Mass transit needs study in Layton, Clearfield

LAYTON – A feasibility study addressing public transit challenges in the Clearfield/Layton area points to the need to increase access to Hill Air Force Base, bridge the gap between a FrontRunner station and the Freeport Center and make it easier for workers to get that last mile between a station and their place of employment.

Those challenges were among the issues raised by a feasibility study of mass transit in two of Davis County’s largest cities done by the Utah Transit Authority. Hal Johnson, a project development manager for UTA, and Eddy Cumins, regional general manager for UTA, outlined the study results in a Thursday work session with members of the Layton City Council.

The challenges and possible solutions, detailed in the study include:

• Creating a pedestrian connection from FrontRunner in Clearfield to ATK and the Freeport Center. With 8,000 employees the large manufacturing hub is a huge destination, according to Johnson. He said getting the public over the rail lines is a major obstacle. He suggested smaller vans would be a better option than 40-foot buses, which would be difficult to maneuver on the old naval supply base. UTA also detailed the need for a pedestrian bridge over the rail lines.

• Connecting the Layton FrontRunner stop with that of Clearfield for employees who work in between the stops, particularly at the Layton Hills Mall. The study examines the possibility of creating circulator routes for mass transit between the two. Eight different routes were included in the review. Johnson said people can take light rail from Provo to Layton and be there in an hour but it often takes another hour to get the mile from the station to their place of employment. He said better circulator routes will address the challenges of the last mile.

• The funding challenge of any new initiative. UTA is currently funding a mass transit program to Hill, but none of the other ideas has funding and there seems to be little hope that will change in the near future, according to Johnson.

“Until the 2025 timeframe we don’t have dollars to put into new services. We can’t operate everything we’re operating. To implement any of these services we need to find new resources. We see these services as critical and need to work collectively to fund that,” Johnson told council members.

The study was a collaborative effort between Clearfield, Layton, Freeport Center, the Military Installation Development Authority, the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Weber State University, Hill, the Utah Department of Transportation and UTA.