Citizen interest in generating more opportunities for healthier living in Tooele Valley is apparently growing as evidenced during a public open house held at the Stansbury Park Clubhouse on Thursday.
Approximately 40 citizens reportedly attended the open house from 5-7 p.m. to review the Tooele County Health Department’s Active Transportation Implementation Plan and a proposed 9-mile pathway from Erda, through Stansbury Park to Lake Point for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
As reported in a story on today’s front page, the open house presentation included static displays of the active transportation plan’s six key goals, and an enlarged map that shows the pathway’s proposed route from Erda to Lake Point.
Summarized, those key goals include: Integrate pathways into new and improved transportation infrastructure; build primary pathways that connect Tooele Valley communities; develop pathways in the valley that link walkers, runners and cyclists to areas that interest them; cultivate high rates of safe walking, running and cycling; and promote pathways in the community to get more residents active.
The cost of the 9-mile pathway is presently unknown, according to a health department spokesman. However, because the proposed pathway goes through three communities, all of which are unincorporated, the current construction and funding approach is for the pathway to be built in sections as money and property become available.
As reported, funding sources could come from communities on the pathway route, Tooele County, and/or private developers.
Comments about the open house ranged from the need to create safer routes in the valley for walkers, runners and cyclists to constructing the pathway between Erda and Lake Point as soon as possible.
But perhaps the most poignant observation came from Steve Allen, Stansbury High School track coach. He said being active should be important to the community and “Other great communities have these paths and trails that are safe. The trails promote being healthy and bring communities together.”
Furthermore, Heidi Goedhart, active transportation manager for the Utah Department of Transportation, said it’s good to see progress being made on more active transportation plans for Tooele Valley. She said because of the valley’s growth, UDOT is looking for ways to eliminate traffic congestion. Also, it’s a “good way for people to get their 30 minutes of physical activity each day.”
Which, when it comes to Tooele County, cannot be encouraged enough. The county’s renown for being in the top tier statewide for its number of obese to overweight residents, and its renown for a high incidence of diabetes, is a serious local health issue that demands direct intervention. Although the cost is unknown, the need for a pathway between Erda and Lake Point for walkers, runners and cyclists, to connect communities by active transportation, and to hopefully help reduce vehicular congestion, would enhance the area’s quality of life on several levels.
Tooele County already has numerous multi-purpose trails in area canyons and mountains for residents and visitors to enjoy and reap healthful benefits. The active transportation plan and proposed pathway is another important step in that direction. The pathway merits vigorous community support and will hopefully succeed.