The Roads Less Traveled: Survey Analysis and Research Regarding Utah’s Local Roads

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Over 75% of Utah roads are under city or county jurisdiction, and nearly 25% of vehicle miles traveled are on these local roads, which connect Utahns to their communities, the region, and the interstate highway system. Local connections provide a framework on which cities and counties grow – with roadways being one of the longest lasting pieces of infrastructure that a community will build.

Utah Foundation conducted a survey of Utah’s cities and counties to gain a better understanding of local roads, as well as what these entities would like to see in their transportation network in the future. Many survey respondents expressed a desire to increase funding to achieve better maintenance, as well as to build additional features for active transportation. Of the survey’s findings, some common threads emerged regarding local roads and their contribution to quality of life in both cities and counties.

This report uses existing research focused on active transportation, economic impacts of transportation investment, and connectivity to suggest ways local entities might benefit from a different focus on their transportation systems. Investment in transportation can yield much fruit, but these benefits are highly dependent on the context in which they are employed.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • 82% of city and 95% of county respondents believe current transportation funding is insufficient.
  • Proactive pavement maintenance can save cities and counties hundreds of thousands of dollars per lane-mile over the life of a roadway.
  • The Class B and C Road Fund covers roughly only one-third of local transportation costs.
  • Nationally, access to schools, friends and family, and health care at a neighborhood level were all top priorities for homebuyers in 2014.
  • Research in thirteen large metropolitan areas across the U.S. showed that benefits of “above-average walkability” could get property owners a sale price premium of an additional $4,000 to $34,000 over homes with average levels of walkability.

Appendix A: City and County Surveys and Responses

Comments:

3 Responses to “The Roads Less Traveled: Survey Analysis and Research Regarding Utah’s Local Roads”

  1. Kathryn

    I am a bit confused as to why the city would have any say as to what you do with your own property. If you wish to build a home on the land you own; the city cannot make you pave the road prior to. However if Karen and Jeff are more than just “residents” wanting to build a “few homes”; then the city is right to insist upon the same rules that any other developer would be held accountable for when building a “few homes.” As far as “nobody wanting to live on an unpaved road”; have they considered their neighbors? Perhaps the whole reason the 10 residents live on the unpaved road, is because they prefer it over the over populated congestion of paved neighborhoods. After all, if they wanted to live on a paved road…. why did they build their homes on one that wasn’t?

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  2. Stephen Hershey Kroes

    Hello Karen and Jeff. Thank you for commenting and for your interest in Utah Foundation. About 10 years ago, I served five years as a planning commissioner and have some experience with the issues you mention. Unfortunately, it does seem that the main method of building neighborhood roads is to require those developing parcels to build the road. If you can convince your city that the potential road has more significance than just as a neighborhood street, you might succeed in getting the city to take on the burden, but it’s a fairly long process to get the new road adopted into the city plan and then wait for the city to find funding to build it. Have you already attempted working with city planning officials about this? You may be able to make a good case for the city to use this road as an alternative to the one that’s planned, but it depends on a host of factors, including the plans the city has for property along that road. Again, it can be a long process, but you never know the outcome until you try, so you should try opening the dialogue with the city.

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  3. Karen & Jeff Scott

    I read about your recent survey analysis about Utah Roads.
    We live in the fastest growing city in Utah “Eagle Mountain”. We live on N. Lake Mountain road which used to be owned by the county road and then the city purchased it. We would like to build some homes on this road. There are 10 residents on this road. The city says we have to pave this road before anyone is allowed to build out here, yet no one wants to live on this road unless it is paved. It is the second oldest road in Eagle mountain. Is there another way we could have our road paved? The city’s master plan shows a new road to be built just 100 ft behind our road called the Airport Road. That doesn’t make sense to build a new road when this road could be paved and used. I know I am not one with “power” and “money” and am just a resident, but is there any support for people like us here in Eagle Mountain, Ut? The big developers build the homes and pave the streets they have the money. Is there someway we can get N. Lake Mountain road paved? It is 2 miles long. This road could be another access road for the city center, another way to get out of town. May people already use this road. Can you help us? Do you have any ideas for us? I appreciate your time and know that it is very valuable and that you work on much larger scales than this. I just thought I would contact you and see if there is any hope for us here. Thank You so much~ Karen & Jeff Scott

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