Jul 21st, 2013

Designers Offer Ideas for Streetcar Greenway

Sharen Hauri, South Salt Lake City’s urban design director, does what she can to promote development of the four block South Salt Lake City portion of the Sugar House / SSL streetcar corridor. The City has a much smaller budget than Salt Lake City on the east end of the line, so it is building new improvements step by step, as funds are raised. Hauri has been getting the stage set primarily by leveraging partners’ resources and prioritizing where city funds go. One of the best partnerships is with the Friends of the South Salt Lake / Sugar House Streetcar and the Utah Center for Architecture. UCFA provided a modest grant to help underwrite the public workshop last October to generate ideas to make the corridor both an exciting public space and the basis for economic development.
Hauri, the City’s project manager for the greenway, is now building on the vision from that workshop. “I have a summer intern doing modeling of designs for the redevelopment of those four blocks so we can develop guidelines and a form-based code,” she says. Hauri adds that the visioning process highlighted the importance of the 500 East corner and its potential for handling taller and denser development than first imagined. In the short term it will be filled with a community garden for a nearby housing complex that houses refugee families. 
The next step will be to create a Community Development Area (CDA) for the four-block area from State Street to 500 East to pay for greenway and some public infrastructure and walkability improvements. Hauri would love to get funding for public art as well. In mid-August, the two cities and UTA will release its brand for the streetcar corridor and surrounding neighborhood. “We knew that we were creating something truly unique that we could build a whole new identity from,” said Hauri. “Our model was the Highline in New York, so we were thrilled to have UCA sponsor a charette with Clare Weisz, one of the original visionaries on that project.”
One piece of the public greenway will be completed this year: Salt Lake County has funded the $1.25 million dollar development of Parley’s Trail for paving, landscaping and lighting through the South Salt Lake corridor. 
It’s a start.