Salt Lake City to update its transportation master plan for the first time in almost 25 years

Apr 28, 2020, 8:54 AM | Updated: 8:55 am
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Getty Images: Salt lake City at sunrise, looking south toward the state Capitol.

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City may soon get more walkable and bike-friendly.

This summer the city will start updating its transportation master plan for the first time in about 25 years. City planners will be looking to modernize roads, public transportation routes, and other ways to get around.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall has signaled support for continuing to close off some streets to give people more options to walk around.

Transportation Division Director Jon Larsen took questions from the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Council on Monday night. He supports reintroducing more traffic calming measures, like speed bumps, to get people to slow down and avoid crashes with pedestrians.

“I think if we approach it in a way, we look at it district by district or neighborhood by neighborhood, instead of one street at a time, we think that could really help,” Larsen said.

The city got rid of its traffic calming program 20 years ago after complaints that cars were being diverted onto residential streets.

But Larsen believes controversial projects, like reducing speed limits around the Utah State Capitol building or diverting more traffic onto major roads, should be considered.

“It does matter when there’s proven support for a project, especially if it’s potentially controversial. If there’s a lot of support from the neighborhood, that helps…There are a lot of really good ideas, but if the neighborhood hates them we’re not going to do them,” Larsen said.

The city is also looking to engineer some streets differently so big rigs can avoid residential neighborhoods whenever possible.

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Salt Lake City to update its transportation master plan for the first time in almost 25 years