After months of debate and meeting after meeting, grateful Provo council members unanimously voted on a resolution to support a bus rapid transit route through the city.
The now-supported route, called Route 4, will go along University Avenue from the Provo FrontRunner station up 700 North and across 700 East over to 900 North and then up onto 900 East to University Parkway and then through Orem. The resolution was a joint measure with Mayor John Curtis, who has supported Route 4 for months and debated with the council over it.
A few owners of property along 900 East spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting — there was no public comment time specifically for the BRT resolution — and said they want to be involved in discussions about mitigation along that part of the route, especially about bike lanes or a bike path.
The resolution, in addition to signifying support for Route 4, also states that the council and mayor will work with all parties involved — including UTA, the Utah Department of Transportation and Mountainland Association of Governments — to ensure that funding for enhancements will be part of the deal. Those enhancements could include safety measures for bicyclists and pedestrians, parking, security at Wasatch Elementary School and landscaping.
“I’m grateful for the patience of residents and our partners,” said Councilman Gary Winterton. “There were major concerns as we started this and we’re grateful for the patience that’s been shown.”
Councilwoman Kim Santiago, who had opposed Route 4, said she also was grateful and ready to move forward.
Now that the city supports the route, what happens next is up to the federal government. The Utah Transit Authority will submit the project to the Federal Transit Administration this year for funding — it needs $75 million. The remaining $75 million for the project has been pledged by cities around Utah County, from a transportation sales tax fund.
In March, the council spent more than $90,000 to hire a group to do an independent analysis of BRT routes though Provo, to determine whether Route 4 was the best for the city. The group’s report, finished in May, stated that Route 4 was the best alternative.