Here’s how much of Downtown Salt Lake City is covered in car parking

Lead photo by Dave Iltis, Cycling Utah/Cycling West.

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Nearly 1 out of every 3 acres in the broader Downtown area in Salt Lake City is covered in parking, according to new research shared on Monday.

Researchers with the Parking Reform Network studied the area spanning roughly between North Temple and 900 South, 200 East to 500 West and found that 29 percent of the land is dedicated to parking.

The organization, which seeks to highlight the economic productivity that is lost to storing empty private vehicles, noted Salt Lake City passed a series of reforms in 2021 that generally lowered the amount of required space for parked cars.

Still, developers have shown a willingness to exceed minimum parking requirements, saying the city isn’t ready for a low-car future.

Astra Tower, for instance, will have 0.75 parking stalls for every unit, more than the 0.5 stalls per unit that were required when the project was first proposed. (There is now no minimum parking requirement in the D-1 zone.)

The city itself often appears to acknowledge car dominance, approving a nearly 1,000-car parking garage in the Granary District and undertaking several angled parking projects in lieu of cycle tracks, expanded sidewalks or other improvements that would encourage and promote walking and commuting by bike.

EXPLORE THE INTERACTIVE PARKING MAP AT THE PARKING REFORM NETWORK

Top Five U.S. Cities Covered In Parking

  • San Bernardino, CA: 49%
  • Arlington, TX: 42%
  • Lexington, KY: 38%
  • Wichita, KS: 35%
  • Virginia Beach, VA: 35%

Parking Reform Network

Downtown Salt Lake City also has several noteworthy surface parking lots that soak up 10 acres of space that could otherwise be used for parks, retail, housing, universities, daycares, bars, restaurants, churches, offices, assisted living facilities, hospitals, group homes, art galleries, museums, or a combination of it all.

The map shared by the Parking Reform Network included several car dealerships that surround the city’s urban core.

It’s possible the estimate is actually an undercount, as it doesn’t include the do-it-yourself gravel surface parking lot that was created on Broadway near 250 West after demolition crews eliminated the low-income housing at the La France apartments.

Email Taylor Anderson

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.