Salt Lake City officials released the final redesign concept for a major roadway in Sugar House on Wednesday evening.
The city originally released two options on how to update 2100 South between 700 East and 1300 East: a three-lane option, with one car lane in each direction and a turn-only lane in between, plus a two-way cycle track; and a four-lane option, which included a new shared-use path.
The city is moving forward with a four-lane option, officials announced Wednesday, but the design does include elements from the three-lane alternative, such as raised medians with plants and a few turn-only sections.
The design will also add a shared-use path along the south side of the roadway, eliminating on-street parking.
What it will look like
The corridor will begin and end with four lanes, but will narrow to two lanes between 1000 East and McClelland Street. The design aims to improve and shorten crosswalks to increase pedestrian safety, and add additional space for bus stops along the roadway.
About 80% of the trips on 2100 South begin or end in Sugar House, according to data gathered by the city during the planning phase of the project. This shows 2100 South is “not a major pass-through corridor,” and “we don’t want it to be a major pass-through corridor,” Salt Lake City Transportation director Jon Larsen said.
“We also don’t want to discourage people from coming to Sugar House,” Larsen said. “And then we also want to double down on what makes Sugar House great. And if we invested only in accommodating cars, then we’ll be pushing Sugar House away from what makes it so unique and special.”
Sweet Streets, a local organization that advocates for safer streets, said in a statement that the new design sacrifices “safety and consistency” in an attempt to please all parties — and that the new construction fails to enhance connections with passenger rail infrastructure in favor of driver convenience.
“Maintaining four lanes of car traffic through this dense neighborhood center is in direct conflict with the city’s stated commitment to Vision Zero,” the organization said in a statement, citing the national nonprofit campaign “Vision Zero” that the city announced in January it intended to join, with the goal of achieving zero traffic fatalities by 2035.
“Sugar House and 2100 South deserve better,” the Sweet Streets statement continued.
Design comes with ‘trade-offs’
The redesigned roadway is projected to move the same number of vehicles along 2100 South as it does now, but will accommodate more pedestrians and bicyclists, according to a video from the city.
The city acknowledged in a presentation that some of the “trade-offs” of the concept would result in less space for cyclists than the three-lane concept, and would increase traffic and street parking on local side streets. Larsen said this spillover should be minimal, but that the city is looking at targeted traffic-calming projects on nearby side streets that already experience cut-through traffic.
Alex Cragun, a Sweet Streets board member, said the organization has followed the 2100 South redesign process closely, and connected the city with “residents and business owners who are demanding a pedestrian and transit-centered 2100 South.”
“The city needs to rethink how it is engaging with residents around street redesign,” Cragun continued. “There has been a pattern of over-promising and under-delivering. It is frustrating to be at this stage of planning, again, with a design that nibbles at the edges of the problem.”
But according to the presentation, officials are hopeful that the new medians, improved crosswalks and new park strips will create a safer experience for pedestrians and cyclists. In particular, Larsen noted that an “unusually high” number of left-turn-related crashes occur between 900 East and 1100 East, and being able to have dedicated left-turn lanes will help improve safety in the area.
“It’s a classic example of we cannot make everyone happy,” Larsen said. “As the street and as a city,[as] we make our streets more safe and comfortable for walking and biking, we hope to see the trend continue — that more and more people will choose to just leave their car home. And walk, bike or scoot on over to Sugar House instead of instead of driving, which will make it better for everyone.”