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Nobody is more interested in Salt Lake County's Canyons Transportation Master Plan than the folks in Cottonwood Heights.

"As the city between the canyons, all the traffic going up Big and Little Cottonwood canyons has an impact on us," said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore.

The Canyons Transportation Master Plan seeks to look into the future to begin planning and building transportation systems that will serve the area in 20, 30 and 40 years, Cullimore said. His city recently reviewed the ongoing effort.

The upcoming study and subsequent planning will build upon "Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow," a conservation plan released last year in conjunction with Envision Utah, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, the town of Alta, the Utah Transit Authority, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Resulting strategies will consider how traffic gets to canyon mouths, where cars will be allowed to park and how people get up the canyons, Cullimore said. "Right now, we're trying to get studies done to get more data," he said. "The canyons have a fixed capacity. But we keep throwing more growth from the valley at those canyons."

Beyond the Cottonwood canyons, the plan will look at City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parleys and Mill Creek canyons. Transit plans could include bus, rail and even trams, Cullimore said.

"Better access to the canyons is going to be required," he said. "Getting people up and down to and from ski resorts is important."

Transportation in the canyons is complicated by many factors, including impact on water quality and other environmental issues.

"There are lots of issues and they will require a lot of study," the Cottonwood Heights mayor said. "It's a long-term process. The studies alone will take years."

In the end, Cullimore said, the process seeks to provide "creative but practical" solutions to transportation challenges in the canyons surrounding Salt Lake Valley.

More online

O Find more information on the Canyons Master Plan •

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