How Salt Lake City Became a Leader in Transit-Oriented Development
by Carolyn Szczepanski on October 24, 2011
Photo by SLTrib
Article from http://dc.streetsblog.org
In 2004, Salt Lake City faced a challenging question: How do you fit 1.4 million additional residents into a region hemmed in by mountains on the east and water on the west? In the course of solving that problem, the city ended up answering several other head-scratchers, like: How do you get buy-in for smart-growth policies from conservatives wary of urbanism? And, how do you make new greenfield development both sustainable and wildly popular?
At the Rail~Volution conference last week, Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, showcased the transit-centered solution that’s now propelling development in Utah’s capital city.
If official projections are right, the high quality of life and thriving economy of the Wasatch Front could invite population growth of more than 65 percent by 2040.
If the region continued along current growth trends, Gruber explained, it would add more than 300 square miles of development to meet the housing and commercial demand by 2040. Vehicle miles traveled would nearly double, from 49 million to more than 90 million per day, by 2030. By 2020, the cost of new infrastructure could balloon to more than $26 billion.
In just a few decades, a region known for its open space and outdoor lifestyle would be a mighty congested and costly place to call home......
Now, Salt Lake City is investing more, per capita, in new public transit than any other metro area in the country, and exporting ideas to the rest of the country.......
The work in Salt Lake could also benefit cities around the country. As part of its HUD grant, the Wasatch Front Regional Council is using its experience to help other governments and citizens overcome two major barriers to sustainable development: lack of information and antiquated zoning requirements.
On the zoning front, the council is working on a form-based code that doesn’t splinter development into commercial areas and residential areas. “It focuses on the form of the building, instead,” Gruber said. “So, in a particular area you might want two- to three-story buildings with a certain set back from the streets, and whatever the market will bear is OK, as long as it fits the character of the neighborhood… That model will be available to folks across the country.”
Read full article here: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/10/24...d-development/