Downtown Is Movin’ On Up
Salt Lake City, UT is in the midst of a large-scale revitalization project called Downtown Rising. A joint effort between the Salt Lake Chamber and the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance, Downtown Rising’s renovation plans are designed to enhance the quality of life of the city’s 190,000 residents. Increases in public transportation services, bicycle paths, and pedestrian friendly walkways are part of the plans, which also include upgrades to the city’s green spaces. The result will be a “green loop” that connects the Wasatch Mountain Range to the Jordan River through downtown Salt Lake City. A former rail right-of-way between Interstate 15 and the Jordan River will be converted into a walking and jogging trail, while reclaimed industrial space in the Gateway neighborhood will become a network of winding green spaces.
Best Cities for Jobs 2008
1. SALT LAKE CITY, UT
2. Wichita, KS
3. Austin, TX
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Ft. Worth, TX
Source: Forbes.com. Rankings are based on unemployment rate, job growth, income growth, median household income, and cost of living during 2007.
Heavily landscaped boulevards known as “green corridors” will connect the city’s recreational amenities, and the City Creek Greenway (a series of manicured parks and gardens) will tie together many downtown destinations. Other enhancements include the addition of a performing arts center, a sport and fitness facility, and a public market.
A highlight of Downtown Rising is the City Creek Center in the Central Business District (CBD). The project, undertaken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will transform 20 acres across three blocks of the CBD. When completed in mid-2011, the City Creek Center will encompass 2.7 million square feet of office and commercial space, serving as an employment hub for 65,000 employees and generating an expected $2.3 billon in wages and $550 million in retail sales annually. In addition to business growth, the CBD will also acquire 3,700 housing units, creating space for about 7,500 permanent residents.
Next Stop: Anywhere
Salt Lake City is an accessible transport hub situated along the major I-15 and I-80 arteries. The city’s commuter rail system is being extended west from downtown to the new intermodal hub, scheduled for completion this year, and out to the Salt Lake City International Airport. The rail line will run north for 44 miles through Davis County to Pleasant View, UT in Weber County. Once completed, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will extend the line south for 52 miles through Provo and Orem to Spanish Fork in Utah County. These extensions will better serve the four counties of the Wasatch Front, home to 80% of Utah’s population.
The intermodal hub will serve as a transportation nerve center, complete with an Amtrak station, Greyhound bus depot, UTA bus transfer station, light rail station, commuter rail station, taxi cab stands, and amenities for bicyclists.
Salt Lake City International Airport, with its available industrial and office space, is six miles west of the city. It ranks first nationally in both on-time arrivals and departures, according to the Bureau of Transportation’s November 2007 statistics. Last year, 81.54% of all flights arrived on time and 84.94% departed on time.