Now that the weather is warmer, Salt Lake City leaders want residents to bag driving alone in their car in favor of biking, busing, walking and carpooling.
Unveiled Wednesday, the city's volunteer SmartTrips program encourages the East Liberty Park community to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips by opting instead for alternative transit.
SmartTrips is modeled after similar efforts in Australia and cities such as Portland, Ore., where the program led to an 18 percent decrease in drive-alone trips.
"It has great potential," said City Councilman Luke Garrott after the program was announced at Liberty Park. "Government's role is to inform people of choices. If people are given choices, and the weather is good, people will find other ways to travel."
With SmartTrips, the city hopes to engage 1,000 households in the East Liberty neighborhood to dramatically scale back drive-alone trips from April 1 to Oct. 31. Residents will be provided resources, ranging from a city bicycling map, "WalkScore" map and Utah Transit Authority schedule to information on carpool and vanpool trips.
City Hall has arranged incentives, too. SmartTrip volunteers will receive a coupon book for discounts at eateries to encourage participants to dine near their homes. Seven-day UTA passes, bicycle pumps, taillights and pedo-meters also have been donated. And volunteers can sign up for complimentary community programs, including basic bike maintenance, bicycle commuting, riding public transportation, walkable destinations and women-only bicycle riding.
Transportation officials will encourage people to log their alternative-transit mileage so the program's effectiveness can be reviewed this fall.
East Liberty was chosen for its mix of residential and business districts along with its proximity to pubic transit and bike lanes, though Garrott notes SmartTrips could expand citywide.
"Given the track record in other cities," he said, "there's no reason it won't be successful in Salt Lake City."
The boundary for the East Liberty test is 900 South to 1300 South between 700 East and 1100 East, according to city transportation director Robin Hutcheson. She notes interested participants can go online to order a kit at http://tinyurl.com/79a3364.
The kit will be delivered on a bike.
Order a kit
O Those interested in SmartTrips can go online to order a kit at http://tinyurl.com/79a3364. The kit will be delivered on a bike.