Park City, UT- This month, Save People Save Wildlife submitted a comment to the study team conducting the analysis for the SR 224 Rapid Transit Bus Plan to advocate for the inclusion of wildlife mitigation measures, such as crossings, in the final plan. For more information on the project, please visit: https://sr224brt.com/
Save People Save Wildlife Comments for SR 224 Bus Rapid Transit Environmental Document
Save People Save Wildlife (SPSW) appreciates the opportunity to provide comment on the subject.
Two of the stated project goals are:
Enhanced safety for all users in the corridor;
Supporting healthy communities, best environmental practices, and the sustainability goals of the community.
Preservation of wildlife habitats and wildlife mobility paths are a critical part of environmental stewardship. Enhanced safety cannot be achieved without eliminating vehicle-wildlife collisions.
Wildlife Habitat and Wildlife Mobility Paths
“The Snyderville Basin General Plan” states the residents of the basin agree that open space in the mountain setting of the basin provides aesthetic value, recreational opportunities, wildlife management and protection, and promotes an amenity-rich community. One of those amenities is wildlife preservation. Policy 5.23: Wildlife, of the General Plan is to ensure the protection of wildlife and habitat from adverse impacts of development. Coordinating with the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources, there is a map of critical winter and summer ranges, birthing areas, and migration corridors. SR 224 is shown on the Snyderville Basin Wildlife Map as having numerous wildlife habitat and migration routes. These wildlife habitat and migratory routes along SR 224 must be protected.
“The Kimball Junction and SR 224 Area Plan” touched on wildlife considerations, noting that humans aren’t the only beings that cross SR 224. They also referenced the Snyderville Basin General Plan’s Wildlife Map. The Plan described that at the study level, wildlife crossings or prevention features were not designed as part of each alternative, though all of the alternatives developed during this study and recommended for future study could accommodate wildlife crossings or crossing prevention features. The Plan went on to say wildlife mitigation features should be considered during the environmental phase of the project.
Enhanced Safety for all users in the corridor
Enhanced safety cannot be achieved without wildlife mitigation measures to eliminate vehicle-wildlife collisions. The definitive study on this subject is “Identification of Wildlife-Vehicle Conflict Priority Hotspots in Utah Summary Report”, November 2019, prepared for UDOT, by Patricia Cramer, PhD. The report found that SR 224 between Kimball Junction and the SR 248 intersection is the fifth-most-dangerous spot in Utah for vehicle-wildlife collisions. The report prioritized where actions are most urgently needed, based on crash data.
In closing, to achieve the project goal of enhanced safety for SR 224, vehicle-wildlife collisions must be eliminated. To achieve the goal of environmental stewardship to protect wildlife habitat and wildlife mobility paths, wildlife mitigation measures must be included in the project. The project scope of 12 foot wide dedicated transit lanes on each side of SR 224 must include wildlife mitigation measures.
Save People Save Wildlife