Ballpark changes, continued: New plans coming for 300 West & Central Pointe UTA station area

Featured photo: The Edith by CW Urban, 1710 S West Temple. It was built on rare R-MU zoning in the Ballpark neighborhood.

It’s taken 25 years.

Transit-oriented development near Salt Lake City’s TRAX stops south of Downtown—900 South, Ballpark, and Central Pointe (in South Salt Lake)—was first promised in 1999 when the Sandy-Salt Lake line opened.

Salt Lake City was able to take advantage of one of those transit destinations, at 900 South where the Central 9th has become a place.

But Salt Lake City’s other stations south of Downtown along the main trunk line for TRAX have been largely ignored by policy makers and investors for over two decades.

Some of that is due to the market. Salt Lake City’s comparatively low rent rates kept many multi-family investors occupied in other cities. But the regulatory envelope created long ago by the city also went a long way in suppressing development.

Change is in the air. Yesterday’s car-oriented commercial and light-industrial zoning may be seeing its last days south of Downtown in Salt Lake City. As we reported last week, the east side of the Ballpark TRAX station is proposed to have a major upzone.

Proposed zoning for the north and east segment of the Ballpark. Courtesy SLC Planning.

Start up the funeral dirge for the low-intensity commercial zoning (CC and CG) that has kept buildings low and entitlement processes for new residential projects lengthy.

And, transit users, are you sitting down? You might want to get up and dance. At 2100 South, the areas around the Central Pointe station are getting a pedestrian-oriented redesign, which may spark the transit agency to redesign portions of the station itself.

Currently, Central Pointe (where the S-Line streetcar, Parleys Trail, and multiple TRAX and bus lines meet) is easily UTA’s most dysfunctional transfer station in the city for users.

Sited in a big-box parking lot, it has no pedestrian/bike connections from the east or south, and its link with 2100 South to the north is a 3-foot sidewalk obstructed by a maze of chain link fencing.

While change is surely years away, Salt Lake City has launched the 300 West Corridor and Central Pointe Station Area Plan process. The public input portal is here.

South Salt Lake, UTA, and UDOT are collaborators in the effort, according to SLC planners. Let’s take a look.

The plan and its context

The plan’s focus area is the southern and western portions of the neighborhood that were not captured in the 2019 Ballpark Station Area Plan. That includes the 300 West Corridor (which goes all the way to I-15 at ~450 West), as well as the area bounded by 1700 South, West Temple, and 2100 South (the municipal boundary with South Salt Lake).

Courtesy SLC Planning.

The impetus for the project, according to its website, is “due to the ongoing transportation improvements to 300 West, including the significant bicycling infrastructure. The area has seen a lot of new development and development interest in the past few years. However, while the current zoning of the corridor, General Commercial, allows for mixed use development, it does not include development standards that promote a walkable or bicycle-oriented development pattern.”

Development built to take advantage of the city’s recent redesign and reconstruction of a now calmer 300 West and its new off-street multi-use path will be prioritized in the new plan and zoning.

The new multi-use path on 300 West | Taylor Anderson for Building Salt Lake

That sounds like city’s higher-density form-based and transit station zones, akin to the bold upzone currently seen in the Ballpark Station Area proposal.

The planner on the project, David Echeverría, told Building Salt Lake that “For the focus area (shown in blue), the plan will take a fresh, in-depth look at the area and will explore a wide range of goals and policies.”

The goal? “Update the zoning for the entire project area.”

The Central Pointe UTA transfer station

At the Central Pointe station, the challenges of planning across the municipal and other jurisdictional boundaries are manifest. South Salt Lake is responsible for the south side of 2100 South, while UTA has control of the transit facilities.

Echeverría noted, “Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake are working on separate plans that cover properties near the Central Pointe Station within their respective boundaries. We’ve met with South Salt Lake to discuss and coordinate on their planning efforts, and they’ve included us on their advisory committee for their plan. We will likewise be including South Salt Lake in our own advisory committee for Salt Lake’s planning efforts and will continue to find areas of collaboration in our efforts, such as pedestrian connections and streetscape design.”

South Salt Lake planners did not respond to our inquiries about their planning and collaboration with SLC.

Aerial, courtesy Google of the Central Pointe station looking north. 21st South runs horizontally at top, and 300 West (left) and West Temple (right) also set the tone for the area’s land use.

What about UTA’s participation? Echeverría assured us that “Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake have met jointly with UTA to get their input on both of our planning efforts. UTA facilitated these meetings and brought together representatives from all aspects of their operations to help coordinate our planning efforts.”

Led by local firm Design Workshop, the city’s planning effort will need several years to result in a rezone. It may take longer for the Central Pointe station to become functional as a nexus for people outside cars and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.