Plans for mixed-use development at Ogden’s FrontRunner Station chugging along
OGDEN — Plans for transit-oriented development around Ogden’s FrontRunner station are in the works. The Utah Transit Authority is finishing up master plans with city officials to develop what they say will be compact, vibrant, mixed-use, walkable areas to optimize access to and from public transit hubs.
Ogden City Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said master plans for transit-oriented development, or TOD, at the Union Station campus are 70% complete. In the months after completion, the city and UTA will solicit development proposals.
UTA Director of Real Estate and Transit Oriented Development Paul Drake said the agency does not have an estimated time frame for the Ogden TOD as they are currently breaking ground on four of eight similar projects.
According to UTA, developments around high-capacity transit stations decrease traffic congestion, improve air quality and public health, and lower the cost of living.
The transit development at Union Station will be Ogden’s first TOD project. UTA’s bus rapid transit system, currently in development throughout downtown Ogden up to McKay-Dee Hospital, also has potential for transit-oriented development, as TODs apply to any transit hub.
“It’s how transit gets integrated into the community,” Drake said of TODs.
With the development of streets, paths, buildings, open space and other aspects of the environment, the UTA said TODs may become economic generators for their communities due to the variety and intensity of land use.
Ogden City and UTA began working on a plan dubbed Ogden Onboard in 2005 to improve transit after studying high performance transit in the city for over a decade.
Ogden Onboard is a study examining transportation with a focus on preserving a mix of equitable housing, enhancing access to essential services, creating well-designed and welcoming stops and station areas, and providing improved active transportation connections and greater connectivity to the regional transit system.
UTA found young people between the ages of 16 and 34 drove 23% fewer miles on average in 2009 compared to 2001. Furthermore, they found millennials to be more open to other forms of transportation than driving, with a desire to live in urban, walkable neighborhoods.
According to Fehr & Peers Transportation Solutions, an average of 4.5 million vehicle miles are traveled on urban streets in Weber County each day. With the population of Ogden expected to grow to 102,000 by 2040, city leaders and UTA have said transit needs to be addressed.
Transportation has long been a part of Ogden’s history, having been a hub for the transcontinental railroad and with neighborhood trolleys in the 1800s.
The city, in collaboration with UTA, hope to continue Ogden’s transportation history by providing modern-day bus and commuter rail networks with community-driven destinations.