Wasatch Environmental Update for April 8, 2018
By John Worlock
Little Cottonwood Road – new scrutiny and an EIS
Utah State Route 210, also known as Little Cottonwood Road, will soon be under scrutiny by the Utah Department of Transportation. Listen carefully, as you can be an important participant in this process, and you might be strongly affected by its consequences.
Almost immediately, you are invited to a public scoping meeting on April 10 (this Tuesday!) at Cottonwood Heights City Hall, from 4 to 8 pm. We’ll repeat this detail later in our message.
The scoping process is designed to define the process to be followed in preparing an official Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, according to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Scoping helps to determine what will be studied and by whom, and it is important to get our specific environmental concerns written into the EIS.
UDOT’s suggestions for actions to be studied include roadway improvements, additional parking spots, enhancing safety, access and mobility through something called “information sharing,” imposition of fees for motorized access combined with high-occupancy vehicle discounts, and a variety of ill-defined measures called operational improvements, demand-management measures and Transportation System Management.
UDOT promises to involve the Forest Service in this study, and this we support heartily. Our own fond hope is that the EIS will include impacts on the land served by the roadway: the wild back-country, including Wilderness that is important for the wildlife and the human need for quiet and solitude.
That the back-country is finite in extent is obvious. Also evident is the fact that growing populations in Utah and elsewhere will lead to ever-increasing numbers of people wanting access. Consequently, it is important that the EIS take into account what we will call the finite carrying-capacity of the Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Every auditorium and school room has a legal limit on its human occupancy. Little Cottonwood Canyon deserves the same consideration.
So, whatever are your concerns for the future of Little Cottonwood Canyon, please get them incorporated into the EIS by attending the scoping meeting this Tuesday, April 10, from 4 to 8 pm at the Cottonwood Heights City Hall, at 2277 East Bengal Boulevard.
Or at least come and see how UDOT plans to manage the motorized transportation into our much treasured Little Cottonwood Canyon!