POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Salt Lake City to limit vehicle travel on some streets to accommodate walkers and others

Apr 23, 2020, 6:11 PM
SLC limit vehicle travel...
SLC will limit vehicle travel on some roads to allow for more pedestrians and other outdoor enthusiasts. (Signs posted along 500 North in Salt Lake City, warning drivers about limited traffic. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Signs posted along 500 North in Salt Lake City, warning drivers about limited traffic. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Things are a lot quieter than usual along 500 North in Salt Lake City.  Starting today, the city will limit vehicle travel on that street ( between Redwood Road and 800 West) so it can be safer for bikers and other people who want to get outside.

So, what do the neighbors think? Do they want to limit vehicle travel?

City officials say they want residents to be able to get out of their houses and go outdoors, but they don’t want people to forget about social distancing while COVID-19 is still spreading.  So, they decided to “open” certain streets to pedestrian and bike traffic, and limit vehicle travel to locals or people who needed to get to a certain business.

They sent city residents a survey, and 500 North between Redwood Road and 800 west was the first street chosen.

What do the neighbors think?

When we spoke with people living along that road, most of them had no idea traffic was going to be restricted.  However, all of them seemed to love the idea.  One woman says she was “thrilled” at the news.

“It’s making them [the roads] more peaceful, and, given right now the stress of the situation, it’s more relaxing,” she said.

There are some concerns, though.  Mayas Furniture Store is on 500 North where traffic is being reduced. Store owner Andres Jimenez says the lack of traffic could make business slower than it already is.  However, he says it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make for public safety.

“I worry a little bit.  But, if it’s something to keep us safe, it’s fine,” he said.  “If closing the road is going to help us and everyone else, then we totally agree with it.”

Is 500 North the right street to limit?

Others wonder if 500 North was the best street to choose.  Some told KSL Newsradio that a lot of drivers use 500 North to access larger streets.

One man said, “This goes straight through to Redwood Road.  There’s always a lot of traffic on it and I don’t think it’s the place you want to limit the traffic.”

City officials say they received roughly 6,000 responses from their survey.  More streets will be announced in the future.

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Salt Lake City to limit vehicle travel on some streets to accommodate walkers and others