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HIGHLAND — Highland and Alpine leaders are hoping to increase connectivity between each other's cities through trails, sidewalks and other transportation routes and are collecting public input to do so.
"Highland and Alpine are really big and known for our amazing trail system," Highland City Councilwoman Kim Rodela said. "We've had a lot of feedback from residents that we need to look at more connectivity between the two cities. We have a lot of great trails between us, but how is the connectivity between them?"
Rodela said many Alpine and Highland residents are outdoorsy and love biking, mountain biking, hiking and trail running. Because of this, residents have reached out to city leaders with concerns about making the trails better and creating safer passage between the cities for all users, such as for children traveling to school.
The cities are conducting a study to collect public input on how to create safe passage for all users and improve access to schools, parks, trails and other city destinations in order to "develop a multimodal network that connects Alpine and Highland," the Alpine Highland Connections website said.
As part of this initiative, residents are encouraged to fill out a survey and interactive map on the website to give the city feedback on how they travel within and between the two cities, where the problem areas are, or suggestions on where connections between the cities could be placed.
Rodela said the cities are primarily looking at the trail system and sidewalk system to focus on walking and biking connections.
"It's a great way to get feedback between our residents of 'Where are we falling short?'" Rodela said. "This is really just being able to actively connect our cities and also get people outside more. Walking more, biking more — doing all the things we love in our cities."
This is really just being able to actively connect our cities and also get people outside more. Walking more, biking more — doing all the things we love in our cities.
–Highland City Councilwoman Kim Rodela
Looking through the comments that have already been posted on the map, Rodela said it's been fun to see suggestions that she never would have thought of, such as adding another way to cross under Timpanogos Highway or extending the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
"When I have an issue going on in a certain part of the city, the first people I'm going to look for are the residents that live in that area because they are the resident experts," Rodela said. "This is a great way for us to be able to go to our experts in those areas and get their feedback, because they are the ones walking the trails."
Although the city councils have been working on this initiative for a few months now, public feedback for the connections plan ends Dec. 1.
The city councils are partnering with Horrocks Engineering, which will put together a study of all the feedback received to show the areas that need improvement of connectivity and to devise a plan on how to go forward to accomplish it all. Rodela said she is hoping the plan will be finalized in the next year, and then the cities will be able to start working on the improvements.
"So many times we do projects, and then we come up with a plan and we think it's a great plan. We start moving forward with it and then residents come and say, 'That's an awful plan.'" Rodela said. "Please leave your feedback and let us know. The more that residents comment and give their expertise to us, the better we're going to do as a city to be able to provide the infrastructure and amenities they want."
Residents can leave feedback at alpinehighlandconnections.com/.