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SALT LAKE CITY — A rise in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, is a key reason Sugar House business owners and community members are urging residents to get involved in the redesign of 2100 South.
This is an opportunity to remake that main artery safer and better for business. The city will make a decision on the design by the end of the month. Sweet Streets is an advocacy group for safer streets.
"Right now, the street doesn't really work for anybody," said Levi Thatcher, a board member of Sweet Streets.
Standing at the side of the street with traffic going by, he pointed out that pedestrians, cyclists, and cars all need a better design on 2100 South for safety and efficiency.
"If you're a driver, you're frustrated because there is no dedicated turning lane; you get stuck behind cars who are turning," he said. "If you're a cyclist, where do you go? It's really dangerous to try to cycle along this road."
For pedestrians, the sidewalks are narrow and too close to traffic that is supposed to be driving 30 mph.
"I think the speed limit may be irrelevant. People are driving about 55 (mph) through here," Mark Morris said.
Morris owns Work Hive Sugar House and said the speed and noise of traffic hurts business. Many of his customers, walk or bike to Work Hive.
"Creating something that really works for everybody as opposed to being designed only for cars is certainly something we look forward to seeing," Morris said.
Salt Lake City plans to redesign and rebuild 2100 South from 700 East to 1300 East. Construction doesn't start until the spring of 2024, but it's being designed now.
"We haven't made any decisions," said Jon Larsen, Salt Lake City transportation director. "These conversations that we're having with the community right now are really important."
We have a historic opportunity to rethink it, and really think about what vision we want for Sugar House core, and how we might want to create a Main Street here that works for all users of the road.
–Levi Thatcher, Sweet Streets
The city has taken a lot of community input to come up with two options. Residents tell the city they want more greenery, more space for pedestrians and cyclists, without reducing the flow of traffic.
The city has come up with two options on the basis of that input. Larsen believes the final decision will be some combination of both.
Option one: two car lanes in both directions, with a wider sidewalk on the south for bikes and pedestrians.
Sweet Streets prefers the second option which includes wider sidewalks on both sides, a dedicated bike lane, and a center turn lane for vehicles while using only three lanes for cars.
"It's these kinds of design decisions that can prevent future deaths," Thatcher said. "It's really about making it safe for every road user and giving them their independent space."
On an average day, 30,000 cars pass through Sugar House, on 2100 South. City surveys show that 80% of the traffic is headed to a destination in Sugar House.
"We have a historic opportunity to rethink it, and really think about what vision we want for Sugar House core, and how we might want to create a Main Street here that works for all users of the road," said Thatcher.
"We want to make sure that whatever decision we make on the design is made with the community and is not the city making it," Larsen said.
The city is still taking input on its project webpage.