Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)?


A Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is the selected transit vehicle and route that best meets the needs of the corridor.




What factors will determine the recommended LPA?


Public input is just one factor the Local Link study team will consider before finalizing the LPA. Screening criteria developed by four partnering cities, and feedback from the steering and stakeholder committees will also be incorporated to determine the LPA. To learn more about the screening criteria, visit the Transit Study tab.




Where are we at in the Local Link process, and what happens next?


The study is ongoing, and the team is gathering additional feedback from the community. In fall 2021, the recommended LPA and implementation approach will be presented to all four partnering city councils (Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Millcreek and City of Holladay) for input and approval. If all four cities adopt the recommended LPA, the study team will then work with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) to incorporate it in their long-term transportation plans.

In order to implement the LPA, funding must be allocated, which could take five to 20 years or even longer. After funding becomes available, the next step would be to complete an environmental study that would further engage the community and evaluate impacts (like historical buildings and right-of-way ROW) as well as identify potential mitigations. After that, the project would go into preliminary engineering and design prior to construction. To see a study process graphic, go here.




What has the study team learned so far?


So far, based on screening criteria and input from industry experts, key stakeholders, and the general public, an enhanced bus with a long-term transition to streetcar on Highland Drive has been identified as a viable solution. Beginning with an enhanced bus would allow streetscape and transit improvements to begin more quickly. These improvements could include transit signal priority, enhanced stations that begin to make room for expanded streetcar stations and active transportation connections. Both of these potential transit solutions share a lane with vehicles, which greatly minimizes potential property impacts.

In order to provide more members of the community with a chance to weigh in, however, the initial transit survey has been reopened through July and the study team is taking additional input prior to selecting the LPA.




What kind of outreach was done for the transit study survey?


Outreach for Local Link began in summer 2020. An initial public survey for the transit study was shared in fall 2020 to understand what the public was interested in and to help narrow down transit options and locations for the study team to assess further. Initial outreach around that survey included:

  • An information postcard to 10,000 properties in the study area along Highland Drive and 1300 East
  • A Facebook Live event (hosted on the Salt Lake City Facebook page and reposted to YouTube)
  • Outreach by steering and stakeholder committee groups
  • Outreach through the Sugar House Community Council
  • Geo-targeted social media advertisements
  • Information flyers
  • Lawn signs and pavement stickers
  • Media coverage (KSL Radio)

In spring 2021, the Transit Alternatives Survey outlining potential future transit solutions was released and advertised through the following channels:

  • An email blast
  • A Facebook Live event (hosted on the Salt Lake City Facebook page and reposted to YouTube)
  • Outreach by steering and stakeholder committee groups
  • Outreach through Sugar House Community Council
  • City Council presentations to all four city councils
  • Media coverage (Fox 13, KUTV, ABC 4)
  • Social media advertisements




Can I still provide input on Local Link?


Yes. The transit survey has been reopened and will be available through July 27, 2021. Additionally, the four partnering cities are always accepting feedback on this study and on other initiatives. To provide additional feedback, please email info@locallinkstudy.com.




Why is Highland Drive between 2100 South and 2700 South being considered as part of a new transit route, instead of 1300 East?


Highland Drive is more feasible than 1300 East in this area due to multiple factors, including safety concerns due to there being a freeway interchange on 1300 East as well as logistical concerns because there is a steeper grade on 1300 East. Additionally, Highland Drive connects to the heart of Sugar House.




Why does the Highland Drive picture on the Local Link website show two existing lanes in each direction with a center turn lane?


The website shows a typical cross-section for Highland Drive throughout the study area, which extends from Sugar House to Holladay. We acknowledge the road does not look like this in every location, and have noted it accordingly, but this cross-section is a general representation of the corridor.




Will my property along Highland Drive be impacted by a future transit project?


At this point in the process, there is no way to know which properties could be impacted by a future transit project because this process can take several years. Both transit solutions recommended - enhanced bus and streetcar - share a lane with vehicles, which greatly minimizes potential property impacts. It is always the goal for the cities, when the time comes for design, to try to avoid impacts to private property as much as possible while still meeting transportation and connectivity needs. This type of information would evolve if the project received funding and moved through the environmental study and design process prior to construction.




Why is the enhanced bus being presented as a dirty air alternative?


That is not the intent of the Local Link air quality data. All of the transit options shown are a significant benefit to air quality. Included in the data is an estimate of how many people will use each of the various transit options, and that is the source for the emissions reductions indicated for each one. In other words, fewer people driving cars means less carbon emissions, and because light rail and streetcar are projected to attract the most riders, they result in larger emissions savings over the enhanced bus.




Why aren’t electric buses being considered in the Local Link alternatives?


The study’s assumption is that electrification of UTA’s transit fleet will happen regardless of the study and would apply to any of these options. To ensure this is addressed and documented, the team plans to recommend that Highland Drive be considered as a “pilot” or “early adoption” of bus electrification.




How is Local Link addressing the historic nature of the Highland Park area?


Local Link is a planning study. Historical impacts are not evaluated during planning but would be analyzed and addressed during an environmental study that would take place after the LPA is chosen, adopted by all four partnering cities and then funded.




If a transit alternative like an enhanced bus and/or a streetcar are funded and move forward, what effect would they have on zoning and land use in the area?


The City is not considering changing the Sugar House Community Plan or the zoning of the area between I-80 and the intersection of Highland Drive / Richmond Street / 1300 East. The Sugar House Community Plan does indicate that the area south of that intersection should be a mixed-use area and it is possible that zoning changes may occur in the future in that area to implement the Sugar House Community Plan. This area currently contains a mix of zoning districts and the most likely outcome is to rezone the area south of this intersection to one zoning district that is consistent with the plan instead of having a mix of zoning districts. If that zoning change happens, it would be the result of a separate effort and not a result of the Local Link study.




What kind of noise can be expected if a streetcar is built?


It is premature to evaluate noise levels associated with this project, but evaluation of noise impacts and mitigations of those impacts would be an important aspect of the future environmental and design process. As the S-Line was constructed, noise was an important concern for that community and many efforts were made to minimize the amount of noise that is generated by that facility. These efforts included designing larger turn radii (turns are locations where rail transit tends to make the most noise) to reduce wheel noise, and modification of intersection treatments to avoid bells at crossings. A similar approach would be expected with any future rail transit within the city.




How would the enhanced bus change the neighborhood?


An enhanced bus solution could add improvements like new shelters and benches to bus stops, more frequent bus service, and better signage and routing information for riders. Most often, bus stop enhancements are made within existing city right-of-way (ROW) or in areas with willing partners and property owners.




What can I expect during construction as a nearby property owner if a solution is implemented on Highland Drive?


Construction will not take place for many years and it is too early to know what impacts would look like. Local Link is only the first step to a transportation solution in this area. If the cities adopt the recommended LPA, the study team will work with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) to incorporate it in their long-term transportation plans. In order to implement a streetcar, funding must be allocated, and an environmental study would be required before any final decision or plans can be made. After that, the project would go into preliminary engineering and design prior to construction. Construction impacts would be known in these later phases of design and after a contractor is selected.




Why is Local Link happening?


The purpose of Local Link is to identify gaps and barriers for travelers between Sugar House, South Salt Lake, Millcreek and City of Holladay, with the goal of connecting these cities together through transit and new walking and biking connections. As these cities grow, it’s important to plan for a variety of safe and accessible ways to get around. With construction of major corridors scheduled within the next five years, the results of Local Link will impact those projects.




Who is involved in Local Link?


Four cities have teamed up to carry out this effort, Salt Lake City (Sugar House), South Salt Lake, Millcreek and City of Holladay, and two committees have been formed. First, representatives from multiple planning and transportation agencies are involved in the Local Link Steering Committee (UTA, Utah Department of Transportation, city leaders, etc.). And second, the Local Link Stakeholder Committee is comprised of local residents, business owners, property owners, developers, school administrators and volunteers.




How is the Local Link Study being funded?


Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Millcreek and City of Holladay are contributors and project partners.




Haven’t we studied these things before?


Local Link is building on a foundation of several transportation planning and analysis efforts. However, Local Link is the final planning effort before moving forward with new solutions to improve travel in and around these four cities.




How long will Local Link last?


The study effort began in summer 2020 and is planned to last through fall 2021.