The Wasatch Front’s population growth and its ever-increasing popularity as a year-round vacation destination has had a profound impact on our canyons, especially Little Cottonwood Canyon. Little Cottonwood Canyon and the roads leading to it can experience serious traffic issues throughout the year, and the congestion is projected to become worse in the future.
In response, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and the Forest Service launched a study in 2018 exploring different transportation system options for Little Cottonwood Canyon and Wasatch Boulevard.
After studying multiple scenarios, these organizations have narrowed the suggested solutions to three options:
While all of these options are well thought out solutions, Ski Utah believes that the gondola is the most holistic option to protect the canyon’s pristine beauty for future generations. The gondola provides the greatest mobility in all seasons for the most people and is the most environmentally friendly option that takes air quality, water quality, and energy efficiency into account.
And, another option for the gondola was recently presented to UDOT that makes the gondola option even more attractive — the Gondola Plus La Caille Base Station. This proposal would move the gondola’s base station away from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, add a below-grade parking garage at the base station, and reroute UTA buses from two transit hubs to serve the base station.
When built, the Gondola Plus La Caille Base Station option would reduce traffic and pollution by removing all buses and up to 1,800 vehicles per hour from the canyon. In addition, the Gondola Plus solution would eliminate the need to widen Wasatch Boulevard by replacing private auto traffic with bus service to the gondola station.
In order to preserve this treasured area, both environmentally and recreationally, we must plan for its future use in a sustainable way. The gondola is a long-term transportation solution that is cost-effective, clean and efficient. It is the best means to provide safe transportation to year-round visitors while having the least physical impact on Little Cottonwood Canyon.
We encourage you to evaluate the three options for yourself and make a public comment to let UDOT know which solution you think is best.
UDOT is taking formal comments on the proposals through July 10. After this comment period ends, UDOT will review all the feedback and issue a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) sometime in late spring or summer of 2021. Another public comment period will be held at that time, and a final EIS will be issued in late 2021.
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