Access to public lands helps us develop a relationship with the places that we learn to love, be inspired from, and steward for future generations. Decisions made for this project with the purpose of enhancing access must be sensitive to the canyon characteristics, geology, and topography.
We are appreciative of the recognition that Millcreek Canyon, as do many other Wasatch Canyons, need some attention to mitigate the impacts we are seeing to the land. As well as adjoining communities regarding recreational pressures in the Central Wasatch. Improving the way we access Millcreek and the tools that Millcreek City, Salt Lake County, and the Forest Service have to manage and plan as growth continues is both existing and important. Widening roads is about increasing throughput for vehicles, which shouldn’t be our objective. You just can’t build enough accommodations for vehicles without completely ruining the canyon. Another way of putting this is that the visitor capacity is greater than the parking capacity.
I support an approach that improves existing canyon infrastructure with an emphasis on reducing canyon congestion, increasing safety for all users, and retains or improves the health of Millcreek Canyons ecosystem.
It seems that this project is modeling what isn’t working in the Cottonwoods rather than what is working in canyons such as City Creek and Lamb’s Canyons. Millcreek Canyon Enhanced Improvement Projects focus on road expansion impacts the canyon aesthetics, places future dependence on personal vehicles and more pavement, and has potential of increasing speed which reduces user safety. Fundamentally, when addressing access and capacity funding decisions continue to emphasize personal automobile centricity, when we need to be looking at transit-based solutions that will not only satisfy today’s needs but accommodate future pressures. The Wasatch Range is falling to another car centric approach that leaves the next generation to repair and implement more sustainable access options.
A planned and phased approach where we draw a bright line between maintaining existing infrastructure and expanding infrastructure would be much more supportable to us. We believe we need less parking and improved transit, perhaps a net reduction of pavement in the canyon, whereas it seems as drafted, it might result in a net addition. At the end of the day, we think better utilization of existing parking lots, rather than expansion of pavement in our canyons yields the best results for our community and for the Wasatch.
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