First, some umbrage:
- Transit Use: Currently, 6% of Salt Lake City residents take transit to work.
- Transit Service and Connections: More bus service is provided than service on any other modes, but evening and weekend transit service is limited. Capacity constraints and limited layover space are limiting to transit service.
- Transit Performance: Transit boardings in Salt Lake City increased since 2011, but at a slower rate than the system as a whole and at a slower rate than service hours.
- Access and Amenities: Large block size and other barriers makes first/last mile access to transit difficult.
- Eighty-three percent of bus stops do not have a bench or a shelter for people to wait for the bus to arrive
The map on C-2 needs work. The same is generally true of many of the other maps. The iconography used to represent boardings is confusing: why two circles? Secondly, the scaling on the circles should be changed to a different magnitude: the resulting cirles are too large.
The 'Transit Propensity Index' (TPI) being used is junk science. Gallingly, it fails to control for transit stations. While activity density (jobs+residents per acre) is a useful metric, the TPI pays no attention to transit service, which is a far more important characteristic in determining ridership. (You can't take a bus that doesn't exist). I strongly recommend moving to a 'Direct Demand' or 'Direct Ridership' model.
There are huge numbers of boardings in some low density locations...because that is where the TRAX stations are. Then there is a lack of boardings in the surrounding area, because why on earth would you wait for a bus when you can walk the 2-3 blocks twice as fast? Rapid transit stations often generate such 'transit shadows' over nearby areas.
Regarding transit mode share, I strongly recommend the article "Transit commuting, the network accessibility effect, and the built environment in station areas across the United States" (2017). I've summarized the conclusions here.
I take umbrage with the statement that: "Of Salt Lake City’s 44 bus routes, only six routes operate service that is available every 15 minutes or less". Different bus routes serve different markets (express, coverage, flex, etc) and not all routes should be frequent service routes. Assuming a Frequent Transit Network (FNT) spaced every 2-3-4 blocks:
Redwood Road (17th West)
4th South (TRAX)
That's 15 routes. Holding all routes to the FTN standard (as Figure C-7) does is inappropriate and distortive.
Travel Time Ratios
Regarding Figure C-13: Not sure why the Salt Palace was used. And which gate? I assume the 100 south and West temple gate (as that is what Google gives me). That's a block from TRAX, which is going to add 5-7 minutes to all travel times. It should be a direct shot, streetcar to TRAX. Google maps from: "Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101" to
"Sugar House Shopping Center, 2274 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106", arriving at 5pm, gives me very different numbers: 40-51 minutes, depending on my selected route.
The draft report notes that
"Service Stability UTA has the option of making changes to their system three times per year, which creates uncertainty about system stability and undermines the City’s ability to organize growth around transit".
While undeniably true, it's a bit of a cheap shot. UTA is funded by sales tax revenue, for something like 3/4 of it's budget. Sales tax revenue fluctuates, and when it falls, UTA must cut service. If Salt Lake City wants to get serious about funding permanent transit around which development can be organized, a special taxation district is almost a necessity. It's not a novel approach--it's how both Portland and Seattle funded their respective streetcars.
The cost of transit is most burden some for short trips. Paying $2.50 to travel four miles seems reasonable; paying $2.50 to travel 4 blocks is not. Yet one of the most valuable things a transit system can do in a CBD is act as a 'pedestrian extender'. The Free Fare Zone policy reflects this.
It would be feasible for SLC to cooperate with UTA to insititute a 'zonal' system where trips within SLC are prices differently than those across SLC boundaries, with discounted tickets/passes for the former.