May 15, 2024 - News

Study reveals vision for Salt Lake City's reimagined downtown

A rendering of downtown Salt Lake City.

Courtesy: Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development

Salt Lake City recently unveiled a study to turn downtown's Main Street into a pedestrian promenade.

Why it matters: Municipal leaders want to revitalize downtown into a "world-class city center."

  • While telework has driven some workers away from the office, downtown's population is still projected to grow significantly.

Catch up quick: The study comes after the success of the Open Streets, an initiative that temporarily closed off a section of Main Street to cars on weekends to spur more downtown activity amid the pandemic. It's been a mainstay every summer since then.

  • The study rethinks five city blocks on Main Street between South Temple and 400 South, and another block on 100 South between Main Street and West Temple.

State of play: Highlights of the extensive "Main Street Promenade Study" include:

  • Removing on-street parking on Main Street between South Temple and 400 South
  • Activating the five-block stretch 18 hours a day year-round
  • Adding two additional rows of trees along the TRAX line
  • Improving infrastructure to promote public transit, walking and biking
  • Transforming each block by honoring its history and identity

Zoom in: The themes of the five blocks are "all-ages wonderland," "interactive performance + spectacle plaza," "gallery at Gallivan," "restaurant row" and "Japantown square."

Zoom out: The plan also featured case studies of other pedestrian-friendly downtowns across the globe, including Denver's 16th St. Mall, Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall and Toronto's Queens Quay.

  • "Reinvestment in Main Street is essential to keeping Salt Lake City competitive with other major cities," according to the report.

Reality check: The project needs additional analysis and coordination among downtown property owners, and local and state agencies before any plans move forward.

  • The project is estimated to cost roughly $125 million.

What we're watching: City leaders are in talks with Smith Entertainment Group about the proposed downtown sports and entertainment district for Utah's new NHL team.

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