Commission votes in support of street closure for 9-Line Trail

A rendering of a portion of the 9-Line Trail corridor as designed by CRSA.

For active transportation advocates, it can often feel like you are at war with streets that prioritize cars over everything else and the cars keep winning, but during Wednesday’s Salt Lake City Planning Commission meeting active transportation won out.   Commission members voted to forward a favorable recommendation to the Salt Lake City Council on the Salt Lake City’s Transportation and Park and Public Lands Divisions’ request to close a portion of 1100 West between 900 South and Hayes Avenue.

The city plans to convert the 0.19 acres of road into public space, providing a continuous connection between the 9-Line Trail and the Fred and Ila Fyfe Wetland Preserve.  The portion of 1100 West to be closed bisects city-owned land to the east and west.

If approved by the city council, the city will close off the section of street to vehicular traffic requiring north to south traffic to use nearby Emery Street.  The city will replace the asphalt with landscaping and a new section of the 9Line Trail.

Planning staff argued that the portion of 1100 West to be closed is generally only used for local through traffic and closing it wouldn’t significantly impact nearby residents.  Staff also cited the city’s Westside Master Plan that argues that “the intersections between trails and streets should be considered an opportunity for creating public spaces and highlighting the city’s ongoing emphasis on recreation and public art.”  Staff also argued that the closed portion also supports the 9-Line Corridor Master Plan that calls for stronger east-to-west connections.

The 9-Line is an urban trail that runs along a former rail corridor between Redwood Road and 700 West, ending at the recently opened 9-Line Bike Park.  This city’s goal is to extend the 9-Line to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and Emigration Canyon.  The only other portion of the 9-Line that is already completed is a bikeway on the north side of Sunnyside Avenue from Guardsman Way to Arapeen Drive. The city will start construction within the next year on two proposed portions of the trail in the Central Ninth and 9th and 9th Neighborhoods.

The street closure and subdivision amendment request will now go to the city council for a final vote.

*An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the Fred and Ila Fyfe Wetland Preserve as the Ila Fyfe Wetland Preserve.

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Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.