Jackson Hole Transportation Study
The purpose of this report is to provide community members and elected officials with a discussion of options and recommendations that will both mitigate our traffic problems and minimize the negative impacts on wildlife and rural character of Jackson Hole’s western valley. The options explored in this report include both increases in paved surface and lanes of traffic, as well as variations that rely primarily on other methods of mitigating the increased traffic volumes.
It’s hard to get around Jackson Hole, for people and wildlife, no matter how you’re trying to get where you need to go. Our neighborhoods lack sidewalks. Our streets aren’t safe for our kids to ride bikes to school. Unless you’re going to and from Teton Village during the winter, the START bus just doesn’t work for most of us. There’s rarely another route we can take to get to our destination. These obstacles force many of us into our cars, resulting in ground transportation accounting for approximately 60% of our community’s climate change causing pollution.
On average, 114 mule deer, 35 elk, and 15 moose are struck and killed by motorists every year on Teton County roads. The summer tourist season floods our roads with traffic. Because of this seasonal congestion, and because many mistakenly believe that wider roads will alleviate congestion (despite decades of data proving wider roads only encourage people to drive more and do not reduce congestion), proposals are in place to dramatically expand the highways that bisect our community, which would harm our community character and make it even harder to get around.
Jackson Hole should invest
in a better transportation future that
aligns with our values of protecting wildlife
and community character, provides
everyone with the freedom to safely and
conveniently get where they need to go on
foot, bike, or transit, and does
not include building new highways.
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and partners are launching the JH Passage Project to develop a clear vision for the future of our valley’s transportation system, starting with the Highway 22/390 corridor.
“It’s hard for both people and wildlife to get around Jackson Hole,” said Alliance Executive Director Skye Schell. “We have seasonal traffic congestion, not enough START bus service, unsafe intersections and dangerously-fast traffic, and an average of over 500 large wildlife-vehicle collisions every year. Despite decades of data showing wider roads only encourage people to drive more, we face proposals to dramatically expand the highways that bisect our community and to add new roads, ultimately increasing traffic and pollution. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”
Our County Commission could vote on the proposed Tribal Trail Connector Road (TTCR) as soon as this winter. The proposed half-mile of new pavement would connect the end of the existing Tribal Trail Road to Highway 22.
If we build this road before figuring out the big picture, it could:
- Cause increased traffic and delay on Highway 22
- Use up resources we need for more effective solutions
- Be impossible to take back if we get it wrong
Addressing our community’s transportation problems is like solving a puzzle – we need to make sure we understand the big picture before placing any pieces. If we get this decision wrong, there’s no going back.