Multi-million-dollar Salt Lake County project will create a paved walking and biking trail across the heart of TaylorsvilleDec 04, 2022 11:21AM ● By Carl Fauver
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Long before last summer’s gas prices hit an all-time high of more than $5 per gallon, many people across Taylorsville, and all of Utah, were starting to demand from their elected officials better and safer ways to get from here to there, without turning an ignition.
“All of our citizen surveys rate walking and biking trails very high,” Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson said. “(The spring 2020 arrival of) COVID has taught all of us we want trails, connectivity. But our city is so built out, creating trails is a challenge. We have found canal corridors are about the only green space we have left to improve.”
The Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation division is in the midst of a massive trail construction project which will eventually connect Magna to the Jordan River Corridor. Nearly all of the trail runs adjacent to existing irrigation canals. And next year, ground will be broken on the portion of trail that spans nearly all of Taylorsville.
Madeline Francisco-Galang is the County Parks & Rec project manager for the span of paved trail that will run from 4130 W. 4700 South, southeast, to 2200 W. 6400 South.
“It is called a multi-use trail, meaning it will be open to anything without a motor – bicycles, scooters, and of course, walking,” she said. “The estimated cost of the project is $3.4 million. UDOT is funding most of it, $2.72 million. Salt Lake County has contributed $480,000, Taylorsville City $140,000 and the Kearns (Metro) Township $60,000.”
Taylorsville City Council members recently approved an Interlocal Agreement with Salt Lake County, pledging their $140,000 to what is called the Utah and Salt Lake Canal Trail. This section of the trail will extend to the east, a portion of the walkway from 5600 W. to 4130 West, which was completed in two earlier phases in 2008 and 2014.
“The trail will be paved, 10 feet wide and fully ADA compliant,” Francisco-Galang added. “We expect design work to begin next spring and construction next fall. The good thing about trail work is, no traffic control is necessary. Crews can work from dawn to dusk with nobody around. It goes very quickly. This section could be completed by the end of 2024.”
The work does require a lot of native grasses, plants and trees to be removed because the trail is across the canal, on the opposite side of existing maintenance roads.
Learn more about the county’s trail program at slco.org/parks-recreation.
Trail improvements across our state are quickly becoming “all the rage.” At a meeting early this fall with UDOT officials, Gov. Spencer Cox unveiled plans for the state to construct a network of trails throughout all of Utah.
“At some point in the future, we’ll be able to get from anywhere in Utah to anywhere else, without having to get onto a roadway,” the governor said. “The only reason we can dream about this is because we have mayors and city councilmembers and counties that have already done this. We have some of the best trail systems anywhere in the world. Now we want to connect them together.”
Indeed, this county trail project across Taylorsville is just one of many the city hopes to fund in coming years. The city’s most recent plans for a trails network can be viewed at activetaylorsville.com. Called the Taylorsville Active Communities Plan, this 60-page document opens with the definitive statement: “The City of Taylorsville wishes to better incorporate bicycle and pedestrian mobility into its transportation and recreational planning and development process. Taylorsville residents have repeatedly expressed a desire to increase pedestrian and bicycle mobility.”
About midway through the plan (pg. 24), it spells out the city’s ultimate goal to create:
- 25 miles of shared roadways
- 19 miles of on-road bikeways; and
- 25 miles of separated pathways
What’s the difference? Read the plan.
“A Taylorsville-based company, Avenue Consultants (6605 S. Redwood Road), just gave us their latest version of our trails plan,” City Planner Mark McGrath said. “The city Planning Commission will review it first. If it is approved there, the city council will review it, probably in January.”
Another major section of trail proposed in the Taylorsville Active Communities Plan will be built at the same time several other improvements are made on the 4700 South corridor, as part of the city’s long-scheduled bus rapid transit project. Called the ]0-[Midvalley Connector, work on this project is scheduled to begin next year. It will create dedicated bus lines in what is now the 4700 South median, tying bus stations in Murray and West Valley City to the Salt Lake Community College campus in Taylorsville.
“We’ve been working on this plan for 15 years,” McGrath added. “The BRT line will require so much construction along 4700 South, we knew that would be the best time to add a trail from the Jordan River to Redwood Road. From there it will tie into existing sidewalks to cross Redwood and proceed on to the SLCC campus.”
According to the most recent BRT construction schedule (viewable at midvalleyconnector.com), work on the corridor could start next spring and be completed by fall 2025. The Federal Transit Administration, UDOT and Utah Transit Authority are the big players in this project.
Finally, in addition to the $140,000 Taylorsville City provided for the Utah and Salt Lake Canal Trail project, the city has already spent more than double that amount on another trail. And unlike all the others discussed here, this one is already finished and getting plenty of use.
“The city funded half the cost of a trail that runs on the eastside of the I-215 belt route, from 5140 South down to 5400 South,” City Engineer Ben White explained. “It ties into a neighborhood trail at the north, and to the sidewalk along 5400 South that leads into our (Taylorsville City Hall) campus. Our half of that project cost $300,000. That money – and the $140,000 we gave to the county canal project – are the only trail expenditures we’ve made so far.”
But Overson suggests that’s likely to change.“We’ve had trails on our maps for a long time,” she concluded. “But it’s always a matter of finding the money. Now though, trails have become ‘the thing.’ People want them. They tell us it’s important for their mental well-being – besides just being fun. So, we are going to whittle away at (finding the necessary funding). Trails will be a big part of our budget and priorities discus