The most recent of several community visioning workshops for the Sugar House streetcar was held on Thursday, August 25 at Highland High School. There was a sizable crowd in attendance at this family-friendly event during which refreshments and a children’s activity area were provided to facilitate broader participation since its 5:30 p.m. start time occurred when many are picking up children from day care or sitting down to dinner.
Soren Simonsen, District 7 (Sugar House) City Councilman, who has been an active participant in the project gave a brief introduction, followed by Marilee Utter, owner of Citiventure Associates, one of the primary consultants working on the project, gave an overview, reiterating the goals that, when complete, would provide a green, multi-use, safe, ‘transit oriented development’ – TOD – based on proven urban design principles including:
- Integrating transit, development and residential areas
- Building up the corridor
- Providing accessibility and connectivity
- Diversity within the corridor, with sustainable elements
- Putting things in the right place to align with all aspects – transit, pedestrian trails, biking, and development
- Making it Cost Effective
- Making it sustainable
- Making it an incremental, cost effective development
Ron Straka, FAII, design consultant provided a recap of the corridor itself, which varies from sixty to sixty-six feet, mostly wider west of 900 East, varying from 16 to 24 feet on both sides of the two 13 foot tracks along with the ten foot wide Pratt Trail on the north side, and six to ten feet of utility space, utilizing existing utility poles to provide lighting for the corridor, especially at the transit stations.
Development will take place on the south side of the corridor. The first (funded) phase will end at McClelland Street; funding and a determination for the ultimate east end stop will take place later.
Straka also noted that different treatments will occur in different areas. For example on 700 East, the station will be placed on the west side so as not to interfere with existing businesses and limited parking. A plaza space is planned at that stop.
At 500 East the transit station is planned for the east side of the street, from which the corridor narrows, but a goal is to provide connectivity to the historic St. Ann’s Church located slightly northwest. 500 East is also the border between Sugar House and South Salt Lake, thus planners also hope to make it a transitional gateway.
On Main Street, project planners anticipate a curve in the track, moving it slightly north to Utopia Avenue (2177 South) with a ’transit village’ at the beginning point in South Salt Lake.
Other interim Phase I goals include imbedding the tracks to facilitate walking, planting groundcover on the sides of the tracks to make the area more aesthetically pleasing prior to development, establishing barriers including vegetative ones between the corridor and existing uses, e.g. residential, and specifically identifying stops, e.g. on the east or west side of the street.
Phase I construction will begin in 2012, with completion planned for late 2013 or early 2014.
Part II will include a timeline and funding sources beyond that allotted from Tiger II Federal Grant funds and smaller allotments from Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake as well as tentative timelines for final completion.