Sugar House envisions pedestrian, biker friendly community

Posted at 9:36 PM, Nov 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-12 23:36:27-05

SUGAR HOUSE -- The Sugar House street cars are already going through testing.

The lines will run north on 1100 East, but the Salt Lake City Council is still figuring out what to do with the roads once the rail line is finished.

The groundwork for the Sugar House street line is done, but Tuesday night the council decided on where to widen roads, where to downsize them and where to add bike lanes.

The council voted to approve all changes except realigning Sugarmont Drive and Wilmington Avenue.

"We are middle of at a crossroads now where we are trying to take a 20th century and bring it into the 21st century," Councilman Soren Simonsen said.

Councilman Kyla LaMalfa said everyone is convinced, on the whole, that the Sugar House streetscape plan is a good one.

“It's going to do a lot for Sugar House to out the capstone on what's really a 25-year project,” LaMalfa said.

The proposal includes realigning Sugarmont Drive and Wilmington Ave., changing traffic lanes on Highland Drive from four to two lanes, adding bicycle lanes to 2100 South and connecting Parley's Trail between the aquatic center and Hidden Hollow.

It's all part of Salt Lake City's transportation master plan.

"Anybody who travels in Sugar House a lot knows that there's a liquor store there, and trying to turn left on the Fairmont Park area there's a major safety concern with cars swerving and weaving in and out of this four-lane Highland Drive,” LaMalfa said. “The question is whether increasing the safety really takes away from the character of what is the essence of Sugar House."

"This plan is entirely about putting into place a long-term vision for Sugar House, which is we want this to be a more pedestrian oriented community -- more businesses and housing and transportation systems that will cater to how we get around as our populations growing without adding traffic congestion," Simonsen said.