Cottonwood canyons face major traffic congestion following start of ski season

Dec 15, 2022, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:02 pm

A new service called Cottonwood Connect could address parking problems at the ski resorts in Big an...

FILE: The Cottonwood Connect ski shuttle can take riders to the Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude ski resorts. But they must first reserve a seat, and those reservations are offered on a first come first served basis. (Photo: KSL TV)

(Photo: KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Traffic congestion in the Cottonwood canyons is a hot topic at the moment, especially with the strong start to the ski season.

Thanks to the flexibility of multi-mountain passes, if it’s slow-moving on the road to Little Cottonwood Canyon, people can just choose to head to Big Cottonwood Canyon.

A lot of attention has been given to alleviating Little Cottonwood Canyon’s traffic pressures but for Brad Rutledge, Co-Founder of Wasatch Back Country Alliance, a focus should be placed on both.

“Big Cottonwood Canyon is not a stand-alone problem,” he told KSL NewsRadio. “The central Wasatch and access to all our canyons are interconnected.”

Despite wanting a more progressive approach like increased bus traffic, Rutledge wants locals and individuals to take ownership of their own mountain behavior.

“Making choices to carpool whenever possible. We really don’t want to see single occupants in a car,” he said. “That really adds to the problem when you have a bunch of people coming in single vehicles [and taking up parks].”

Ellen Birrell, a member of the Cottonwood Heights Council, also shared her opinions on traffic congestions. While speaking with KSL News Radio, she made it clear that her opinions were not a representation of the council.

Birrell has lived and worked in the area for more than 3 decades. She said SLC is becoming a destination city for ski holidays.

Additionally, she wants to see more effort put into public transport rather than simply widening roads.

“Utah Department of Transport, even though they claim to be working arm in arm with UTA, I am not seeing evidence of that,” she explained. “UDOT is in the business of building highways… Salt Lake Valley needs first class transit- it needs to be viable for workers, skiers, for all people”

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Cottonwood canyons face major traffic congestion following start of ski season