By Dawn McLain
The 2018 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo is the place to be for all who drive, walk, bike, or use public transportation in Washington County. The expo, now in its 13th year, is specifically designed to aid local citizens in becoming better informed on current and future transportation projects and give them a voice in regional transportation planning. The event will be held at the Dixie Convention Center Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to the community, and this year the City of St. George is truly encouraging residents to attend.
“Transportation planning affects all of us and is considered one of the biggest challenges as we continue to grow as a community,” said St. George Mayor Jon Pike. “The expo is an opportunity for residents to interact directly with those who are planning and designing our transportation infrastructure in Washington County.”
The Beehive State is growing quickly, with southern Utah leading the state in growth. In fact, if growth rates continue, Utah is on pace to double its population in the next 50 years. As Utah’s population and tourism increase, travel demands have grown and will continue to pose increasing demands on the transportation system throughout the state. Today, Washington County faces a significant challenges regarding transportation and travel demand with extremely limited financial resources to maintain, preserve, improve, and expand transportation infrastructure necessary to manage transit successfully. The population growth over the past few years has been steady, manageable, and fortunately quite sustainable with a comprehensive plan and strategy to manage systems such as transportation efficiently.
The transportation expo plays an important role in the overall 2019–2050 Regional Transportation Long-Range Plan.
“Last year we had over 900 attendees that came to learn about projects and share their input,” said Myron Lee, director of Dixie MPO, Five County AOG. “The goal of the event is to reach out to our stakeholders, Washington County residents, and this year we hope to talk with even more attendees. Our citizens have a vested interest in local transportation issues and we want to share information, ignite relevant discussion, solicit input, ideas and options that will result in improved transportation services and solutions for everyone. Most people want to know how individual projects or project plans impact their lives and daily routines. They want to know if there are plans to improve transportation in their neighborhoods and that kind of thing. The expo offers a forum to ask all of those questions and to talk directly to the experts who are actively involved in designing those projects and are making plans for the future. Although there is no cost to attend the expo, it is an invaluable part of our community’s future.”
Many representatives from surrounding cities, the county, and the Utah Department of Transportation will be available to explain transportation projects and studies and take comments or questions on the 2019–2050 Regional Transportation Long-Range Plan. Public feedback is an integral element in effective roadway planning; every resident will have the chance to impact the future look of transit in our area.
“People do ask if they can really influence transportation projects and plans and I always say, yes — absolutely you can and should,” Lee said. “Transportation professionals are building and planning roads, bike trails, and transit systems to meet the area’s needs for the next 20–30 years. We are putting on the expo specifically to show people what we are planning and get their input on those plans. I can think of two specific examples of projects that were directly related to input we received at the expo. St. George City has had a project on their long-range plan for several years to build a pedestrian underpass to help people cross east and west under I-15 at 400 South. The project was seen as way to connect the Dixie State University campus on the west with student-type housing opportunities on the east. It would also reduce the number of cars at the 700 South and 100 South crossings. DSU had the same project on their long-range plan. At the expo last year a number of citizens approached both entities and asked that the project be moved up in priority due to the expanding student housing needs at the University. We have been working with UDOT, St. George City, DSU, and the Dixie MPO ever since to make that project a reality. By this time next year, we should see the results of that effort.”
“Another example is the design of the Bluff Street project that is under construction right now,” Lee said. “Comments from the expo a couple of years ago were taken very seriously when people talked about how hard it is to cross through that area on foot. There are several pedestrian trails through the area, but crossing with the lights felt unsafe. Now, in the new design of that project, we will be able to separate the pedestrian and bicycle traffic from the vehicle traffic and make the whole area feel more inviting to motorists and pedestrians.”
“Considering our growth and tourism, safety, mobility and efficiency are definitely concerns,” said Cameron Cutler, PE, Public Works Director. “But, those are just a few of the goals we all should have when it comes to our daily travel. We look to see our community take a few minutes from their busy schedules to come and join us. If you don’t feel like your opinion is heard at times, this is your opportunity to come and share it with us so that we can improve together. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing transportation needs in our community.”
“The Transportation Expo consists of varying booths, displays and exhibits that range from existing and future roadway projects, to trails and buses, including information about future planning for years to come,” Cutler said. “Cities, County, UDOT, and engineering consultants come to answer questions and discuss concerns regarding specific locations and projects to general planning and design techniques. If you’re lucky, you could even catch a word and a handshake with one of your elected officials as they frequently come and participate.”
This year, the event will also feature vintage cars on display as well as new vehicles. The event will also feature a bike valet hosted by the St. George Bicycle Collective and fun prizes for attendees.
13th Annual Dixie Regional Transportation Expo event details
What: 2018 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo
When: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Dixie Convention Center Ballroom, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George
Tickets: Free. Community members are all encouraged to attend.
At the event attendees can do the following:
—Ask questions about road projects and provide comments.
—Learn more about current and future transportation services, programs, needs, and programs.
—Enjoy fun, educational information about safety from the SGPD.
—Learn about St. George’s Bike Share — bike valet on site, too!
—Win Prizes! Enter to win on site; prizes will include a Kindle, an Amazon Echo, and an Amazon Firestick.
There will be programs, project information, and displays at the transportation expo this year.
City of St. George Trails Leisure Services Dept.
Visit the display of the city’s regional trail master plan, ask questions relating to parks, trails, the way finding sign program and roadway beautification projects.
City of St. George Public Works Transit Division: SunTran and public transportation highlights
SunTran provides public transportation in St. George and Ivins. The current and future routes will be on display. SunTran will also display a bus will be on display in front of the Dixie Center. Ride the bus and enjoy public transportation’s benefits of social interaction while reducing the pollution in the air.
St. George Police Dept. Traffic Laws: The More You Know, The Safer You’ll Be!
SGPD will be highlighting the Monday Motor Minute Segment and featuring those videos in our booth. The videos focus on traffic laws and explain what is required by Utah Law. Officer Michelson who is featured in these videos will be available for questions.
I-15 corridor in Washington County: Washington City
The I-15 corridor through Washington County has several ongoing and planned projects over the next several years. Projects currently in design include the I-15 Exit Interchange Improvements.
Projects along the I-15 corridor that are being implemented over the next few years include the following:
—I-15 Exit 4 Brigham Road interchange improvements.
—I-15 Exit 6 and Exit 8 widening.
—Several other projects, including additional widening of I-15 through the corridor to provide auxiliary lanes, are planned over the next decade.
I-15 MP 11 Interchange Environmental Study: Washington City
This project is an environmental study evaluating transportation needs and developing alternative solutions between Exit 10/Green Springs Dr. and Exit 13 Washington Pkwy in Washington City.
Southern Parkway: UDOT
The Southern Parkway (State Route 7) segment 5 is an eight-mile roadway section starting at 4300 West and extending north to State Route 9 that completes the connection to I-15 in the south and SR-9 in the north. The new roadway alignment is located through a green field site and will include an interchange at SR-9 and 4300 West.
Washington City Transportation: Washington City
This will highlight various Washington City Active Transportation Plan & Washington City priority projects.
Mobility management: Five County OAG
Mobility management efforts rely on the community and transportation service providers to define transit and transportation needs for specific segments of the population (seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income individuals). Comments generated at the expo will allow mobility managers to identify need and pursue resources to meet those needs.
Transportation Master Plan Update: Hurricane City
Hurricane City is updating the Roads Master Plan and creating and integrating Active Transportation Master Plan that will result in the creation of a true Transportation Master Plan. This plan will address the future needs for all modes of travel. The public is invited and encouraged to participate in the planning process by visiting walkbikedrivehurricane.org.
Long Range Transportation Planning: Dixie MPO
Regional transportation planners are seeking public input on their coming 2019–2050 Regional Transportation Plan. The RTP will forecast future travel demands and sets transportation goals and objectives for the next 30 years. Public input is needed to determine the importance of the new road alignments, congestion, management, safety, air quality, endangered species preservation, other environmental issues, connectivity, sustainability, multi-modal transportation, etc. Please stop by to help plan our future!
“We want to see a consensus of the necessary changes our community wants, what they feel they need and what they would like in terms of transportation planning,” said Karen Roundy, development supervisor for St. George.
“Each year the Transportation Expo provides this comprehensive, ‘one-stop-shop’ forum to the public to consider all things transportation. It is a unique opportunity to gain of a better understanding of a variety of transit, road, intersection/traffic light improvements, walking and bike trail programs and projects,” said Blanca Hone, development services associate for St. George. “This is also a great opportunity to learn about transportation trends and provide meaningful input that will shape the future of Washington County We hope to see the whole community support this event and the efforts municipalities are making to build better communities.”