I put the last few years of blog in a download button (Newsblog) on the right.  Below is the last 2 months of blog.  If you need a download/document that you don't see on this page, email me.


MAY 20, 2020
SLC THROWS OUT PARKING REQUIREMENTS NEXT TO SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
SLCPD WORKING ON 250 OLD RAPE KIT COLD CASES WITH ONE DETECTIVE
SLC SURPRISE CLOSING OF STREETS ANGERS RESIDENTS AND HURTS BUSINESSES
SLCPD HAS 62% INCREASE IN HOMELESS CALLS
STILL NO FUNDING FOR PARK RANGERS AND MOBILE COP CAMS
SLC APPROVES LOAN THAT EFFECTIVELY REZONES PROPERTY WITHOUT HEARING

 
SLC THROWS OUT PARKING REQUIREMENTS NEXT TO SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
  Over the last few months, there have been a lot of complaints about a proposed project by Peter Corroon, the former County Mayor, called Cleveland Court.  Despite significant neighborhood anger against the proposal, the local community council hearing on the project was not attended by the neighbors (they were not told about the meeting on the project).  So the Planning Commission and City Council was told that the local community council approved of the plan.  That is how important these community council meetings are.  I tried to explain during the presentation that the proposal to rezone the property to FB-UN1 would remove all parking requirements.  FB-UN1 is supposed to be a zone next to a fixed transit station.  Cleveland Court (1400 S and 400 East is a mile away!  The property was a single family home and it will be developed into 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and a studio.  The developer says that it will be affordable for middle income.  But there will only b 7 off street parking spaces when the regular multi-family zone would require 13 spaces. 
  Councilman Darin Mano said that this was a difficult decision but he voted to rezone the property to no minimum parking requirements.  Councilmembers Amy Fowler, Chris Wharton and Dan Dugan voted against the rezone.  The rest of the Council voted for it and it passed 4 to 3. 
  This is a big deal since it is the first time a developer has been able to convince the City to remove all parking requirements for a building that is next to single family homes.  I expect many other developers to ask for similar consideration and approve their minimal or no parking onsite projects.  I urge everyone interested to email the Council and Mayor at council.comments@slcgov.com, mayor@slcgov.com and tell them what you think.  And please attend your local community council.  I put the 2020 list of councils and contacts and their meeting information in a download button in the top right.  These community councils are extremely important and influential.  Some rubber stamp proposed projects without even discussing them.  If you want your City to work better you need to spend a little time at these meetings.  Just 2 hours a month and they are now online!

 SLCPD WORKING ON 250 OLD RAPE KIT COLD CASES WITH ONE DETECTIVE
  I put the May 19 SLCPD report to the City Council in the right on a download button.  Some important issues discussed included the number of rape kits being processed.  In 2018, there were 218 processed and in 2019, there were 225 processed.  Some kits are taken but not processed until the victim agrees to the processing of the kit.  The rape kit is stored until then.  In Utah, the victim has the choice to restrict the kit from processing until they agree to do so.  But that stops the potential to identify serial rapists.  At Utah State, in the last ten years, there were two separate rapists that had committed many rapes and the only way that they were identified was when at least one victim came forward.  But if all rape kits are processed, and entered into a database, if a pattern is noticed, the rapist can be identified quickly. 
  Many experts think that most rapists commit many rapes and are not stopped until they are caught.  In addition, many women are charged for the rape kit that is collected at a hospital.  Usually insurance covers it but there is also a fund to pay for it.  But that should be automatic.  Women who are raped should never get a bill for a rape kit.  The State should cover the cost automatically (Utah does not).  Despite the obvious need for more victim advocates, it appears that there is a hiring freeze and more won’t be hired for a while.  In 2019, 149 victims declined to prosecute!  They shouldn’t have to decide.  If there is a pattern of abuse, and all rape kits are processed and entered into a database, the rapists can be identified.  If a rape victim does not want to participate in the prosecution, that is her choice.  But the rape kit should be processed.
  Women have to run a gauntlet to report and help prosecute rape.  They shouldn’t have to.  The military has recognized that even reporting a rape can result in repercussions against the victim.  The military can offer to restrict the report and only additional reports, or the victim agreeing to prosecute, will result in full prosecution (although the rapist can still be held accountable).
  Chief Brown, in his presentation, also noted that there were 752 cold case partially tested rape kits, some going back to the 80s, that just made it to through the initial test and they are going to new DNA testing.  768 kits were never sent to the crime lab.  So far, the SLCPD has tested 250 of the old kits for DNA and there is one additional detective added to work on these old cases (which probably include murderers)!  The SLCPD should add more detectives to this work.  It should be a higher priority.
  Chief Brown also mentioned that domestic violence calls were up 13% since the COVAD 19 restrictions.  He also said that there were 600 registered sex offenders in Salt Lake City.

SLC SURPRISE CLOSING OF STREETS ANGERS RESIDENTS AND HURTS BUSINESSES
  During this week’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Amy Fowler expressed concern about a large number of angry emails that she has received that complained about “closing” of Stratford Avenue (around 27th South) from 1300 East to about 2000 East with no notice.  The community and Sugar House Community Council was told the night before that the street was going to be repurposed to a Stay Safe, Stay Active multipurpose street that allows and encourages pedestrians and bicyclists in the street.  It encourages local traffic only.  Councilwoman Fowler said "Quite a lot of the neighbors (were) incredibly upset and thought that they were blindsided….they didn't know it was coming”.  I have also heard from businesses on this street and others that they are concerned that just when they thought that they were going to get their customers back, the customers are being discouraged from driving back to their stores and restaurants.  Stratford, 900 South and other streets have neighborhood, locally owned small businesses.
  The City says that it was intended to be a benefit to everyone in the neighborhood and that they were surprised at the backlash since the other areas seemed to be more accepting.  The Stratford Avenue repurposing was the only street with significant pushback.  Many community councils in the other areas ignored the new street purposes because the City Transportation Department did not reach out to ask what they thought.  The Department utilized a one week long survey (easy to stack one way or the other) with over 6000 responses.  But only 3700 commented and half of the commenters were against allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to block vehicles.  The City said that they did do public engagement but I go to a lot of community council meetings and have friends in many others and the City implemented many streets without telling the community councils.  Admittedly, it was rushed to be implemented before traffic returned to normal.  The complaints, after the new signs designating the street as shared and local traffic only, were directed at the local council chair and Councilwoman instead of at Transportation.  The survey should have received more time and news publicity since it was clear that these streets were nominated for change.  But the City’s avoiding taking the issue to community councils questions their public engagement.  I put the email and phone number to complain or comment below.
  The Transportation Director, Jonathan Larsen, said that the Administration is looking for more signage that makes it clear to residents and businesses that traffic is still allowed to the businesses.  The Administration wanted more of a fun atmosphere…something to get people out… and they did not see any angry emails. 
  From the website:
 tinyurl.com/slcsafeactivestreets
“Salt Lake City is expanding its temporary measure to adapt to changing conditions and needs due to COVID-19: opening certain streets for community recreation, such as foot and bicycle traffic, while maintaining access to local traffic. This opening of streets follows a week-long survey in which the City asked residents for feedback on which streets they would like to see used for recreation.
Opening certain streets for community recreation, such as foot and bicycle traffic, will make it easier to maintain six feet of distance from others while recreating. Vehicle access on these streets will be maintained for local traffic.
Motorists are asked to drive slowly and with extra caution. Foot and bicycle traffic are asked to be extra cautious around motorists and to respect their right to access homes and businesses by moving to the side of the road when necessary to allow them to pass.
Consider the street to be shared. All users should respect others, allowing each to use the street together.
Parking may be impacted on some streets.
Factors that helped determine which streets to open include community survey feedback, street walkability, community visions for their streets, geographic equity, ease of implementation, connections to parks and trails, hospital/emergency routes, transit routes and traffic patterns. Streets opened so far include:
500 North between Redwood Rd and 800 West
900 South between 300 East and 700 East
600 East Between South Temple St and 900 South
Wasatch Dr between Crestview Dr and 1300 South
Stratford Ave between 1300 East and 2000 East
4th Avenue between A Street and N Street
200 West between North Temple and 600 North
 
Streets that were suggested on the survey are:
Q Street
Westminster Ave
Garfield Ave
500 North
N Street
1200 West
Emery Street
800 West
200 West
Wasatch Dr
Stratford Ave
1900 East
1500 East
11th Ave
900 South
4th Ave
700 South
Kensington Ave
800 East
600 East
  Before converting anymore streets to a STAY SAFE, STAY ACTIVE Street (open to walking and bicycling), the City should adopt some basic rules before further implementation.
1. Get local/community councils’ input, discussion and recommendations on which streets are appropriate (Ironically part of a recently adopted policy to encourage more public engagement.).
2. Do not discourage local business with local traffic only signs (streets with many local businesses should not be considered).
3. Do not increase congestion or pollution by forcing traffic and walkers and bicyclist to be in one lane (forced by medians 600 E/800 E).
4. Monitor the street and remove it from this purpose if there are too many concerns and problems or businesses are impacted.
  If you have comments or complaints or would like to report issues on any of the open streets, please email communityoutreach@slcgov.com or call our comment line at 801-535-7711. 

SLCPD HAS 62% INCREASE IN HOMELESS CALLS
  During the recent SLCPD report to the City Council, Chief Brown said that dispatch calls for service were up 6% but the police are discouraging tickets, engaging individuals to question them and bookings.  Homeless calls were up 62% but there is little that they can do now other than see if they need help.
  Community and Neighborhoods Department (CAN) also said that they are proposing a budget to pay for one half of the cost of biocleanup on private property.  They have received 26 requests so far this year but until the budget is passed, they cannot help.  They also need more help funding for camp cleanups with the homeless and County Health.  Public Services budget, discussed next week, also has funding for the homeless.

STILL NO FUNDING FOR PARK RANGERS AND MOBILE COP CAMS
  SLC still has not budgeted or asked for grants for more of the very effective (in the words of Chief Brown) 24/7 mobile cop cam trailers which cost $40,000.  The State Halfway House funding (which gave extra money to communities with most halfway houses) was used in the past to buy the trailers but the State budget is now up in the air and the City is not sure that they will get more funding.  Both Councilman Rogers and Mano pushed for more funding for the trailers.  Many community councils are begging for them.  The Chief said that he understands and that they work well at reducing crime.
  The SLCPD reorganized in January to increase patrol officers and as of May 19, the City has 5 unfilled sworn officer positions.  But the City loses 2 or more each month to retirement or recruitment by other County law enforcement and it will be down almost 30 by the end of the year.
Communities impacted by violence and drug dealing are begging for more visible police officers.
  The City is still not funding Police/ Park Rangers other than with overtime.  Staffing will not be available until August at the earliest.  A Sergeant has been assigned and is drafting the rules, procedures and recommendations to implement the SLCPD's proposal.  If any community has recommendations, let your local CIU (Community Intelligence Unit Officer) know (Google SLC.gov and CIU).  The Chief said that they are asking communities for suggestions and recommendations for the patrol.
  There was also a discussion about police vehicles.  The SLCPD has 32 Chevy Impala patrol cars that are over 10 years old (and worth about $2500).  They have an average of 97,000 miles on their engines but the engines and transmissions need replacement.  Although the mileage is low, the constant idling exhibited during patrol increases wear and tear by 2.5 times than normal.  A new vehicle costs $30,000 plus $10,000 to make ready.  The City just bought 106 hybrid vehicles that the Chief said are working great.
  The City is buying new bodycams that activate when vehicle lights are engaged or a weapon is drawn.  In addition, the City is considering a new app from Axon, the cop cam leader, that allows regular phones to be used as a body cam.  The goal is to ensure that every officer in the field has access to and is using a body cam.

SLC APPROVES LOAN THAT EFFECTIVELY REZONES PROPERTY WITHOUT HEARING
  The SLC RDA Board, earlier this month, approved a loan modification that allowed a project developer to borrow money before a property is rezoned for development!  That essentially means that the project rezone (to be done by the same Council/RDA Board members) is a done deal.  The project is Richmond Flats on Richmond (1220E) just north of Elgin.  The area is surrounded by single family homes but they will now not have a respectful chance to comment or object to the project. 
  The RDA Board should adopt a policy of NOT allowing loans to projects (like Richmond Flats) that imply a "done deal".  Millcreek and Sugar House have not been allowed a respectful public engagement on this development and any further similar decisions should be allowed appropriate public engagement. Again, the RDA Board, as the City Council, recently adopted a policy of: " increasing awareness/participation for City projects".  The RDA loan modification approval ignores that policy.


MAY 7, 2020
COMMUNITY COUNCILS NON ATTENDANCE COMPLAINTS
AGAINST SECRET MEETINGS AND DECISIONS
UTAH PUBLIC NOTICE WEBSITE INOPERABLE FOR 2 WEEKS WITHOUT NOTICE
UTA CELEBRATES TRAX MILK RUN
UTA TO KILL BUSES FOR MONEY
UTA REFUSES FREE FARE BUT HOW DO WE PAY
AIRBNB ALLOWED TO BE USED FOR ADU ADDITIONS
UTAH COULD GET MORE RADIACTIVE WASTE FROM ESTONIA
1100 EAST TRACES' TREES MURDERED
SLC DISCUSSING ALLOWING LIMITED CAMPING IN PARKS 
SLC FOOTHILL FIRE MITIGATION PERMITS NEED BETTER CALL2HAUL RULES
STRATFORD AVE EAST OF 1300E TO BE LOCAL SLOW TRAFFIC STREET
SLC LIBRARY PLANS TO REOPEN
SUGAR HOUSE WILL BE PERMANENT CONSTRUCTION ZONE FOR 5 YEARS


COMMUNITY COUNCILS NON ATTENDANCE COMPLAINTS
  During another public hearing on Peter Corroon's Cleveland Court proposal to rezone a single family home property to multi family, and that provided 8 off street parking spots for 7 apartments (many are 3 bedrooms), many more complaints emerged about the lack of notice to attend the local community council that heard and supported the proposal.  This is a constant complaint by neighbors of new projects.  The City needs to constantly remind citizens and businesses of the importance and influence of the local community councils.  I put the SLC recognized community councils in a download button but you can Google SLC community councils and get it. 
  These community councils are extremely important and influential.  Now, during the virtual meetings that they are running, it is easy to participate.  Please understand that all projects that do not meet zoning, must go to community councils.  Although not all agree to have a hearing on the projects, all projects have to give a 45 day notice to the local community council.  If neighbors do not like the project, the best place to object and influence the outcome is at the local community council.
  I like Peter Corroon more than I like this project.  This rezone to the FB-UN1 zone should not be granted since it encourages patchwork quilt zoning throughout the City.  One of the most important reasons for zoning in a City is to decrease fighting between neighbors and to assure property owners that their rights will be protected.  If they move into a single family home neighborhood, they assume (and are assured) that the area will remain a single family home neighborhood.  The FB-UN1 zone was for transit stations, not next to single family homes (even if there are some multifamily homes in the block).  SLC zoning should be respectful and reasonable.  This property should not be rezoned to FB-UN1.
  The SLC Council, after hearing many more comments against the project, closed the public hearing and differed action to another time.

AGAINST SECRET MEETINGS AND DECISIONS
  Several years ago, Mayor Jenny Wilson, when she was a Councilwoman, expressed frustration at a County Department that she thought was keeping secrets.  Although she has appropriately responded to the emergency of homeless and COVID 19, she has decided to keep secret the facilities that are used to alleviate issues due to this emergency.  Whether they are used by homeless or anyone else, this information is important for nearby residents and for the County's citizens to see that the County is appropriately and respectfully acting during this emergency.
  It is disrespectful to the citizens of this County to hear that elected officials don not trust us to know what is decided.  I, and I believe the majority of County citizens, do not like secret meetings and secret decisions.  The County should release the locations used to mitigate COVID 19. 
  Mayor Wilson's office responded to my concern with:
"There are several county-owned buildings across the valley that are in use as part of the COVID-19 response. Their use does not present a threat to neighborhoods or communities in any way. Some buildings are for warehousing and storage, some are alternate care sites, and some are safe social distancing facilities for people in our community who have no place else to go. The county is not publicly identifying which facilities function as what due to medical privacy concerns, and because facility uses change frequently as the needs of the response evolve."
 
UTAH PUBLIC NOTICE WEBSITE INOPERABLE FOR 2 WEEKS WITHOUT NOTICE
  Utah Interactive, which operates the Utah Public Notice Website, upgraded the website software two weeks ago and almost no one noticed that it essentially made it worthless.  Although it still gave the meeting notices, it did not allow the documents to be downloaded!  And almost no one complained for two weeks!  I did but it took another week for them to believe me.  When another complaint was received, they finally believed me and recognized that their software upgrade broke the system.  It only allowed downloads of the documents, packets and agendas in PDF formats if one removed the secure from secure.utah.gov (and the document link).  Otherwise, the attempt to download documents resulted in a technical difficulties notice.  Utah Interactive solved the issue with a newer update this week.
  The most important point should be that not enough people care about government meetings.

UTA CELEBRATES TRAX MILK RUN
  UTA officially agreed with Salt Lake City's plan to put in another TRAX station downtown at 650 S. Main Street (discussed over the last year in this blog).  This makes TRAX essentially a streetcar and milk run through downtown SLC.  Making a rail line a milk run is not a good way to increase mass transit ridership.
  Salt Lake Tribune's Lee Davidson had a great story on the questionable rail projects, especially the Airport TRAX line at:
https://www.sltrib.com/news/politiccs/2020/05/05/new-study-pans-airport/
  Anyone interested in mass transit should read the article.  It is a good reality check.  For years we fought against the almost $100 million flying bridge TRAX reconstruction plans for the Airport.  Even after the Acting Airport Director pointed out the unrealistic plans (pointing out that the flying bridge maintenance would require shutting down the Airport entrance and hide the beautiful new terminal), many influential people tried to push their expensive and wasteful dream.

UTA TO KILL BUSES FOR MONEY
  UTA is going to replace 20 diesel buses with electric battery operated vehicles using the Volkswagen settlement.  This blog discussed this over a year ago.  The plan will include funding for supporting charging infrastructure.  UTA will get 65% of the "lowest price quote for each new replacement vehicle....The total maximum combined funding assistance awarded to UTA is $13,079,240. 
  Each UTA vehicle replaced through the funding must be permanently disabled within 90 days of entering the replacement vehicle into service. To disable, each vehicle must have a three-inch by three-inch hole cut in the engine block and the chassis must be disabled by cutting through the frame rails on both sides of the vehicle between the front and rear axles. For reimbursement a certificate of destruction must be submitted."
  UTA should charge money to watch the show.

UTA REFUSES FREE FARE BUT HOW DO WE PAY
  Despite requiring regular passengers to use the rear doors entering and exiting buses, UTA still requires money for fare and that requires going to the front of the bus and interacting with the driver.  Instead of giving everyone free fare, which the sales taxes can cover, especially with the recent big tax increase giving 40% of transportation taxes to UTA, UTA insists of people paying when the crisis is setting mass transit ridership back a decade.
  To watch the freefall in ridership, go to UTA's data portal:
https://data-rideuta.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/rideuta::uta-mode-level-boardings-weekday-averages

AIRBNB ALLOWED TO BE USED FOR ADU ADDITIONS
  Recently, the Planning Commission was required to approve the conditional use of an ADU at a home on Wasatch Blvd on the East Bench that was being used as a defacto motel through Airbnb.  The East Bench Community Council objected but were told that there was nothing that could stop it despite the fact that SLC Code Enforcement found that the homeowner was doing up to THREE short-term rentals on AirBnB in his home, and without a business license to do so. They brought this up at the meeting along with the problem with parking for tenants. The Planning Commission only required that the owner provide off-street parking for all tenants.
  Salt Lake City needs standard rules for ADUs to ensure that they don't use and haven't used Airbnb.  These rules should require more parking. 
  Salt Lake City Planning responded to complaints to the Mayor and Council with this:
 "A short term rental is allowed in the zones that allow other nightly rentals, such as hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.  In those zones, someone has to license their unit as one of these types of uses to do nightly or short term (less than 30 days) rentals. The only residential zones that allow one of these uses (bed and breakfast) are the mixed use residential districts (RB, RMU-35, RMU_45, RMU, RO). It is possible that there could be single family dwellings in these zones.  In these zones, ADUs are permitted uses because the zones already allow duplexes, townhomes, and multi-family developments. A Bed and Breakfast is also permitted in a designated Landmark site with a conditional use. These could be in any zone but they have to be a landmark site and the building has to be over 7,000 square feet in size."
  But that does not change the issue of ADU applications are being used for Airbnb rentals and it results in higher housing costs!  Planning does not do zoning enforcement but it is handled by Civil Enforcement (within Building Services).
  Planning is a complicated issue now in Salt Lake City since it has 56 districts.  In 1927, it had 6 districts. 40% of the work in Planning is in Historic Districts.  The City has 1400 lots in the Avenues which are historic and the City is in the top ten in the Nation for Historic District lots.  The City's Planned Development projects generally happen when there is a 75 foot wide lot that is 300 feet deep.  Planning gets about 1200 land use requests a year.
 
UTAH COULD GET MORE RADIACTIVE WASTE FROM ESTONIA
 "Energy Fuels, which is incorporated in Canada and headquartered in Colorado, recently applied for permits to store more radioactive material in its impoundment ponds, including waste imported from the country of Estonia. A public comment period on the company’s application runs through June 5 with the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control." (Google it and please tell them not to allow foreign radioactive material in Utah.

1100 EAST TRACES' TREES MURDERED
  The old Traces gift shop and nursery on 1100 East took out most of the mature trees in the property and no one, not even the community council complained!  Even if the City plants a thousand new miniature 2" trees a year, the City appears to be losing thousands of mature trees due to construction!  The City used to be called a Tree City.

SLC DISCUSSING ALLOWING LIMITED CAMPING IN PARKS 
  Salt Lake City is discussing allowing a limited camping in parks for the homeless.  At the same time, the Health Department along with the Police disrupted homeless camping in Sugar House Park at the beginning of April!  I, and I think most people, believe that the best place for homeless to camp in tents or in their vehicles would be near the homeless services in the Rio Grande area.

SLC FOOTHILL FIRE MITIGATION PERMITS NEED BETTER CALL2HAUL RULES
  The Salt Lake City Council is setting a public hearing date for Wildfire Mitigation.  Permits for Wildfire Mitigation should include dumpsters for removing scrub oak cuttings that are difficult to fit in garbage cans.  Call2Haul does not allow them.  Please tell the City Council at the public hearing on June 2 to include Call2Haul flexibility.  The East Bench Community Council has expressed concern many times about this issue.

STRATFORD AVE EAST OF 1300E TO BE LOCAL SLOW TRAFFIC STREET
  Salt Lake City has announced another local traffic only street.  It is Stratford Avenue from 1300 East to 2000 East.  Unfortunately, there are several businesses that may be impacted by that.  It will take a while to see the effect.

SLC LIBRARY PLANS TO REOPEN
  SLCPL Public Library has announced plans to reopen in phases.  When the Library is convinced that there are enough disinfecting products, and personal protective equipment to support operations, they will start staffing a building at a time and start taking and processing library returns.  There will be quarantining and disinfecting procedures in place.  The Library hopes to start by the end of May.
  Then, after successful operations of above, there will be curbside pickup of materials.  Locations will be phased for opening one by one but not all at once.  After those are operated successfully, the Library will allow a limited number of patrons in the building at a time and requiring masks (if legal allows it).  There will be employee protections in place.
  When governments decide that it is appropriate, occupancy limits will be relaxed.  Small groups may be allowed to use a room but larger group use will probably wait for a while.

SUGAR HOUSE WILL BE PERMANENT CONSTRUCTION ZONE FOR 5 YEARS
  I put the Sugar House projects for SLC and UDOT in the downloads section in the right.  The first page is a map of all of the construction and road and highway projects for Sugar House in the next 5 years.  It means that Sugar House will be a permanent construction zone for the next 5 years. 
  The 1300 E. and 1700 E bridges will be replaced.  The 2000 East bridge, in coordination with SLC's 2000 East project, will be replaced.  Those bridges and the resurfacing/reconstruction of I80 with low noise pavement, will take place over 2 summers to avoid school traffic.  The City also is planning to put in a new water line on 2100 South from 700 East to 1700 East.  Highland will have sewer line work.  There will be many streets in the area reconstructed or resurfaced. 

 

APRIL 19, 2020
UTA SECRETLY PLANNING LEHI DRAPER TRAX WITH EIS GRANT APPLICATION
LEGISLATURE URGES STATE AGENCIES TO REFRAIN FROM NEW EXPENDITURES
UTA PAYING $20 PER RIDER SUBSIDY FOR RIDERS
LEGISLATURE SHOULD MANDATE FREE FARE TO SAVE TRANSIT IN UTAH
WHERE DO THE HOMELESS GO WHEN THEY TEST POSITIVE FOR THE VIRUS
SECRET MEETINGS AND DECISIONS AGAIN INVOLVING HOMELESS
DID EARTHQUAKES AFFECT PRISON BUILDING SITE?
PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUED ON CLEVELAND COURT REZONE WITHOUT PARKING 
2166 SOUTH PROJECT ADDS SECRET THIRD FLOOR AND REMOVES PUBLIC SPACE
SLC FOOTHILL TRAILS PROJECT SHOULD HAVE PRIORITY OVER BYWAYS
BUSINESSES WANT UNSAFE TWO WAY SHARED STREET CONCEPT FOR MCCLELLAND 
LIBERTY PARK BASKETBALL HOOPS REMOVED DUE TO PARTY GAME


UTA SECRETLY PLANNING LEHI DRAPER TRAX WITH EIS GRANT APPLICATION
  UTA's Board of Trustees have approved a grant application for the BUILD program with the Federal Transit Agency to fund an EIS for the Point of the Mountain project.  Although it is supposed to wait for the study on the potential projects and alignment, UTA is committing to building a project that will probably be a rail line, the TRAX from Lehi to Draper that has a lot of pressure from those with political influence and property in the area.  The legislators that own property plan commercial and residential areas but have resisted using assessment fees and seem to want taxpayers to fund their dream projects that will theoretically increase their properties' value.  There will be many millionaires made with the project.  The BUILD grant application is for around $200,000.  The U.S. Cares Act, the stimulus package passed by the Congress, provides billions in funding to transit agencies without any match required.  I expect UTA to try for many more applications for funds for projects.  The Federal Rail Agency has just announced a $311 million dollar fund available for transit agencies.
  I and I believe the majority of UTA transit riders are against the BUILD Grant Application for Point of the Mountain Transit Environmental Study.  UTA should stop all projects during this emergency and focus everything on providing bus service as much as possible.  If you have any comments to the Board, their email is boardoftrustees@rideuta.com.
  In addition, the Station Center Project and UTA/TOD proposal (authorized by Sen. Harper's SB150) should be postponed during this emergency.

LEGISLATURE URGES STATE AGENCIES TO REFRAIN FROM NEW EXPENDITURES
  Interestingly enough, after I commented to the Board about putting off projects until after the emergency, one of the first bills that the special session of the Legislature passed was HJR301.  It "urges state agencies; state and local government entities; state boards,  ...to: limit expenditures to essential costs during the remainder of the fiscal year ....avoid unnecessary spending during the remainder of the fiscal year ...refrain from committing to new or expanded expenditures for the fiscal year".  HJR301 was enrolled April 17th.  Essentially, the Legislature is telling every public agency to "refrain from new expenditures, including, projects like rail, TODs and other projects that are not as important now, compared to the serious decrease in sales tax revenue that is expected over the next few years while we recover our economy.  
  Despite this Resolution, UTA's Board, with pressure from influential leaders in the State, seems intent on using sales tax money to build more rail projects and buildings.  This includes the parking garage next to the Rio Grande area and several BRT projects.  The Transportation Commission is also considering funding the BRT projects around the State.  The funds could be and should be used for roadway projects but the Legislature has authorized the Transportation Commission to use those funds for transit projects.  I was the only one who commented against those transit projects at the Transportation Commission and more should argue against the funding.  Please consider telling the transportationcommission@utah.gov what you think about funding these projects when we should be tightening our belt.  The Commission is meeting April 24th.

UTA PAYING $20 PER RIDER SUBSIDY FOR RIDERS
  UTA has claimed that their "experiment" to provide more transit options in the southwest part of Salt Lake County is a great success.  In reality, it has resulted in an average of $20 subsidy for each rider.  This has got to be a record.  Unfortunately, it is not.  There are claims that some FrontRunner trains are running with fewer than 10 passengers!  (UTA says FrontRunner ridership is down over 85%.)  So that means that UTA is paying hundreds of dollars per rider to ride FrontRunner!  It may even be $1000 per rider subsidy.
  Transit ridership is down over 70% as of last week and may take a decade to return to the 3% of citizens using transit.  Personal vehicle use will increase due to the decline of transit service and social distancing encouragement and it will be difficult to recover transit ridership.  That is another reason not to invest in projects but focus on bus service.  No matter how many hundreds of millions that UTA spends on projects, ridership will not return when it is competing with pandemic fears and the enjoyment of the freedom and efficiency that a new personal vehicle brings.  
  UTA should reevaluate if all day FrontRunner and TRAX makes cost effective sense if only 10 passengers ride the trains.  UTA should consider using express buses on freeways to substitute for rail service if it is more cost effective.  Taxpayers will never forgive spending a thousand dollars subsidy per rider on FrontRunner.
  Hundreds of millions of dollars are being planned by UTA for projects that include double tracking FrontRunner and electrifying the trains (which involve billions) and include spending billions on the Lehi Draper TRAX extension.
   I acknowledge the serious issues facing UTA but I urge UTA to stop all projects and focus all funding on bus service.

LEGISLATURE SHOULD MANDATE FREE FARE TO SAVE TRANSIT IN UTAH
   Loss of a robust bus system will result in many buying cars which will set back mass transit use a decade.  I suggest that the Legislature or UTA implement free bus fares in order for bus drivers to not have to interface or deal with riders.  The free fare cards that are provided to low income and homeless need to be punched by drivers which is another situation that should be avoided.

WHERE DO THE HOMELESS GO WHEN THEY TEST POSITIVE FOR THE VIRUS
  Several weeks ago, the emergency homeless shelter had reports of a lot of the users hearing a lot of coughing at night.  Anyone could have guessed what that means.  Like many of the homeless shelters around the Country, the homeless shelters are a perfect incubator for getting and spreading COVAD 19.  At times (until April 15 when it was supposed to close) up to 175 homeless used the Sugar House emergency shelter at night.
  We have asked many times over the last 5 years to allow use, for the homeless, of the many vacant buildings and properties that SLC RDA owns near the Weigand and Vincent DePaul Centers and Fourth Street Clinic (7 of 15 acres - some properties vacant for decades). 
  When the homeless start exhibiting signs of the virus, others that are in contact with that person cannot just isolate themselves in emergency shelters or resource centers.  They will need an area to allow them to keep (6 feet or more) away from others.  The best option, in my opinion, is to allow them an area to camp, in their tents or cars or area that they can live in near to homeless services.  Salt Lake City should plan and consider on providing a camping area near to the concentration of homeless services now.  
  Of Course, if the homeless are going to be allowed to camp anywhere (and the City now seems to be allowing open air camping), they should be encouraged to camp near services which includes proper sanitation systems including hand washing stations.  It took way too long for the City and County to provide them for the hepatitis outbreak.

SECRET MEETINGS AND DECISIONS AGAIN INVOLVING HOMELESS
  I hate secret meetings and secret decisions.  Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson has provided one of the silliest reasons for her decision to rent, at a very reasonable cost, a secret hotel for the homeless to self isolate.  She has said that she can't tell anyone where it is since it would violate the homeless privacy rights!  I think that the decision was appropriate and reasonable but the reasoning to keep it secret was silly and dangerous.  Government decisions should not be secret.  She may be a good Mayor but she is opening up  a big argument against her continuing to be Mayor.

DID EARTHQUAKES AFFECT PRISON BUILDING SITE?
  Despite all of the earthquake news, along with lots of aftershocks, no one seems to have checked on the status of the new prison that is being built on land that is perfect for acting like quicksand during a nearby earthquake.  And the Magna 5.7 earthquake was near enough to be destructive of building on soil that has been recently compacted on soil that was never compacted and is like quicksand when shaken.  Someone needs to check and verify what the damage was to the new prison building.

PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUED ON CLEVELAND COURT REZONE WITHOUT PARKING 
  Sometimes bad developments happen to good people.  The Cleveland Court project that is near 1400 South and 300 East is one of those projects.  It makes one of my favorite developers look bad.  It had so many speakers argue against it that the City Council kept the public hearing open and is expected to have another hearing on it on May 5.
  This proposal misuses the FB-UN1 zone and should be rejected.  Parking is important in the single family home neighborhood.
In addition the front and rear and garage setbacks create what I call a modern brutalist architecture that is not appropriate in an area that is trying to protect the many single family home zoning in the area.  This rezone WILL encourage destruction of the blocks of single family home zoning across the street.
  Similar higher density housing in the area has become run down and attracts a lot of criminal activity and has caused a reputation of criminal activity.  The area already has problem controlling crime in the area and increasing density would exacerbate the situation.
  Ironically, State Street is a few blocks away and could, should and would provide better mixed use and mixed income housing and that should be the priority.
  This project WILL replace a single family home.  Single family home neighborhoods should be protected and walkable neighborhoods with mixed use and mixed income should be encouraged on streets like State Street.  Look at the pictures in the Staff Report.  They show single family homes surrounding the project.  Multi-family units within 3 blocks is not a good reason to destroy a single family home neighborhood.
  A majority of a significant number of neighbors that attended the Planning Commission were furious at the proposal (many more than 2) and also commented against it during the City Council meeting.  Good government should not be making citizens angry.
And I still love Peter Corroon (the developer).

2166 SOUTH PROJECT ADDS SECRET THIRD FLOOR AND REMOVES PUBLIC SPACE
  There is a rebuild project at 2166 South 900 East that is converting a commercial space to a two floor restaurant.  Unfortunately, during the confusion caused by the COVAD19 pandemic, the City is ignoring proper inspections and seems to be allowing a secret, non-approved rooftop facility with railing and three accessory structures.  It supposedly is a bar.  It is not on the approved permit and the permit allows the landowner/builder to lease property next to the sidewalk, literally, for a raised patio that is about 3 feet wide.  So the City is giving away space that should be used for wider sidewalks that are recommended for the area and allowing it to be used for the restaurant!  There is a vaping shop next door and I want to see what happens when a person that is smoking or vaping on public property on the sidewalk is next to the diners.  Zoning is supposed to be used to decrease conflicts between citizens.  This project seems to be meant to increase the conflicts between citizens.

SLC FOOTHILL TRAILS PROJECT SHOULD HAVE PRIORITY OVER BYWAYS
  During one of the recent SLC City Council meetings, there were several grant applications for bicycling amenities that impacted personal vehicle travel.  In addition, Budget Amendment 4 had some money ($300,000) for the SLC Foothill Trails program.  That project should have more money and the City should be applying to the federal government for some of the funds in the stimulus act.  The federal government is expected to pass another stimulus bill that encompasses more infrastructure, and the majority of SLC suggestions for using the funding should go to the potential for a world class Salt Lake Foothill Trails System.  I support the $300,000 budget amendment for the Plan but more should be going towards it.
  There are several grant applications that I am against.  Grant Applications for the 600/700 N FTN and 800 E Byway are questionable.  The Grant Application for the 600/700 N FTN should stop if buses cannot reach the curb.  UTA's managers in charge of the leased bus tires have expressed concern about scuffing of the tires and have ordered drivers to stay one to 4 feet from the curb!  So, even a million dollar bus stop is a waste of money if riders have to step further down into the street and further up onto a bus.  It will discourage ridership.  The $228,000 grant application should be used to provide more frequent bus service.
  The 800 E. Neighborhood Byway is already walkable and the $210,000 is a lot of money that could be better spent.  If the money is to be used to install right hand only turns, I and I think the neighborhoods are against it.  The 600 East Bicycle Boulevard plan did not make clear that there would be right hand only turns installed and they increase pollution.  SLC should not increase air pollution.

BUSINESSES WANT UNSAFE TWO WAY SHARED STREET CONCEPT FOR MCCLELLAND 
  Last year, the Sugar House Community Council Transportation Committee approved a suggestion for the the McClelland Street reconstruction that would provide a shared street and a slow one way (going south) road that could be pedestrian and bicycle friendly.  The adjacent businesses were against it and the plan is now for a two way shared street!  A two way shared street is incredibly unsafe.  And the suggestion that the left hand turn from 2100 S to McClelland going south be stopped has been reconsidered since the businesses want it.  But that is one of the most dangerous corners for pedestrians!  The City seems to be making it safer for pedestrians at many other intersections on 2100 South but on the McClelland, so called walkable street, safety is planned to go downhill!

LIBERTY PARK BASKETBALL HOOPS REMOVED DUE TO PARTY GAME
  Okay, so some people are ignoring the social distancing directives and orders and have been seen playing basketball.  The City has responded, after complaints, by taking down the Liberty Park basketball hoops!!!  So one on one between family members (son or daughter and parents) are outlawed and now impossible.  That is another reason to have a single family home and yard that allows things like basketball.  Other problems at Liberty Park include the keep off the playground signs have been removed (apartment dwellers have no other way for their kids to play) and the fence around the southeast fountain keeps getting torn down. 
  I keep hearing complaints from virtual meeting participants that some park goers are walking their dogs in the park and playing with their kids in the park.  I think that people should not try to tell others what to do and follow the Governor's suggestion of using good sense.  That's why he issued a directive and not an order.  PLEASE DO NOT GO UP TO SOMEONE WITH A DOG AND TELL THEM TO GO BACK INSIDE AND SELF ISOLATE THEMSELVES.  I keep thinking that someone is going to get bitten by a dog while confronting their owner.  People don't need to be reminded about the pandemic.  They know and it can be just as dangerous getting in the face of someone who you think is acting dangerously.  I have heard several people claim that they have tried talking to others about social distancing in the park.

 

MARCH 19, 2020
SLC OFFERS $7.5 MIL FOR ALLEN PARK
MILLCREEK SAYS SLC WILL DO SECRET ROAD DIET ON HIGHLAND
ANTI CELLPHONE BILL DIES AFTER OPED PUBLISHED
LEG, UTA & SLC GIVE PRIORITY TO SPENDING TRANSIT MONEY TO BUILDINGS
EFFORT DIES TO GIVE DEVELOPERS MORE TRANSPORTATION MONEY FOR PARKING LOTS
LEGISLATURE CELEBRATES ELECTRIC VEHICLES WHILE NICKEL AND DIMEING THEM
LEGISLATURE MAY PUSH SLCO 3 DISPATCHES TO COMBINE
SLC QUESTIONS ALLOWING 190 FOOT BUILDING IN RIO GRANDE AREA
SLC MAYOR TEACHES COLD HEARTED A LESSON
SLC POISED TO ALLOW DEVELOPERS NO PARKING REQUIREMENTS
SLC IGNORES SUGAR HOUSE PUSH FOR WIDER SIDEWALKS
SLC PUSHES PROTECTED BIKE LANES
BETTER ANTI GAMBLING BILL MAY HIT CRIME SLC MAGNET
ANTI CATALYTIC AND MAIL THEFT BILLS DIE
DOGS STILL BANNED IN CANYONS
WHY USE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS DURING EMERGENCIES
MORE SLC ALLEY VACATIONS
HUNDREDS OF CARS STOLEN LAST YEAR WITH KEYS OR RUNNING
UTA STILL REFUSES TO PAY DRIVERS REASONABLE RESPECTFUL SALARY 
SAFETY STOPS AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE BUT ALLOWS SIMILAR BUSES
EASTSIDE SLC DOWN 17 COPS IN FEBRUARY
LEGISLATURE PUSHES PATCHWORK QUILT OF TIMEZONES
UTA SHOULD PROVIDE FREE FARES TO DECREASE DISEASE SPREAD
17TH SOUTH ROAD DIET ON HOLD DUE TO COST
ANTI DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL SB 46 DIES IN LEGISLATURE
LEGISLATURE FINALLY PASSES ANTI PREDATORY TOWING BILL


SLC OFFERS $7.5 MIL FOR ALLEN PARK
  SLC has submitted an offer to the Court appointed fiduciary for Allen Park
From the Council briefing document yesterday:
"A 7-acre parcel is being considered for purchase in Salt Lake City. Last summer, a fiduciary was assigned to sell the property and has engaged a local real estate agent to list the property for an undetermined amount where all "highest and best" offers were submitted July 31, 2019. The City engaged an MAI appraiser to estimate the value based on the development and infrastructure limitations that came in at $6,990,000 not considering development limitations. However, based on current high demand for the property and the outpouring of public support for the City to purchase the property coupled with a rapidly increasing real estate market, a Letter of Intent has been submitted at the Mayor's request for an offer amount at $7,500,000. In a previous budget amendment, budget amendment #1 of this fiscal year, $4,000,000 was allocated. Public Utilities contributed $1,000,000 and $3,000,000 came from parks impact fees. This budget amendment is requesting an additional $3,500,000 from parks impact fees.
A signed Letter of Intent has been sent to the fiduciary in behalf or the City pending approval of this budget amendment."
  During discussion with the Council, it was stated that the City originally offered $4 million and it was declined in favor of another offer that was withdrawn (theoretically the developer).  The City attorney asked for limited public information until the public hearing but the Council took a straw poll and everyone was for the City going forward with the purchase although, officially, the City can decide next Tuesday after the public hearing in order to make it official and legal.  If the City needs to move faster, the Mayor can contact the Council for quicker legal permission.
  Good news all around.

MILLCREEK SAYS SLC WILL DO SECRET ROAD DIET ON HIGHLAND
  Millcreek City is about to restripe Highland Drive to improve traffic flow and encourage safer bicycling.  It is essentially a test and will result in the grinding down of the present lane markings and repainting for this plan.  Millcreek will test the new layout and it may change the final plan after a year or two.
  I put the Highland Drive Study in the upper left TRANSPORTATION DOWNLOADS.  But Millcreek has also said that it expects Salt Lake City to also restripe the portion of Highland Drive north of 3000 South that Salt Lake City owns.  Millcreek has had several public outreach events and a public hearing last week but Salt Lake City has had no public hearings or engagement. 
  The first discussion with the Sugar House Community Council was Monday during a ZOOM virtual meeting.  Several participants expressed interest but others expressed concern.  The City's representative and project leader, Lynn Jacobs, said that Salt Lake City was concerned that the roadway in Salt Lake City is in worse condition than the Millcreek portion and the Millcreek plan to temporarily grind down the present striping is not wise for the poor condition of the Salt Lake portion of the roadway.  In addition, there has been no public engagement and very few people know about this plan so Salt Lake City was not planning as of this week on restriping the roadway.
  But Millcreek is operating on the assumption (this week) that a restriping of Highland must be and will be coordinated and done with Salt Lake City and is planning on starting the restriping in April!
  My concerns about the plan are below.  It is not a good plan.
Comments on proposed road diet on Highland Drive
Buses need a turnout lane to allow traffic to pass when picking up passengers.  When the 1300 East road diet was implemented, buses were so frustrated at the traffic backup that they stopped in the middle of the lane (making transit riders work/walk to the bus in the street and discouraging mass transit ridership) and backed up traffic (that was already backed up).  That resulted in vehicles sometimes taking 15 minutes to go 4 blocks which led to significantly higher pollution levels.
Only allow left hand turns and lanes at cross streets.  All businesses should be encouraged to use side streets for in/out to decrease potential backups with one lanes configuration (2100 South backs up at 1250 East due to that problem).
Encourage right hand turns only in most cross streets to decrease pedestrian and bicycle dangers (and accidents).
Reconfiguration should not decrease service of street grade.
No road diet without broad public engagement and significant notification of local residents and businesses and community councils.
Removing left hand turn lanes except at cross streets will allow wider bike lanes and decrease pedestrian (and bicyclist) conflicts and accidents.
WFRC projected ADT on Richmond appears extremely low.  I would say that it has doubled in the last ten years.
Right hand turns only should be allowed on Richmond due to the high speed limit (and the speed should be reduced south of Elgin.
Projected completion of development seems too optimistic.  Sugar House targeted development took almost 20 years.  Millcreek is competing with SLC's Station Center and Ballpark, South Salt Lake City and Murray.
(Although finding a way to create a special character that would attract mixed use would help.)
All development should be mixed use and mixed income or a road diet may increase problems.  ADT can double if all new buildings are apartments.  The projected apartments vrs commercial/retail space seem low.  Avoid zombie buildings with lack of ground floor retail/restaurants.
The Mountair proposal on the east side should really be a super wide sidewalk with ability to host food trucks (with power outlets) to encourage public engagement.  I don't think residents east of Mountair want to open their street to more pedestrian traffic.
During discussions at SLC RDA on the Richmond Street affordable apartments loan, RDA was asked to ensure that pedestrian and bicycle paths to Brickyard be addressed for safety.
Road diets should only be realistically considered for roads with maximum hourly traffic of less than 700 vehicles (750 from federal government).  Highland appears to be approaching that figure.  3300 South seems to have similar traffic volumes according to the Highland Drive Corridor Traffic Impact Study.  If so, a road diet should not be considered.  UDOT obviously should be providing feedback on this proposal.  What do they think??
Adding more right hand turn lanes on Highland (at cross streets) may help decrease potential backups.  Any curb cuts/entrances to businesses (right hand turn only exits) should have a right hand turn lane, even if it interferes with a bike lane.  The purpose is to decrease stop and go traffic and pollution.
No roundabouts should be considered since they appear to decrease walkability.  
Crosswalks should be fewer due to potential to increase traffic interference.
Raised center landscaped median is a maintenance nightmare and decreases valuable bike lane widths.
Curb extensions/bulbouts interfere with bicycling/lanes.  They tend to force bicyclists into traffic increasing danger.
Soren Simonsen had some ideas on this when he was on SLC Council and should be contacted for input if he hasn't been before.
Pedestrian access to and from adjacent neighborhoods is not inhibited.
Businesses should first be encouraged to allow long term parking, even for drivers that want to shop next door or down the street.  It ensures walkability.
Ensure that any road diet does not increase pollution with a full analysis of any lane reconfiguration.
I like "consolidating business accesses" but they should all have access from side streets.  I like closing driveways, especially near cross streets.  I like bus pull out lanes but note that UTA is having a Jekyl/Hyde moment - they are telling drivers to stay 1-4 feet from the curb so bus stop amenities are a waste of time.  All curbs should be vertical.
Wider shared sidewalks should allow for kids and families to bike safely with pedestrians on the sidewalks.  There is a difference between commuter bicyclists and recreational cyclists.
There should not be access to businesses near the intersections to allow for longer left hand turn lanes. (Highland/33rd and 1300E/33rd have these conflicts.)
Highland needs a right hand and left hand turn lane in both directions on 33rd South.  Too much traffic is turning left and right.  Any bike box or other bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure should not interfere with traffic or increase pollution.
Note that Fehr and Peers proposal to remove the Highland Drive 2100 South right hand turn lane significantly increased backups and pollution.
5 foot bike lanes are too small.  They should be 8 feet to allow side by side bicycling.
Miller Avenue from Brickyard Rd should be reconfigured to have one light and a straight connection to Brickyard Rd to decrease traffic accident potential.

ANTI CELLPHONE BILL DIES AFTER OPED PUBLISHED
  Rep. Moss's HB101 has been killed a couple of days after the Salt Lake Tribune published my opinion piece against decreasing the penalties for texting and driving and making all cell phone use (without hands free technology) while driving illegal.  The plan makes all cell phone use in hands while driving an infraction.  Now the law says that it is illegal to use a cellphone while driving and violating traffic laws.  The proposed bill was supposed to make all use of cell phones in drivers' hands illegal.
  During the first Legislative committee hearing, several law enforcement personnel said that they observed drivers violating traffic laws while using phones (and an IPAD!) but felt that they couldn't give a ticket since they couldn't prove that the violation was related to cell phone use!  They even mentioned that they observed a truck driver driving while talking on a hand held cell phone.  That is already a federal crime and that driver should have been ticketed and fired.  I know that UTA has fired several bus drivers for using a cellphone while stopped, parked and waiting for the next run!  This law is not needed.  We don't need more laws to force enforcement, we just need the laws we have enforced.
  Lee Davidson had a great story on it in the SLTrib.  But the opinion piece ran in Friday's paper and the bill was sent to Senate rules after the second reading vote to approve it (bills generally require 3 readings and votes) on Tuesday.  Since it had a fiscal note over $10,000, the last day that it could be considered was the next day.  It is my understanding that there was enough concern about the bill in the Legislature and by constituents, that there was no taste for a big argument about it and it died in Senate rules.
  The link to the Salt Lake Tribune commentary is:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/03/05/george-chapman-cell-phone/

LEG, UTA & SLC GIVE PRIORITY TO SPENDING TRANSIT MONEY TO BUILDINGS
  Senator Wayne Harper has had several great bills this session.  They include the anti-predatory towing bill (see below) and a public safety retirement bill that increases options to increase the retention of public safety personnel.  But Senator Harper's SB150 is not a good bill.  It gives UTA the ability to assist developers by spending money and providing land to developers for projects called transit oriented developments (TODs - are supposed to increase transit use and the federal government gave UTA money to buy property for transit use).  The Legislature previously limited TODs supported by UTA to 8.  SB150 removes the limit.
  The last audit of UTA, in 2014, and the reason that the federal government insisting on a federal monitor, was questionable deals between UTA and developers that utilized federal money used to purchase property.  
  UTA has given property in the past to developers for so called TODs that are really zombie buildings that do not encourage mass transit use.  They are apartments without any ground floor engagement which does not encourage walkability and the result is no encouragement to use mass transit.
  At the same time, UTA is limiting rail transit use because the parking lots of many FrontRunner and TRAX stations are full and UTA would rather save the land for projects with developers instead of expanding parking lots.  For instance, UTA's Roy FrontRunner station has acres of vacant property that could be used to expand the usually full parking lot.  But Roy and UTA want to encourage development of buildings.  This bill allows it and it passed the Legislature and awaits the Governor's signature.  There are many other stations that have parking lots that are usually full.
  SB150 also reinforces the increase in electric vehicle registration fees (see below) and it also allows Uber and Lyft vehicles at the SLC Airport to be stopped and inspected.  The early version also increased rental vehicle taxes but that was dropped in the enrolled version.  I put UTA's presentation in the TRANSPORTATION DOWNLOADS.  It makes the highest priority project SLC RDA's Station Center (used to be called Depot District) Rio Grande area.  Other area possible projects include the 1300 South Ballpark station (see last page for list of projects and priority).

EFFORT DIES TO GIVE DEVELOPERS MORE TRANSPORTATION MONEY FOR PARKING LOTS
  Senator Cullimore failed to pass SB108 which would have encouraged transportation funds to be used for parking lots in his Cottonwood Heights area (which already had parking lot funding for former Senate President Wayne Niederhauser's Canyon Center project).  This bill would have pulled together transportation project surplus funding (not needed for projects) and put it into a loan fund to encourage more developer parking lot projects.  It would have made Wayne Niederhauser and the Legislature look bad, in my opinion.  Despite SLCO Transportation's support, it died.  

LEGISLATURE CELEBRATES ELECTRIC VEHICLES WHILE NICKEL AND DIMEING THEM
  The Legislature celebrated their efforts to encourage electric vehicle use by allowing Rocky Mountain Power to use customer funding to support building more charging stations.  But at the same time, the Legislature repeated the plan to significantly increase electric and hybrid vehicle registration fees (with SB150) since electric vehicles do not pay their fair share of road use.  Big rigs pay over ten thousand dollars a year for road taxes and many in the Legislature feel that electric vehicles will take over the roads and Utah will not be able to pay for roads.  In my opinion, Utah will probably not get over 5% electric vehicle use.  Trucks and SUVs (according to Ford) will take over.  Essentially, the Legislature is on the fence on electric vehicles.  The road usage charge test has 500 signing up but it still seems unrealistic.  It will be interesting to see the result.  Oregon had 5000 sign up but the results weren't encouraging with a lot of extra tracking costs.

LEGISLATURE MAY PUSH SLCO 3 DISPATCHES TO COMBINE
  Senator Harper also sponsored SB130, which encourage the Utah Communications Authority to fix the issues that the 911 audit found last year in emergency dispatch centers.  In one case, a Park City heart attack victim call was routed to Salt Lake County VECC dispatch (cell phone towers switch calls to the dispatch center that takes the most calls).  But when VECC realized that the victim was in Park City, it was switched to the Park City Police.  But medical in Summit County and Park City is handled by Summit COunty and valuable time was lost in the process.  The House committee (Public Utilities) strongly recommended that the Legislative Audit Team return during interim and report on the resolution of the problems.  SB130 provides authority to the Utah Communications Authority to encourage solutions.  The best solution would be one 911/emergency dispatch in Salt Lake County (which has 3 emergency systems now).  Weber and Morgan County combined their 911 systems with great results.

SLC QUESTIONS ALLOWING 190 FOOT BUILDING IN RIO GRANDE AREA
  SLC RDA owns 7 of 15 acres in the Rio Grande area and is having an argument about allowing a developer to build a higher project than presently allowed in the area.  But much of the RDA owned property is vacant and has been for decades.  SLC should not be arguing with a developer about how high a building can be.  The present height limit is 120 feet.  The developer wants to build 190 feet.  SLC RDA seems to be waiting to develop the whole area with UTA instead of allowing piecemeal development.  Building anything would decrease the crime that comes with vacant buildings.

SLC MAYOR TEACHES COLD HEARTED A LESSON

  I have fought with Erin Mendenhall often over the last few years but I have to say that her recent actions have been amazing.  The homeless were recently faced with the Leonardo turning on the sprinklers to "test the system" when it was obviously an attempt to punish the homeless camping by the Leonardo and encourage them to move.  Despite denying that the decision was cold hearted, it was obvious that it was directed at the homeless.  Although the SLCPD were asked to warn the homeless campers before the sprinklers were turned on (in the dead of winter), when some didn't move, the new Mayor saw the sprinklers on and irrigating the homeless and ordered the sprinklers turned off.  She had City staff do it since it appeared that the Leonardo was unable to?  Way to go Mayor Mendenhall.  This is a great reason to throw out the Leonardo from the City owned building.

SLC POISED TO ALLOW DEVELOPERS NO PARKING REQUIREMENTS
  Peter Corroon is one of the good guy developers in the City.  I have known and worked with him (when he was County Mayor) for over 10 years.  But his plan to only provide 8 parking spaces for a property called Cleveland Court near 1350 South and 300 East when present zoning says that 13 spaces are required is wrong.  The request to rezone the property to FB-UN1, (which has no parking requirements and is meant to be for mixed use near rail stations - to encourage walkability), is wrong and makes this request a bad development.  The public hearing is on April 7.  The rezone should be denied.  Sometimes bad developments happen to good people.

SLC IGNORES SUGAR HOUSE PUSH FOR WIDER SIDEWALKS
  The Sugar House Business District Design Standards are in the process of being changed but several residents of the area argued against the changes since they do not include wider sidewalks that were in the Sugar House Circulation and Amenities Plan.  The new design standards do not force ground floor retail and restaurants and public engagement and therefore destroy the character of Sugar House which started with window shopping.

SLC PUSHES PROTECTED BIKE LANES
  Salt Lake City is applying for grants from the County Transportation funds to build more protected bike lanes.  But the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that they can be unsafe when there are many driveways.  Unfortunately, they also cannot be maintained properly and regularly by the City.  They also limit emergency maneuvers by bicyclists when trying to avoid crashes.  There was one good plan, I thought, and it was for the Main Street going up to Capitol Hill from the Temple grounds.  That street needs a separated bike lane and there are few driveways.  Ensign Peak is a world-famous destination and the route needs a better safe cycling system.  The 45 degree angle parking on East Capitol Boulevard is dangerous for bicyclists.  Unfortunately, the separated bike lane only goes to the Capitol (high vehicle traffic during rush hours make it dangerous for cyclists past the Capitol.
  Priority to encourage more cycling in Salt Lake City should be given to a pedestrian/cycling bridge over the 900 South railroad tracks.  And the 9 Line Trail.  And what happened to the Mayor's pet project, the McClelland Trail to Brickyard.  Nothing so far in the grant applications.  SLC should not be applying for grants for projects that it cannot maintain properly.

BETTER ANTI GAMBLING BILL MAY HIT CRIME SLC MAGNET
  Senator Mayne's bill to expand the definition of gambling machines that are illegal in Utah passed the Legislature and may help stop the loitering around Wayne's Corner (13th South and State) that is protecting some of the drug dealing and crime in the area.  When police try to break up the loitering, they say they are waiting for the machines.  Hopefully, this bill will give the SLCPD more ammunition to fight the crime magnets of the State.

ANTI CATALYTIC AND MAIL THEFT BILLS DIE
  Several good bills died in this last Legislative session.  They include the bill that required anyone turning in a catalytic converter for scrap (and getting around a hundred dollars) to provide ID and proof that they owned a car it came from and a bill that increased penalties for identity theft by stealing mail.  Both died.

DOGS STILL BANNED IN CANYONS
  Rep. Acton's bill to allow dogs in the Wasatch Canyons if they stay in the car died due to the Forest Service insisting that it is enforcing the federal ban on dogs in the Canyons.  But Park City allows dogs on their trails, in the watershed.  The Forest Service is pressuring Park City to make all dogs illegal on their trails.  In addition, Park City has said that it is okay to travel with a dog from Park City, over Guardsman Pass and into Salt Lake City via the Canyon, but the Forest Service is telling Park City to stop saying that.  
  Interestingly, Salt Lake County allows a limited number of dog permits for $100 for property owners in the Canyons.  Ironically, sheep are allowed in the Canyons and dogs are usually with sheep.  
  Despite the bigger danger from lack of appropriate restrooms for the 6 million visitors a year in the Canyons and not enough law enforcement to stop the graffiti, Salt Lake City contends that it would be almost impossible to stop dogs in the Canyons unless they banned them in cars.

WHY USE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS DURING EMERGENCIES
  If you have been watched elected officials making statements about our recent and continuing emergencies, you may have noticed a plethora of sign language interpreters.  But most hearing impaired would benefit more from digital displays of the text, like closed captioning systems on TV.  Why isn't that being used?

MORE SLC ALLEY VACATIONS
  Salt Lake City Council will take up several more alley vacations in the next few months.  It appears that the Ballpark Community is pushing one but a crime magnet motel is bordering the alleyway and may stop the effort.  One is Sugar House/East Liberty Park seems more likely since it is already encroached by individual property owners building fences.

HUNDREDS OF CARS STOLEN LAST YEAR WITH KEYS OR RUNNING
  The SLCPD is again reminding vehicle owners that they are getting hundreds of vehicles stolen every year with the keys in the car (running or parked)!  In the first two months of this year, the Police report almost 100 stolen.  Please do not leave keys in the car.

UTA STILL REFUSES TO PAY DRIVERS REASONABLE RESPECTFUL SALARY 
  As of March 18, UTA and the bus drivers' union have not reached agreement on a new salary contract.  Hope is dimming since the Covad 19 is actually cutting transit use by over 50% in some cases.  It may stay that way for a year.  So the plan to expand service seems to be put on the backburner.

SAFETY STOPS AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE BUT ALLOWS SIMILAR BUSES
  UTA stopped operation of their autonomous shuttle after the federal government expressed concern about the danger to riders in a crash, even a low speed crash.  Unlike regular buses, a crash in these shuttles (and in the popular BRT vehicles) results in riders being thrown violently inside the bus.  If the federal government expressed concern about the shuttles, why is the federal government encouraging BRT vehicles with the same problem?

EASTSIDE SLC DOWN 17 COPS IN FEBRUARY
  SLCPD said that in January, the Eastside service precinct was down 17 police officers.  11 new police recruits were graduated from the Police Academy last month.  But that still leaves a big hole in the funded police officer ranks.  Despite years of attempts, SLC is still unable to increase police by 50 new officers.  The City is still losing 2 to 3 a month to retirement.

LEGISLATURE PUSHES PATCHWORK QUILT OF TIMEZONES
  Senator Harper's bill to make Utah a daylight savings timezone permanently passed the Legislature.  If Congress allows it and 4 of 8 surrounding Western states also agree to it, there will be a patchwork quilt of timezones in the West.  The reason we have time zones is to increase transportation efficiency of goods and people.  If there are several time zones to cross going through 3 states, each with their own timezone, it is a problem that should not happen.  Hopefully, Congress will not allow a patchwork quilt of timezones.

UTA SHOULD PROVIDE FREE FARES TO DECREASE DISEASE SPREAD
  Several transit agencies are decreasing the threat of Covad 19 spreading and risk by removing the fares for transit ridership.  The risk goes down significantly if money or punch cards is not used.  UTA should consider this use of free fare to counter the significant decrease in ridership on mass transit.  Otherwise it will increase use of cars and transit ridership will never increase.

17TH SOUTH ROAD DIET ON HOLD DUE TO COST
  The 17th South road diet is on hold due to the construction bids coming in too high.

ANTIDOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL SB46 DIES IN LEGISLATURE

  Senator Iwamoto's bill to increase penalties for domestic violence and shift much of the prosecution to district courts (and decrease the repeat testimony required of victims) has died due to the CCJJ not supporting it.  But 42% of Utah homicides are due to domestic violence and the highest risk is if it is done in front of a child (which this bill would have covered).  But another big issue that resulted in the bill dying was the increased cost and need for more district court judges and the State has not agreed to pick up the cost.  Utah needs 7 new district court judges and the Legislature just added only 2 more.

LEGISLATURE FINALLY PASSES ANTI PREDATORY TOWING BILL
  Senator Harper and Rep. Maloy finally were able to pass an anti-predatory towing bill that makes signage for parking lots that allow towing standardized and visible.  Towing operators will provide the signs.  This bill has been tried for years and it has finally passed.  It helps protect businesses that impacted by adjacent businesses utilizing predatory towing tactics.



 

 

 



THE UNEXAMINED LIFE WON'T IMPROVE

 gechapman2@gmail.com.

SLC/SLCO COUNCIL E-MAILS:

mayor@slcgov.com

james.rogers@slcgov.com,
dan.dugan@slcgov.com,
amy.fowler@slcgov.com,
andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,

chris.wharton@slcgov.com

ana.valdemoros@slcgov.com

darin.mano@slcgov.com
SLC council comment 
801 535 7654 

council.comments@slcgov.com.


boardoftrustees@rideuta.com


SALT LAKE COUNTY

mayor@slco.org, 

rsnelgrove@slco.org

jbradley@slco.org

arbradshaw@slco.org

mhjensen@slco.org

anewton@slco.org

Agranato@slco.org

sldebry@slco.org

mburdick@slco.org

shireen@slco.org

USEFUL SLC PHONE #s

CIVIL ENFORCEMENT
(JUNK/LITTER/SIGNS/SNOW REMOVAL/WEEDS/ PROBLEM BLDGS/FENCES/GARAGE SALES)

                                   801 535 7225 
POLICE                      801 799 3000
ADA                           801 535 7976
CITY COUNCIL         801 535 7600
DRUG ACTIVITY       801 799 3784
GRAFFITI REMOVAL 
801 9727885
FORESTRY                 801 972 7818
MAYOR'S OFFICE    801 535 7704
NOISE                        801 580 6681
PARKS                        801 972 7800
PARKING ENFORCEMT
  535 6628
PLANNING/ZONING      
535 7700
SIDEWALK REPAIR  
        535 6934
SHOPPING CARTS   
801 403 0564
SMITH'S CARTS        801 759 7315
STREET REPAIRS      801 535 2345
UTA                            801 743 3882
WATER/SEWER        801 483 6900
WTR/SEWER EMERGCY
 483 6700
CALL2HAUL WASTE
801 535 6999
ANIMAL SERVICES
 385 468 7387
HEALTH DEPT/PEST
385 468 3835

OP  RIO GRANDE    385 266 6938

HOMELESS CONNECT   799 3533