A long-awaited update

In the last year since we hosted the walking tours of some mid-block walkways downtown, we have been sidetracked by a much larger project that is closely related to this one. The Downtown Master Plan is a 25-year vision and policy plan that will direct growth and development in Downtown Salt Lake City. This includes development of mid-block streets and walkways.

Last spring, in conjunction with the Congress for New Urbanism conference hosted here in Salt Lake, we released an early version of the Mid-block Walkway Design Guidelines. Our current zoning code directs property owners and developers to these guidelines, which never existed until now. These draft guidelines will continue to be honed as the Downtown Master Plan develops.

Since last spring, we have held two Urban Design Debates associated with the Downtown Master Plan the results of which have a direct impact on the Walkable SLC project. The SixtyNine Seventy competition provided our city with countless ideas for the development of the spaces between buildings (like our mid-block streets and walkways) and was the focus of the first Debate. The second Debate broadened the conversation beyond the Central Business District and asked participants to apply their creativity on a larger scale, looking at major landmarks, views, and districts. Both Debates will contribute to the creation of an Urban Design Framework for the downtown. Mid-block streets and walkways are a key component of this emerging framework.

I invite you to read through the DRAFT Mid-block Walkway Design Guidelines and share your comments.