Council hears from residents on the West Salt Lake Master Plan

The area included in the West Salt Lake Master Plan is bounded by three freeways and a highway.
The area included in the West Salt Lake Master Plan is bounded by three freeways and a highway.

The dominant message from Glendale residents, a neighborhood on Salt Lake’s west side, at Tuesday’s Salt Lake City council meeting, was that residents want a cleaner and safer neighborhood.   City council held the formal meeting in the gymnasium at  Parkview Elementary to allow public comment on master plans for the city’s west side and 9 Line corridor.

The West Salt Lake Master Plan is the most recent version evolved from past master plans beginning in 1996 for Salt Lake’s west side.  The master plan focuses on the area bounded by Interstates 15 and 215 to the east and west and Interstate 80 and State Road 201 to the north and south.

When the final draft is approved by city council, the plan will provide the framework for future zoning and land use for the Glendale neighborhood, an area of the  city that has struggles with crime, homelessness and vacant land.

While many speakers voiced approval of a plan that improves the community.  Many residents at Tuesday’s council meeting seemed more concerned about the current state of Glendale then with future plans.

“Something needs to be done with what we already have before we try to do anything better,” said Ed Kirby a Glendale resident.

Kirby referenced parks where vagrants urinate in view of his children that makes him and his family feel unsafe.

Part of the new West Salt Lake Master Plan includes improvements to the neighborhood’s 10 city parks and two trails, including the Jordan River Parkway Trail that runs parallel to the Jordan River.

There are unique challenges to creating a master plan for the city’s west side.  Apart from quality of life issues, the west side is also separated from other parts of the city by three interstates and a highway that create physical and emotional barriers between the neighborhood and the rest of the city.   Much of the area surrounding the residential districts within Glendale is dominated by industrial uses that can also deter residential growth.  Currently, 34 percent of land is zoned for residential use while 30 percent is zoned for industrial uses.

“We want to promote more retail on Redwood Road,” said council member Kyle LaMalfa, the council representative for Glendale.  “We also want jobs.  That there will be more industrial business on the back side of Redwood Road so that we can have more opportunities for work.”

The master plan seems to work to address the challenges faced in Glendale by balancing the needs of both the industrial and residential communities.  The plan seeks to protect and enhance residential neighborhoods and industrial districts, while softening the impact of industrial districts on residential and commercial areas.

Nodes have been identified as key corridors to spur development.
Nodes have been identified as key corridors to spur development.

The master plan also addresses ways to better connect the west side to other parts of the city by making enhancements along key streets that connect the east side to the west.   The city has designated specific corridors, or nodes, that would best encourage development along the outer edges of the community and around specific intersections.  Most of the designated node are located along 900 West and Redwood Road, the main roads running north to south and their intersections with 400, 800, 900 South and California Avenue, running from east to west.

The West Salt Lake community is younger and more diverse compared to Salt Lake City as a whole.   According to 2010 U.S. census data, the median age in the west side is 27, while the median for Salt Lake is 31.   The west side also has a much larger percentage of visual minorities, according to census data 51 percent of west-side residents identify as white compared to 75 percent of Salt Lake residents.

Household sizes are larger in West Salt Lake and incomes are smaller than city-wide averages.   The average household size in the west side is 3.6, while Salt Lake City’s average size is 2.4.   The median income in West Salt Lake is nearly $20,000 less than the citywide median.

The city has taken recent steps to improve the west side through the creation of the 9 Line trail, a bike and pedestrian trail built along an abandoned rail corridor adjacent to 900 South.  The city is also building a new branch of the city library at 1400 South Concord Street.

International Gardens Park
The International Peace Garden is part of Jordan Park, one of ten city parks in Glendale. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Glendale Branch
The Glendale Branch of the Salt Lake Library. Photo by Isaac Riddle
Glendale Library
The main entrance to the Glendale branch. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Jordan River Parkway
The Jordan River Parkway Trail as seen from 1700 South. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

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