City releases options for 300 West corridor between 1700 and 2100 South

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Salt Lake City’s planning efforts to transform the Ballpark neighborhood continue to advance.

Besides the rezone proposal for the area around the TRAX station at 1300 South currently moving through city hall, this week the Planning Division released two scenarios that have arisen out of its 300 West Corridor and Central Pointe Station Area Plan process – which addresses the area between 1700 and 2100 South.

The ongoing effort is seeking further feedback on the options it presented this week. What’s left out of scenarios published is much detail concerning the TRAX and bus transfer station at 200 West and 2100 South, one of the system’s most important and dysfunctional.

That station, called Central Pointe, resides in the municipality of South Salt Lake, notoriously negligent in its treatment of the S-Line greenway and Parleys Trail, which is interrupted at West Temple before it reaches the UTA transfer station. In addition, access across 2100 South to the station is non-existent, even as large apartment projects continue to populate the immediate area.

Let’s take a look at the options presented at this mid-way point in the plan’s development.

Two possible directions

The design consultants on the project, Design Workshop, have themed the two options “Repurpose” and “Reconnect.”

Scenario One, Repurpose, “prioritizes repurposing existing buildings and encourages new development within already developed sites, like the parking lots around buildings.” The option pursues lower-intensity development and retaining or reusing the existing big-box stores in the area, including Costco, Sam’s Club, and Home Depot.

This option includes a new east-west connection from 350 West to 200 West along Hartwell Avenue (~1940 South). To alleviate TRAX station access issues, it proposes a HAWK signal at 200 West and 2100 South.

Scenario Two, entitled Reconnect, proposes upzoning and densification. in addition, new streets between I-15 and 300 West near Costco, “would allow the area to become a Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone (HTRZ), which would allow the City to use all new property tax generated by new developments for improvements within the project area that would benefit the entire community.” 

According to the planner on the project, David Echeverría, HTRZ legislation requires at least 50 units per acre on 51% of the site, a density that might not be reached in scenario one but, he said, “We are more certain that the density in scenario 2 would reach the required thresholds.”

Land use in option two is clearly more intense. Whether the big-box stores would go away is purely speculative, as the legal non-conforming uses are likely to rise in value along with the property – as we see with drive-thrus in transit zones, for example.

Connection with the Central Pointe TRAX station is a proposed bridge over 2100 South. UDOT owns and controls the street from State Street to I-15, which may get in the way of it becoming walkable around the Central Pointe station.

Here are some of the graphics supplied for the Reconnect option:

Transportation changes

Notable transportation options include a multi-use path in the TRAX corridor, and “linear park space” or “green streets”–which just look like streets with landscaping. Another option a “network of pocket parks” along the corridor.

Echeverría told us that significant investment in public space would require capturing property tax revenue, a possibility linked to Scenario Two and a HTRZ.

“That could help finance more substantial public improvements, such as a pedestrian bridge over 2100 S and/or 200 W, greenway/trail along the TRAX line, and linear park space (“green street”) improvements along 2100 South,” he noted.

Treatments of 300 West may also change slightly given the two options:

Central Pointe station area is left largely unaddressed in the options presented. The lack of connection to the S-Line greenway multi-use path got some attention on social media this week, as the Twitter account Bike Lake City posted their reading of the state’s Unified Transportation Plan 2023-50. The plan does not include a connection of Parleys Trail/S-Line greenway to the Central Pointe Station.

Figuring out a connection to the Central Pointe station from the east is only one of the challenges that UTA and South Salt Lake have to address to solve the problem of a dysfunctional transfer station at 2100 South.

South Salt Lake’s Strategic Mobility Plan supports a bike route in the TRAX corridor, but has no solution to the lack of connections to Central Pointe.

We can hope that collaboration is occurring behind the scenes, but the evidence isn’t apparent in the options presented this week to the public.

Here’s an image compare of the two scenarios. in the second, on the right, the big box stores have been replaced, with the exception of Home Depot, bottom left, which has added residential above.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated.

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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.