Salt Lake City unveils concept design for 'Green Loop' proposed to surround downtown

The proposed "Green Loop" corridor around downtown Salt Lake City. The city released a new survey Tuesday that shows the first concept designs for 200 East.

The proposed "Green Loop" corridor around downtown Salt Lake City. The city released a new survey Tuesday that shows the first concept designs for 200 East. (Wenk Associates via Salt Lake City Public Lands)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Newly released design concept images show how the first segment of a proposed "Green Loop" to surround downtown Salt Lake City could feature new park space along a section of 200 East.

The images come from an online survey that Salt Lake officials launched Tuesday night, asking residents to consider ideas to transform the street from South Temple to 900 South. Project leaders also plan to hold a handful of in-person events on Thursday to gather more feedback on the concept while the project slowly moves forward.

It's the first public update to the project since the city set up a temporary pop-up park at 200 East and 400 South earlier this year.

"The reason we want to focus on that one street is we want to get a really clear understanding of what it would mean to implement (the loop)," said Nancy Monteith, senior landscape architect for the Salt Lake City Public Lands Department.

Salt Lake leaders introduced the Green Loop plan in May, noting that less than one-third of downtown is within five minutes of walking distance of any green space — much lower than other parts of the city. They said the concept, which many cities across the globe have already implemented, would change that, and possibly help combat issues with the urban heat island effect.

The newly released concept drawings are partly based on feedback from the pop-up park and a previous survey wrapped up in early June. It ultimately helped generate 1,024 online survey submissions on top of the feedback collected from the thousands of people who visited the site over the course of several weeks.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall plays badminton during the unveiling of the “Green Loop,” a temporary public park at 200 East 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City on May 1. The pop-up park helped generate more than 1,000 public comments on the proposed Green Loop plan.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall plays badminton during the unveiling of the “Green Loop,” a temporary public park at 200 East 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City on May 1. The pop-up park helped generate more than 1,000 public comments on the proposed Green Loop plan. (Photo: Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

Monteith told KSL.com that it's not the most feedback a parks project has received, but it was an impressive amount given the relatively short comment period.

"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," added Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, in a statement.

Several city departments also provided input over the past few months to help with key logistics needed to make the project work. City employees helped map out public utility lines underneath the road and helped project leaders understand the traffic and engineering challenges that need to be addressed to make a project work, as well as emergency access requirements and open space desires, Monteith explained.

A concept image showing what one section of the proposed Green Loop could look like along 200 East in Salt Lake City.
A concept image showing what one section of the proposed Green Loop could look like along 200 East in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Wenk Associates via Salt Lake City Public Lands)

After putting everything together, they determined the best option for 200 East is to place the loop on the west side of the street instead of placing it at the center, which was the case with the pop-up park.

The survey, which is available online through Nov. 30, provides a rudimentary glimpse at how this pathway and park space could appear on most blocks from South Temple to its connection with the 9-Line Trail on 900 South.

Salt Lake City is also holding an in-person event on Thursday, where people can see printed-out versions of the design concept images. Officials will have a tent set up at the plaza located at 349 S. 200 East, where people can ask questions about the project and answer the survey. The event will include three walking tours of the street beginning at noon, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., as well as a biking tour beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Although the focus is on 200 East, project officials say the feedback collected should help the city as it plans the other parts of the proposed Green Loop. The current design calls for the loop to jet west on South Temple for a block before moving north onto North Temple at State Street. It would continue onto parts of North Temple and 500 West as well.

They add the whole project is still far too early to know when construction will begin, as the city has only provided funds for the current design phase that runs through early 2024. Monteith said this helps the city understand any possibilities and constraints that will help provide a more accurate understanding of the project cost before construction begins.

"We are actively looking at funding sources and pursuing that," she said.

In the meantime, any feedback collected over the next month aims to help figure out the "active" and "passive" parts of the Green Loop, such as where a trail exists and where there are park amenities such as cafes, plazas, public event space and public restrooms, Monteith adds.

"All of that, I think, will give people a feeling of what this could look like," she said. "We don't have designs for every block, but we definitely think this is the opportunity for people to tell us what kind of things they would like to see in that space."

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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