Salt Lake City releases draft designs for Green Loop project on 200 East | News | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Salt Lake City releases draft designs for Green Loop project on 200 East

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A rendering of the proposed Green Loop shows the potential transformation of 200 East to a people-first corridor. - SALT LAKE CITY
  • Salt Lake City
  • A rendering of the proposed Green Loop shows the potential transformation of 200 East to a people-first corridor.

Salt Lakers got their best look yet at what a proposed Green Loop around downtown could be, with the release this week of draft redesigns for 200 East and a series of walking and biking tours held Thursday.

While the concept has been discussed for almost a decade, the proposal to repurpose the city’s ultra-wide street grid for public use and increased greenspace downtown surged forward under the direction of Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who has made the Green Loop and a pedestrianized Main Street key elements of her reelection campaign.

The city hosted a pop-up Green Loop demonstration earlier this year, swapping redundant vehicle lanes on a single block for a beer garden, performance stage and badminton court, and generating feedback from residents, business owners and downtown visitors.

“Salt Lakers love the outdoors and our temporary Green Loop installation this spring gave people the chance to see and touch what it would be like to create this urban park environment downtown," Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a prepared statement. “We heard from community members that they want to see more street trees, green space, and features that reduce air and noise pollution while providing more pedestrian- and bike-friendly ways to get around downtown.”

Draft redesigns for 200 East show how vehicle traffic would be accommodated while enhancing the safety and connections for pedestrians and cyclists. - SALT LAKE CITY
  • Salt Lake City
  • Draft redesigns for 200 East show how vehicle traffic would be accommodated while enhancing the safety and connections for pedestrians and cyclists.

The draft plans call for consolidating vehicle traffic on the east half of the existing roadway, freeing up the west side of 200 East for biking and walking paths, plazas and a significant expansion of the corridor's tree canopy. The plans also propose a "Civic Block" between Washington Square and the downtown library, which could include a pavilion for use during events like the Utah Arts Fest, Utah Pride and the Living Traditions Festival.

Driveways and other vehicle access points would continue to be accommodated, and the impact on overall traffic in the downtown core would be largely unaffected (if not improved), as the streets identified for the loop are naturally lower-speed and lower-traffic corridors than the major arteries like State Street and West Temple, despite their comparable widths.

Green Loop project manager Nancy Monteith said that visitors to the pop-up demonstration reacted positively to the addition of space for trees and people, while still allowing vehicle traffic.

“The Green Loop offers us the opportunity to increase the forest canopy around downtown; reducing summer temperatures and improving air and water quality, while adding more green where the city needs it most,” Monteith said in a prepared statement.

The first phase of the loop has already been built with the construction of the 9-Line Trail on 900 South, although considerably more landscaping and amenities are needed to achieve the "Green" vision of the project. The remaining route for the loop is still under consideration, likely utilizing either North Temple or South Temple (or a combination of the two) and either 600 West or 500 West, which would bolster connections to Frontrunner regional train at Salt Lake Central and North Temple stations.

Residents can find more information on the Green Loop plans, including a survey on the draft designs running through November, at SLCGreenLoop.com.

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