Salt Lake City wants its streets to evolve – “Street Typologies Guide” is the proposal

The Salt Lake City Transportation Division is vetting with the public its new guidelines for city streets. If adopted by the city council, the “Street Typologies Guide” would have significant consequences for the city’s transportation and land-use design.

What transportation director Jon Larsen playfully calls “our completer streets book” and project manager Tom Millar terms “like zoning for streets,” the Street Typologies and Intersection Design Guide will be out for digital public comment until August 15.

As the city puts it, “The typologies consider land use context as well as citywide and neighborhood goals, allocate appropriate space for each of the five most important and competing functions of the public right-of-way (see below), and prioritize people. Without being prescriptive, the Typologies Guide is like zoning for streets.”

Every street in the city was coded with a type, accounting for some 8400 segments.

The five functions of streets are: person mobility, greening, placemaking, curbside use, and vehicle mobility.

The plan, at a glance, isn’t shy of ranking vehicle mobility “low.”

Image from the “Grand Boulevards” section of the 2016 Downtown master plan – applying to 500 and 600 South.
2020’s proposed evolution of 500 and 600 South, per Gehl designs’ cross section for “One-Way Thoroughfare” in the Streets Typologies Guide.
A “Destination Thoroughfare” in the Streets Typologies Guide, looking a lot like 400 S. and N. Temple streets.
A “Destination Street” in the Street Typologies Guide, possibly the future of 100 or 300 South.

Yet there are no pedestrian-only streets in the city’s 15 types. Cars are present in all 15 cross-sections.

This omission of pedestrian-only streets is notable. Main Street was the highest ranked street not on the city’s original open streets survey that led to the city’s “stay safe, stay active” open streets pilot program.

From https://www.slc.gov/transportation/2020/04/13/stay-safe-stay-active-streets-response-to-covid-19/

Whether Main Street Downtown should be pedestrianized is still, apparently, not being considered.

The city’s consultants for the typologies cross sections were Gehl designs, originally of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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.