RIVERDALE — As officials from Riverdale, Washington Terrace and South Ogden continue their look into improving alternative means of transport between the three cities, one thing jumps out — a desire for improved connectivity around southern Riverdale.
Boosters of the study asked for public input on the matter, and the proposals getting the most support were for links improving access to and from southern Riverdale. The city is somewhat cut off in the area from Washington Terrace to the east and South Ogden beyond that by the Weber River and a steep ridge.
One proposal in the study calls for the addition of a bridge over the railroad tracks on the east side of the Weber River in the area, creating an access point between the Weber River Parkway in Riverdale and Rohmer Park to the east in Washington Terrace. That mustered 21 likes on an online map posted to generate feedback on the topic, the most of any of the varied proposed changes in the three cities.
“Nothing proposed would do more to connect the Washington Terrace and South Ogden communities together with Riverdale ... than to add a mixed-use path from the Terrace down to the parkway,” Colby Wayment said in an online comment on that particular proposal. “Currently, most every road option to get past the train tracks and river in the area is not great for anything but automobiles.”
Paul Burnett noted that the connection would improve accessibility from Washington Terrace to the extensive network of trails in the area and create “a functional route” to shopping areas in Riverdale.
Another proposal calls for construction of a bridge over the Weber River, connecting a path north of the Riverdale trailer park to the Weber River Parkway on the east side of the waterway. That garnered 17 likes on the online map, second highest, as well as one dislike.
“I think to add more to the area would greatly enhance our experience. It is such a beautiful area, I would like to see it developed more,” said Becky Stimpson, another commenter.
The support notwithstanding, the next steps in the efforts — focused on augmenting pedestrian, bicycle and other alternative means of transport between the three cities — have yet to be pinpointed. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the ability of officials to meet, slowing efforts to complete the study, according to Tom Hanson, the Washington Terrace city manager. Efforts to craft the study date to early 2020, when the consultant leading the process, Alta Planning Group out of Salt Lake City, initially sought public input. Next came the request for feedback on specific proposals on the online map, sought through mid-July.
The study has a price tag of $96,000, with $90,000 of that coming from federal and state money. No funding is specifically earmarked for any projects that may emerge from the study, but that the three cities are working together ought to enhance efforts to find resources when it gets to that stage, Hanson said Monday. “It gives a higher degree of validity to those requests. The study actually affirms that the communities are working together,” he said.
Hanson also noted that changes don’t necessarily have to be pricey. Adding striping to designate portions of existing streets as bike paths could be one change not requiring a massive budget. Signage guiding pedestrians and cyclists could be another relatively inexpensive change.
New trails and trail segments might be other fixes, but he said they would require increased scrutiny because of ongoing maintenance costs that would result.
Another proposal on the online map calls for safety improvements in South Ogden on and around Chambers Street and Glasmann Way, which crosses U.S. Highway 89 and connects to Glassmann Way Park. That garnered nine likes, third most of the many proposed changes. Other proposals call for enhanced crosswalks, flashing beacons and more at varied locations to better protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Officials from the Alta Planning Group and South Ogden and Riverdale weren’t immediately available for comment on Monday.