Traffic, population growth continue to challenge local leaders
As Lehi continues to add more housing units and residents to its burgeoning population, traffic, classroom overcrowding, lack of park facilities and construction challenges have created complaints throughout the city. The west and north side of Lehi are experiencing the worst of these challenges, particularly in the Thanksgiving Point area.
Utah County’s population is expected to reach 1.6 million by 2065, according to projections from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Much of that population growth is expected to occur along the west side of Utah County in the Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs areas. Growth in those areas affects Lehi.
Population growth will continue to be fueled by job creation in the tech industries, many of which are located in Lehi and in communities along the I-15 tech corridor. With the relocation of the Utah State Prison, even more commercial and residential growth are projected in Lehi, Draper, Bluffdale, and surrounding communities, making roadways and schools even more crowded.
According to Envision Utah, a think tank tasked with creating a vision for growth in Utah, “With the right vision and execution, the Point of the Mountain area can become an internationally acclaimed job center, as well as a place with a high quality of life. But if the right steps are not taken, today’s economic successes may cause tomorrow’s challenges and failures. Indeed, transportation challenges already exist. Infrastructure is essential to build a dynamic high-tech center, but it is not sufficient. Success will require a vision that’s powerful enough to galvanize support and investment, a full analysis of the best practices and lessons learned from high-tech centers across the country, and a plan that extends far beyond the necessary infrastructure.
Perhaps more than anything else, achieving the area’s potential will require proactive, collaborative planning across jurisdictions and sectors. Key stakeholders must be brought together to establish common goals and strategies. With the stakeholders working together, the result can be much greater than what might happen with each stakeholder working separately.”
Lehi City, Alpine School District, Utah County, and other leaders are stakeholders who have the challenging task of guiding the area as population growth continues.
The growth of the past decade continued in Lehi throughout 2019, and a list of the top ten news stories would be incomplete without mentioning the continued growth and the challenges created by it.