Dear Fellow Residents and Visitors:
How can we improve our experience of getting to Alta–and how much should we?
As you may know, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), has initiated an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) project focused on State Route 210, otherwise known as the Little Cottonwood Canyon Road. The EIS will evaluate a range of transportation improvements with the purpose of mitigating congestion on SR 210, while improving recreation and tourism experiences for canyon users. UDOT has $65 million of public funds already reserved for projects on SR 210 identified as priorities during the EIS.
The population of the Wasatch Front is growing faster than many of us realize, putting pressure on our environment and our community. Congestion, public safety, and access on SR 210 are already cornerstone issues for the Town of Alta, and they could get worse. After so many years of collaborative efforts, studies, and other projects, I am optimistic that the EIS is focusing on actually making reasonable improvements to how people get to Alta.
UDOT is considering the network of transit service, valley park-and-ride lots, in-canyon trailhead parking areas, avalanche mitigation strategies, information technologies, bicycle and pedestrian experience, and other aspects of what goes into managing transportation to and from Alta, Snowbird, and other destinations in the canyon. You can see examples of the alternatives being considered on the project website here: https://www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/.
While this project has the potential to make travel to Alta easier and safer, it also has the potential to deliver more people into our fragile watershed ecosystem. I’m concerned about making access to Alta so convenient that being up here no longer feels distinct from being in the valley.
The deadline for comments during the scoping period for the EIS is this Friday, May 4th. To provide comments, visit the project website here: https://www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/#public-scoping-period.