate updated land use and other elements from the 2017 general plan into the transportation plan, so additional time was needed.”

Initially, the city began the process with a detailed public survey to identify problem locations and set priorities for the master plan. The public input in the initial responses was to encourage better active transportation (i.e., bike lanes and sidewalks), and the capital project list generated from those responses reflected these priorities. With this information, city staff and firm Avenue Consultants prepared and distributed a draft plan and sought additional input from residents and Murray City commuters. This draft review was set into motion to ensure the planned transportation projects met the expectations of respondents.  

Adding bike lanes will be included in eight out of the top 10 phase one projects. First on the list is downtown’s Hanauer Street. Hanauer Street is proposed to be a portion of a one-way couplet with Box Elder Street, but completing that transformation may yet be a ways off.

“This lies in the future as growth and demand to access downtown progress. In the near term, improvements to intersections at 4800 South and State Street and Vine Street and State Street are slated. Additionally, bike lanes on 4800 South will be prioritized to provide connectivity from downtown to the Jordan River Trail,” Stokes said.

Growth in the northwest quadrant of the city will be a primary focus for building access and capacity. The city has proposed that Murray Boulevard/500 West be widened from three to five lanes, and it will likely be the most challenging project in the immediate future.  

“This project is needed because of recent growth, and the city will need to consider the types of trips (residential and commuter) and where people are coming from,” Stokes said.

With many large-scale multi-use housing projects proposed for Murray, the survey suggests residents are looking for ways to cut down traffic within the city. However, survey respondents showed less interest in improving road capacity than in improving walkable spaces.

“It has been a trend for some time now, but the survey showed a desire for better connectivity with active and public transportation. Sidewalks were ranked as the highest priority by respondents, and with the challenges of COVID-19, the public appears to have a greater appreciation for our public spaces than before. It is important to remember that our public roadways comprise the majority of public space in most cities, and capital projects can help improve these spaces. The capital plan was developed with this focus and resulted in a plan that improves safety and connectivity for active transportation users while accommodating growth,” Stokes said.

Murray City not only solicited input from residents but those who make Murray a destination during the day. Commuters who flock to Murray for jobs or shopping cause the daytime population of Murray to swell and place significant stress on existing infrastructure.

Stokes presented the plan at the Aug. 24 City Council meeting. The council unanimously approved it.

“It is time to go to work,” Stokes said. “Several projects highlighted in the capital plan have been initiated and completed. This plan will be the basis to obtain funding through local, state and federal funding sources to achieve the capital projects.”

The Murray Transportation Plan can be viewed online at www.murraytransportationplan.com.