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Repair the city’s roads and expand access to transportation options

Erin will make it easier and more affordable to get around our city

Image of pages of Erin Mendenhall's plan for the education with the words DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE PLAN
Transportation is critical to quality of life for residents across Salt Lake City, both economically and physically. Whether it’s because of dangerous potholes, limited reach and frequency of public transit, or unsafe bike lanes, traveling through our city shouldn’t feel like navigating an obstacle course. Getting around Salt Lake City should be easy and affordable.

With dramatic population growth all along the Wasatch Front and major economic growth in Salt Lake City, we cannot afford to wait for incremental improvements to our public transit system. For the sake of our air, our economy, and our residents’ cost of living, we need a dramatic shift in the availability and affordability of public transit.

Compounding the urgency: Too many of our neighbors face rising rents and economic insecurity. Transportation is the second largest category on a household budget, equating to an average 20 percent of monthly expenses. We need to lower that cost for Salt Lake City residents.

Fixing our roads and prioritizing infrastructure makes environmental, social, and business sense for Salt Lake City. As mayor, Erin will also make transit more convenient and affordable for residents or commuters, helping them leave their cars at home and take public transportation, walk, or use bikes or scooters more frequently.

A RECORD OF RESULTS

As a city councilwoman, Erin has focused on improving roads, transportation and city infrastructure. During her six years of service to the city, Erin:

  • Doubled the number of workers fixing our city’s streets. They’re out on our roads now and by next year, we’ll have fixed twice the miles of roadway as we did last year;
  • Led the charge for the $87 million bond for the Funding Our Future initiative;
  • Expanded bus routes to give Salt Lake City residents a less expensive option for getting around the city, to make the system more geographically equitable, and to get more cars off our crowded streets. Three new routes came online in August 2019;
  • Worked to expand our unique system of bike and pedestrian trails, particularly the McClelland Trail, Folsom Trail, 9-Line and three pedestrian bridges to present more residents opportunities to help be a part of solutions that clean our air and save on their transportation bills; and
  • Secured the County Transportation Option to bring in millions annually for road maintenance.

GROWTH SHOULD PAY FOR GROWTH

Taxpayer dollars are an important tool for growing our city, but they should not be all that is paying for all the growth our city is facing. Without assistance from other types of funding such as impact fees or federal funding, our taxpayer dollars are stretched too thin. Erin will work aggressively to increase outside funding streams like federal grants and county transportation grants for infrastructure, so we can repair our roads and grow mobility options.

As mayor, Erin will:

Invest Impact Fees back into our community

When developers build projects in Salt Lake City, they pay “impact fees” to help defray the city’s costs for the additional parks, roads, and city services needed because of the project. The city has a period of six years to invest those fees before they expire. During the current administration, $3.2 million in impact fees have been returned to developers because the administration lacked a plan to invest them. This is a huge missed opportunity. The City Council even allocated funding so the administration to update the required Impact Fee Facility Plan, but the administration still has not completed the work and dollars continue to be returned to developers.

The city needs a mayor who will work to invest impact fees back into our community, where they belong. As mayor, Erin will prioritize updates to the impact fee process and work with the City Council to ensure we are using those dollars wisely.

Create the first strategic plan for transportation infrastructure in decades

Salt Lake City has not produced Transportation Master Plan for more than two decades. We need a plan that keeps up with the robust commercial and residential growth that both the city and region are experiencing. Such an update could bolster the city’s recent Transit Master Plan, leveraging mutual priorities to expand our multi-modal transportation needs. Undertaking any new master-planning process requires financial and talent resources, extensive community and stakeholder outreach, and a political willingness to not only adopt, but implement the plan. As mayor, Erin will build and begin implementing a new transportation master plan that ensures today’s investments build a better future.

Aggressively pursue federal grants for road projects

When the city is able to partner effectively with the federal government, we can invest grant dollars into road improvement projects and leave taxpayer dollars to be spent on other priorities. Salt Lake City loses out on federal grant funding because we aren’t using the tools we have to win federal dollars at our nation’s capital. As mayor, Erin will use those tools to advocate aggressively for federal funding that will help us build Salt Lake City and implement our transportation needs.

Access new county funding for road improvements

New Salt Lake County Transportation Sales Tax dollars are an incredible opportunity for cities like Salt Lake, with strong transit and bicycle master plans, to receive grants for building projects. The city recently received over 3 million dollars from this grant to build out sections of the 9-Line Trail, greatly leveraging our own local investment. As mayor, Erin will ensure that Salt Lake City is taking every opportunity to submit strong applications for future grants that will help us implement our master plans.

IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

As mayor, Erin will:

As chair of the City Council, Erin targeted our new routes for expansion based on equity, not only on ridership. As mayor, Erin will work with city resources and partnerships to expand our circulator bus system and will continue to focus new routes and shared mobility options in areas of the city that have traditionally not received adequate investment.

Better bus infrastructure for all residents

Salt Lake City has many public transit stops in dire need of upgrade. Too many bus stops lack adequate seating, cover from the weather, shade from the summer sun, accommodation for those with mobility challenges, or even trash cans. As Mayor, Erin will ensure that the city is taking the lead on cultivating an environment that encourages people to use public transit. If the number of public transit users is going to increase, the city has a responsibility to change the culture of transit use, which starts with ensuring that riders are safe and can get to their destination without being impacted by weather or accessibility challenges.

Expand access to the Hive Pass

Public transportation is a great way to move to, from, and around Salt Lake City, yet there are many barriers to increasing ridership. Public transportation is expensive and when faced with the choice of paying for transit or driving to work, many Salt Lake residents chose to drive to save time and money. Salt Lake City not only needs to continue subsidizing the cost of public transit for residents through the Hive pass, we need to increase awareness and expand our public education efforts. Erin will work to increase education and awareness to all Salt Lake residents about the Hive pass program to encourage more transit users and create cleaner air.

The city also needs to work with businesses and develop partners in transit. There are 200,000 people commuting in and out of the city to work each week, providing the city an opportunity to partner with businesses to extend the Hive pass to commuters. As mayor, Erin will work with the UTA and businesses to get more commuters out of their cars and using public transportation.

Move toward electric busses

As our city grows and the need to clean our airshed only intensifies with a changing climate, we must be bold and chart the most prudent course. This means moving to an electric bus system sooner than later, and that work must begin now. We have an opportunity to begin taking steps now to add electric busses to our fleet and moving toward an all-electric bus system.

BETTER BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY INFRASTRUCTURE

Salt Lake City is often criticized for not being very walkable, yet we have so many opportunities to increase access to trails, walkable and bikeable pathways, and alleyways. Expanding urban trails and alleyways goes beyond walkability — this infrastructure helps make it more affordable and accessible to move around the city. Salt Lake City is experiencing rapid growth and we need a mayor who can find creative ways to increase all types of non-automobile transit throughout the city. Better roadways, trails and alleyways are a great place to start.

As mayor, Erin will:

Increase urban trails and alleyways

Urban trails such as the Jordan River Parkway or the McClelland Trail offer residents more options for commuting and exercise, as well as a unique way to see our city. Developing urban trails makes Salt Lake City more walkable and helps to highlight our unique beauty.

Our alleyways are an underutilized community-connectivity asset and should be a priority as we grow as they create pedestrian and bike thoroughfares away from cars. Alleyway improvements don’t necessarily mean a big price tag; other mid-sized cities have taken creative and collaborative approaches to beautify these oft-forgotten arteries. As mayor, Erin will explore ways to increase trail connections and improve alleyways that will allow residents in all areas to engage in active transportation as we build a healthy and vibrant Salt Lake City.

Further, our trail systems must be equitable and not limited to East Side communities. The expansion of trails in East Side neighborhoods have increased walkability, public transit ridership, and created more access to outdoor fun for residents in those neighborhoods. As mayor, Erin will build the Folsom Trail and work to expand the West Side’s 9-line, not only to connect the East and West sides of our city, but to provide equitable access to outdoor recreation, transit, and walkable communities.

Better access to bicycles and bike parking

By introducing the Green Bike program, expanding the Hive Pass to include Green Bikes, and increasing the number of bike lanes throughout the city, Salt Lake has made major advancements to bicycle infrastructure. However, we still have work to do. Erin will ensure the Green Bike program is equitable and accessible across our city. The city also needs more safe places for cyclists to lock their bikes as they commute around the city. Salt Lake City can have better bike parking at transportation and economic hubs. As mayor, Erin, a regular bike rider, herself, will work to make it easier for businesses to request bike racks and shorten the time for permitting and installation.

Expand access to bicycles

It’s one thing to make bike commuting more attractive with better infrastructure, but it’s another thing to help make biking more possible. The city can take an active role in helping low-income residents own and maintain safe, properly-functioning bicycles, with safety lights and helmets. As chair of the City Council, Erin worked closely with organizations helping people to afford commuting by bike, and as mayor, those partnerships will deepen. Erin will help residents of Salt Lake City play a more active role in our shared efforts to clean our air, reduce traffic, and create a culture of active and cost-effective transportation.