The project seeks to capitalize on existing community assets—several TOD stations and a regional bike and pedestrian trail system—by studying how these can be linked. The overarching goal of this project is to increase scholarship on networking safe routes that can encourage public and active transportation choices and thus, encourage a healthier lifestyle and advance sustainability. By expanding pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connections to green space and offering the most potential for TOD, this proposal clearly demonstrates the greatest priorities of NITC. Moreover, nationwide, communities like Salt Lake’s West Side are in greater need of sustainable transportation choices that foster livability because a high proportion of low-income and minority populations tend to be transit users and/or utilize active transportation facilities.
Historically, the West Side has been cut up and cut off from the rest of the city, first by several rail lines, later by two interstate freeways. The city’s new light rail line through the neighborhood begins to stitch the city back together; the Jordan River Parkway, a regional bike/walk path, bisects the rail line and runs through the heart of West Side neighborhoods. This project will explore the relationship of these two assets, as well as their significance to local resident use and access using quantitative tools like surveys, GIS mapping and socioeconomic analysis. We will also begin to understand how to improve neighborhood connections from a resident perspective, using qualitative data, as well as access to the rest of the city and to other West Side amenities via transit and active transportation. When a neighborhood receives regional-scale amenities, like major transit linking downtown and the airport, and a regional trail spanning an entire valley, it is important that resident voices are heard, that local leadership gains a voice, and that regional amenities become true neighborhood assets. We will explore and document community-engaged ways of learning from the neighborhood in order to improve equity, identify transportation goals, and spark local action.