Local control, transportation among top legislative priorities for HerrimanJan 11, 2021 10:57AM ● By Justin Adams
One of Herriman’s legislative priorities is funding of an east–west expressway across the south part of the valley. Currently, there are two main roads leading into Herriman, 12600 South and 13400 South (pictured here) which often become clogged with traffic. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
During its Nov. 18 meeting, the Herriman City Council discussed its policy priorities for the 2021 state and federal legislative sessions.
“We want to set priorities to meet the goals and objectives that serve the interests of our Herriman community,” said Assistant City manager Tami Moody. “We want to make sure that we’re working with our legislators and protecting the interests of our community.”
The top priority for the city, according to a draft list prepared by the administration based on city council discussions from the past year, was local control.
What does that mean?
“Nobody knows our community better than we do, and nobody represents our community better than our local leaders,” said Moody.
Translation: Let cities make more decisions, especially when it comes to issues that will heavily impact them. Exhibit A would be the more than 900 Olympia Hills development, which was approved by Salt Lake County leaders, despite fierce opposition from local residents and city officials alike. Herriman City Council members unanimously opposed the decision, which will add up to 6,000 single-family homes, townhomes and apartments to the southwest corner of the valley.
The second priority listed by the city was public safety.
“We’ve seen what has happened across the nation this year, and that has obviously put public safety right at the front of people’s minds,” Moody said. “Most of the bills so far place an emphasis on additional training, on interacting with mental health issues and working with canines.”
When asked by the council if any upcoming Utah legislature bills posed any concern for the Herriman Police Department, Deputy Chief Cody Stromberg said there was no cause for concern.
“A lot of the things being focused on from a law enforcement standpoint have to do with police reform, mental health, use of force, some accountability things, and none of those things are bad,” he said. “I think they’re all good productive discussions. The vast majority of things being discussed are things we already do. Chief Carr put us on a path years ago of being very progressive and forward-thinking.”
Another big priority for the city: transportation infrastructure.
“With all the growth we’re experiencing in this corner of the valley, we always like to have infrastructure before the growth,” Moody said.
The question for Herriman is which projects will best alleviate traffic congestion as commuters travel from the highly residential southwest corner of the valley to the I-15 corridor where much more jobs are located.
“It seems like some of these projects are in competition with one another,” said councilmember Steven Shields. “We should get on the same page as our neighboring communities, so we don’t have one person pitching red line extension and another person pitching an east–west freeway and another person pitching Mountain View Corridor extension. We need a cohesive message.”
Councilmember Jared Henderson said creating an east–west expressway is the most important.
“All the data shows the pressure is east–west,” he said. “[Improvements to] Mountain View and Bangerter help, but we also need an east–west expressway. There are only two ways out of our city, and we’re starting to see the numbers pile up, even with reduced traffic from COVID.”
The challenge to creating an east–west expressway in the south part of the valley is that so much of the land is built-out that it would necessitate some people having to move out of their homes to clear the way.
“The ones that are built out don’t want it in their city because their residents don’t want to get kicked out of their houses, right?” Henderson said. “But that’s what will happen. We’ve learned that with Bangerter.”
The two primary candidates for a potential expressway are 12600 South and 13400 South, of which the Herriman Council’s preference is 12600 South.
“Everyone agrees there has to be one,” Mayor David Watts said. “Now it’s location. Let’s figure out where it’s going.”