Save Not Pave’s May 22nd rally draws 200 SL Valley residents

A non-partisan, grassroots organization, Save Not Pave, is gaining traction as they hold UDOT to its 2019 pledge for a “35mph gateway design”  on the 2.4 mile residential stretch of SR-210 between Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.  

Misnomer: “A place of “heavy traffic”  Implying a year round problem, UDOT is building a highway for commuter traffic they project may happen in twenty-five years from now.

Fact: Only traffic congestion occurs a maximum of thirty ski mornings per year.

This can be remedied through a SL Valley Regionalized Enhanced Bus System, which can be designed with housing/transit nodes addressing key issues for SL Valley NOT just to alleviate 30 peak ski mornings.

Save Not Pave has identified that a Fast, Non-stop transit moving SL Valley’s southeastern commuters, patients and students north/south along existing arterials of Highland Drive and 1300 East/I-215/Foothill Drive to U of U area (in concert with the already existing TRAX service to eastern downtown SLC) should be implemented first. UDOT’s insistence on building yet another high volume/high speed arterial to solve future commuting trends only induces higher use of private vehicles. Instead, it is time that elected representatives use tax dollars for a bold new “Housing/Transit Node (micro-hub)” plan which can address the need for affordable housing, affordable mobility AND improved air quality all at once.

UDOT’s Wasatch Blvd Expansion will further fracture the neighborhoods along this foothill area adding danger for cyclists, runners, pedestrians and motorists as cited by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Federal Highway Administration  — “residential communities need speeds of 20-35mph in order to reduce injuries and fatalities, and encourage active transportation and transit ridership.”

The Biden Administration is investigating why federal funds are flowing into communities to widen and speed up roads through residential communities. We need to do this with State funding as well!

On May 22nd, cyclists, families pushing strollers and carrying children on their shoulders wielded signs and made their way on the precarious roadway where bicycle lanes do not meet SLCO bicycle safety requirements and sidewalks are mostly non-existent.

Sandy Councilwoman Monica Zoltanski, and candidate for Sandy District 6 Aaron Dekeyzer had the crowd cheering over the importance of slower speeds and better safety for ourselves and our children. Other speakers included State Senator Riebe, Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion, SLCO Councilman Jim Bradley, Mayor Mike Peterson, Wasatch Mount Club’s Will McCarville and SNP founder Ellen Birrell.

Birrell asks: “How is it in a time of supposed austerity when state legislators are considering cuts to education and public health services, UDOT has money to burn on projects that encourage car driving and are currently unnecessary. Why are they so sure that trends won’t change? The Covid era we’re in, as well as growing public sentiment that air quality for Salt Lake Valley is paramount, may well make a sea change for public mobility.”  

Rally attendees left the event vowing to continue the campaign by illuminating the basic challenge of a state legislature funding new and bigger UDOT roads at three times the amount that they fund UTA to focus on transit. 

Save Not Pave is a local, grassroots organization led by Ellen Birrell and Aaron Dekeyzer, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy respectively, that aims at preserving the gateway to Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons for future generations through practical and viable ski traffic solutions, and improvements to road safety and community connectivity while maintaining the beauty and recreational-nature of Wasatch Boulevard. More at or email [email protected]