New tunnel under TRAX connects residents with trails, public transport, Dimple Dell ParkSep 22, 2020 03:07PM ● By Justin Adams
The new tunnel connects residents on either side of the TRAX line to urban attractions on the west and to the active trails of Dimple Dell Park on the east. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Last month, a brand new tunnel and multi-use trail which passes underneath UTA’s TRAX lines at approximately 10200 South was opened. The trail is a crucial connection between residents that live in the area, the western terminus of Dimple Dell Park, the Porter Rockwell trail and public transit access.
The $3.7 million project was a joint effort between Sandy City, Salt Lake County and the Utah Transit Authority. $2.1 million of the project’s funds came from a TIGER grant, a federal program run by the Department of Transportation.
“It’s amazing to see partners come together to create something like this. It’s going to be such a gem and a jewel for our community,” said Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn. “We are so excited to be able to connect our city and the Wasatch Front in general—for people to be able to leave their house and get on a trail and go anywhere they want to go.”
Increasing connectivity between neighborhoods, active transportation paths and public transportation options is a big emphasis for many government bodies throughout Salt Lake County. Creating more options for people to move throughout the valley gets more cars off the road, which decreases traffic time and leads to better air quality.
One obstacle that prevents many people from using public transportation is access. If a light rail or bus stop is too far from someone’s home, they’re less likely to use it. Efforts to bridge the gap between a person’s destination and public infrastructure are sometimes referred to as “first-mile, last-mile solutions.”
One example would be electric scooter rentals, which recently arrived in Sandy. For example, someone going to a show at Hale Centre Theatre might not feel like taking TRAX because the Sandy Civic Center Station is a good little walk down Sego Lily Drive and then 10000 South. But with an electric scooter to help shorten that time to reach their final destination, they may be more likely to take public transportation.
The new tunnel is expected to function similarly, as residents now have easier access to the Porter Rockwell trail, which runs parallel to the TRAX line and provides convenient access to the Civic Center Station.
“Paths like this one are part of UTA’s efforts to help people move where they need to go.
We know as we close these last miles, our transit service increases and our communities are better for it,” said Carlton Christensen, the chairman of UTA’s Board of Trustees at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the tunnel.
The tunnel also expands access to Dimple Dell Park, especially for residents whose access was blocked by the TRAX line’s construction.
“We have people in the horse community who live west of the tunnel who had to trailer or ride around…this will open it up for them,” said Monica Zoltanski, a Sandy City councilmember and founder of the Dimple Dell Preservation Community.
Zoltanski said the next step for the council is to figure out how to extend that active trail network across State Street and connect with the Jordan River Parkway trail. Once that’s done, a resident in east Sandy could theoretically walk or bike down through Dimple Dell and connect with public transportation, stop for some food and entertainment in the city’s Cairns District, or continue on to the Jordan River Parkway and head further north or south.
“That’s going to be a big decision that will have a lot of different government agencies participating in that, but once it’s done, the downtown experience will connect with the urban wilderness experience of Dimple Dell and this [tunnel] literally is the gateway to that future,” said Zoltanski.