By Rick Maestas
Taylorsville City Green Committee
As the Salt Lake Valley begins to get cold, we should be mindful of the poor air quality that affects our health due to our seasonal inversions. As a long time Taylorsville resident, I understand that our city’s most convenient form of transportation is our personal vehicles. This is because getting around in Taylorsville means navigating many miles of arterial streets. I would like to suggest some ways of limiting our personal vehicle miles traveled, in order to reduce Taylorsville’s air quality footprint.
One way to limit our personal vehicle miles traveled is to use our transportation system, which only really includes busses since all rail services exist outside of our city boundaries. Taylorsville residents will live near one of the following bus routes which follow our arterial streets: Route 41—4100 South; Route 47—4700 south; Route 54—5400 South; Route 62—6200 South; Route 217—Redwood Road; Route 227—2700 West; Route 232—3200 West; Route 240—4000 West / Dixie Valley. These routes frequently connect to rail services and will become more convenient to us if they are utilized by more people. Another suggestion will be to drive to the nearest Park and Ride station in order to utilize light rail or the Frontrunner.
The process of trip chaining is simply to consider ahead of time what trips that you need to make during your day, and then link those trips in the shortest route possible, and in the fewest trips possible. For example, if you need to go to work, go to the post office, pick up your child[ren] from school, and get groceries on a given day, then there may be a way to accomplish these tasks in only one or two trips, and to strategize the shortest route between the trips.
Single vs. High- Occupancy Vehicles
As I was driving on the freeway the other day, I hit a particularly heavy flow of traffic which slowed my commute down to a crawl. I felt like being nosy and I began to inspect the hundreds of other vehicles that passed by me. I soon realized that the majority of these vehicles only contained the driver of the vehicle, making them single-occupancy vehicles. If somehow these drivers could carpool together, then the single-occupancy vehicles would become high-occupancy vehicles, which would reduce traffic and make more vehicles eligible to use the HOV lane. For those that would like to carpool or vanpool, UTA has made this process simple with their Ridematching Database (www.utacommuter.com)
. The more Taylorsville residents that sign up on this resource, the more likely that carpooling partners can be located in our city.
I know that the easiest way to get around Taylorsville City is to simply jump in a personal vehicle and go. But when I can physically see the pollution hanging in the air during our winter months, then I feel inclined to change my driving habits. By using transit more often, chaining my trips, and carpooling, I am reducing the vehicle miles that I travel and reducing the amount of pollution that I am putting into the air. Taylorsville has more than 58,000 residents, and more than 70 percent of our residents are eligible to drive. If we can all improve our driving habits, then Taylorsville City can become a leader in air quality improvement. Please see the following links for air quality facts and other ways to improve air quality in the Salt Lake Valley.