Wednesday , August 13, 2014 - 2:12 PM
OGDEN — A week and a half into the 37-day phenomenon that is the Ogden temple open house, the city says parking space isn’t an issue, but perhaps the use of public transportation is.
A five-week open house period for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ newly renovated Ogden temple began Aug. 1. The open house will run until Sept. 6, with the temple open for visitors each day of the week except Sunday.
After an evaluation of the initial traffic flow for the open house, city officials say parking space, which was expected to be at a premium, is wide open. The city also says traffic around the temple is flowing nicely. The city has closed 22nd Street between Washington Boulevard and Grant Avenue to regular traffic and is open to only pedestrians and buses. Grant was originally planned to become a one-way street between 24th and 20th streets, but the city has opened up the street in both directions after analyzing traffic on the first day of the open house.
“So far, parking hasn’t been an issue and traffic is moving without much delay around the temple block,” said City Engineer Justin Anderson. “We haven’t had any issues with people accessing any of our restaurants or retail stores.”
The city has approximately 3,700 parking stalls within a 10-minute walk of the temple. Currently, two open lots to the north and east of the temple are available for parking throughout the event, and an additional unfinished lot north of the FrontRunner parking area is also available for overflow parking. The city has also made parking garages near The Junction available for any overflow parking.
Most of the temple parking has been easily handled by the closest lots.
“A lot of people are carpooling and bringing big groups in one car,” Anderson said. “So that’s worked out pretty well.”
The city has also established a downtown trolley and shuttle service that offers multiple drop-off locations within the downtown area.
The route circulates from 21st Street through the Junction and over to 25th Street. The trolley runs Monday through Saturday and picks up every 30 minutes or less, but Anderson said the service has not been getting the kind of numbers Ogden initially hoped for.
“The numbers aren’t as high on the trolley as we would like to see,” he said. “Which means the numbers on FrontRunner aren’t as high, either. But we’ve still got a lot of time left, so we’d encourage people to use FrontRunner and then use the trolley to get around town.”
As the city tries to become a more walkable and bikable community, Anderson said citizens using public transit for events like the temple open house is part of the city’s vision.
“That’s why we have this (service) available,” he said. “We want people to use it.”
Throughout the five-week open house period, the city expects 750,000 visitors to come to Ogden. So far, the city estimates that an average of 20,000 visitors have been showing up to the temple each day. The numbers are different every day, but the city doesn’t expect total visitation for one day to exceed 30,000.
LDS Church spokesman Cody Craynor said the church doesn’t have any official numbers on how many people have visited the temple so far.
“We don’t keep a running tab on attendance like you’d see at a sporting event or something like that,” Craynor said. “We’ve always used the total number of open house reservations (as an estimate of how many people will come through the temple).”
Craynor said well over 600,000 reservations have been made so far.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.
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