​​​​​​​​​​​​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.




JULY 28, 2020
SLC THREATENS SINGLE-FAMILY HOME NEIGHBORHOODS
UTA FINALLY ADMITS BRT IS NOT WORKING BUT WANTS MORE
MORE COMMUNITIES WANT WALKING POLICE PATROLS
TELL SLC COUNCIL AUG. 11 COPS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO SCOOTERS
SLC COUNCIL CHAIR PUBLIC SAFETY SUGGESTIONS
SLC POLICE BIKE PATROLS NOW USING MURDER HORNET UNIFORMS


SLC THREATENS SINGLE-FAMILY HOME NEIGHBORHOODS
  As I wrote in the last two blog posts, there is a survey online (address below) that could increase density in single family zones.  Sltrib.com published my oped on the Salt Lake City survey that implies a threat to single-family home neighborhoods. 
It is at: https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/07/22/george-chapman-slc/
 The survey questions include gauging support for ADUs without hearings, duplexes (if one unit is affordable), reduced parking requirements, townhomes with just one parking space per two family townhouse units (within a ¼ mile of frequent bus routes), tiny homes, reduced lot size and setbacks, alleyway housing and adaptive reuse of schools, churches and large houses (with deed restricted affordable housing), all in single-family zoned areas.  It also asks about interest in more density on high traffic arterials that would result in more congestion, backup and air pollution.
  The survey is at: https://www.slc.gov/planing/2019/12/03/affordable-housing-overlay
  Sara Javoronok, Senior Planner at sara.javoronok@slcgov.com or 801.535.7625 has more information but the survey results will have the most impact. 

UTA FINALLY ADMITS BRT IS NOT WORKING BUT WANTS MORE
  UTA has provided their plan to "expand" service for August 2020, after promising it for two years.  I put it in the downloads section.  Most importantly, I think, is the cancellation of the 35th South Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  The 35 MAX was claimed to be proof about how good BRTs are and they will attract mass transit ridership.  They took two lanes of traffic and never had more than 3200 riders a day.  The two lanes of traffic could have provided personal vehicle use for 10,000 cars a day so the system was extremely costly and inefficient.  The UVX BRT in Utah County is touted as proof that BRTs work but that system is free and runs between two universities.  Although almost 10,000 ride it each day, only 1000 fewer vehicle parking stickers were asked for.  So it really is not that successful.  
  Unfortunately, UTA is planning for three more BRT systems with a significant cost but a boon for construction companies.  The 48th South Taylorsville BRT will create significant congestion; the South Davis BRT to UofU via 200 South will cost local SLC taxpayers $50 million and duplicate the very effective express buses; the Ogden BRT also duplicates a very effective 603 and saves 5 minutes out of a 20 minute trip at a cost of $67 million!  
  UTA likes spending money inefficiently.  I put the UTA plan for August 2020 (with comments asked for), the new fare proposals, the Via microtransit $44 subsidy per rider, and the bond report that UTA gave the State Bonding Commission all together in one file in the downloads.  Note that the State Bonding Commission is actually keeping tabs on UTA to ensure that it doesn't overspend.  The Utah State Treasurer is a great fiscal conservative.
  Also note that the seating on BRTs is not considered safe which is one of the reasons that UTA stopped the short range shuttles.  In a fast stop, passengers on the shuttles (and BRT) will go flying.
  Note also that the proposal decreases the fare to $5 for express buses, and daypass fare of $5 (reduced from $6.50).  Unfortunately, the regular fares stays at $2.50 and the FarePay cards fare for buses goes from $1.50 to $2.  
  I personally think that the express buses, which are long range coaches, make it very difficult for those in wheelchairs and those that have problems climbing stairs.  Studies show that one of the biggest deterrents to riding buses is the stairs in the old (and express) buses.
  Comments should be made by August 21 via emailto:  rideuta@rideuta.com/farechanges

MORE COMMUNITIES WANT WALKING POLICE PATROLS
  During a virtual meeting of the Pioneer Park Coalition, several participants decried the brazen criminal actions witnessed by the residents and businesses in the Downtown area.  In one case, a resident and company president saw video surveillance of a criminal climbing into a vacant apartment then down to a garage to steal a very expensive bicycle.  Others complained about witnessing an obvious bicycle thief (with the lock still attached to the wheels) take the stolen bike into a known drug house.  There is also an unconfirmed rumor that a homeless shelter resident had many bicycles confiscated that he claimed to own.  He will get them back in 30 days but bicyclists are trying to find out more information.  There is also reports that the Green Bike system has had a big loss in bicycles stolen.  Please report any large concentration of bicycles to the SLCPD.
  The Pioneer Park Coalition asked for walking police patrols and SLCPD Chief Brown indicated that the Police Bike Squad is returning to duty and they have the option to walk.  But many areas of the City need regular walking patrols.  Despite the request for walking police patrols on 1300 South to decrease criminal activity (especially around the 7/11 on West Temple), the City has decided to ignore that request and deliver two portable restrooms in the Smith's Ballfield parking lot.  UHP Colonel Redd warned that restrooms for homeless tend to attract criminal activity.  But the City ignored that.  The restrooms are there and now the City has a camping area for homeless on the parking lot, something that the community has been trying to stop.  There are several registered sex offenders camping out in the area half a block away.  Instead of putting a camping area near the homeless services near the shelters or Rio Grande, the Ballpark Neighborhood now has the honor.  
  The City is asking for feedback on how to make the Jefferson Park area safer during a Thursday July 30 7pm virtual meeting on Webex or contact Luke Allen at luke.allen@slcgov.com or at 801 972-7891.  More than lighting, the City needs to install a permanent mobile cop cam.  You can also go to https://bit.ly/jeffersonparkdiscussion.  

TELL SLC COUNCIL AUG. 11 THAT COPS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO SCOOTERS
  The last day to comment on the new scooter ordinance is August 11 at the Formal SLC Council meeting.  I still think that there should be a switch to go from 5MPH on sidewalks to 15MPH on the street.  Scooters should not be allowed on sidewalks at 15MPH.  And SLCPD should have free access to scooters.  I think that they make more sense that bicycles when patrolling.  Please give the City Council your comments at council.comments@slcgov.com.

SLC COUNCIL CHAIR PUBLIC SAFETY SUGGESTIONS
  SLC Council Chair Chris Wharton has put his top 25 list on equity policing.  They are below.  
9:23 PM · Ju 13, 2020
Councilmember Chris Wharton
@chriswhartonslc
Top 25 things the City Council is currently working on related to equity in policing in Salt Lake City:
FINANCIAL AUDIT:
1. Extremely detailed independent financial review on all PD spending
2. Zero-based budget exercise for FY 2021
3. Review and compile best practices and trends
4. (a) Audit and analysis of Internal Affairs (measurables; HR issues; officers with disciplinary history); (b) Reporting ordinance to the Council and public; (c) Monitor ‘intervention’ in response to officers patterns
5. Consideration of mental health service and support
CITY STAFF:
6. More staff support/funding for Comm on Racial Equity in Policing
7. Increase implicit bias training for staff
8. Increase public ed/engagement efforts
9. Research on other cities’ (a) organizational/community efforts; (b) implicit biases re: budgeting
CITY ATTORNEY:
10. Review of City Code for disparate impacts on BIPOC residents
11. Draft ordinance banning military equipment
12. Draft ordinance strengthening Police Civ Review Board 
13. Draft SLCPD reporting ordinance 
14. Research  qualified immunity and indemnification

HOLDING ACCOUNTS:
15. Catalytic programs for BIPOC communities 
16. Evaluation of engagement with communities of color 
17. Non-lethal and less-lethal options
18. Body cam equipment for all PD-civilian interactions
19. Comprehensive training evaluation
20. Social worker program

OTHER:
21. School resource officer reevaluation and info gathering
22. Tuition reimbursement for SLCPD officers
23. Review policing tactics and update internal manual
24. Resolution outlining expectations
25. Continue meetings w/ activists, researchers, community orgs.

NOTE: Above items are in addition to ongoing affordable housing projects, food security programs, criminal diversion programs, resources for unsheltered residents, East-West connectivity in transit, state lobbying efforts, and other citywide equity initiatives

SLC POLICE BIKE PATROLS NOW USING MURDER HORNET UNIFORMS
  Has anyone noticed that the so called unintimidating SLC Bicycle Cop uniforms are like murder hornet costumes.  I still think that they are looked at as a joke but maybe calling them murder hornet costumes might restore some respect by criminals.





JULY 21, 2020
LAST CHANCE SURVEY TO PROTECT SINGLE FAMILY HOME AREAS
GONDOLA PROPONENTS HIDE PROBLEMS
SLC CIP PUBLIC HEARING LAST CHANCE AUG. 11
SLC SCOOTER HEARING LAST CHANCE AUG. 11
PALACIOS WAS A THREAT AND POTENTIAL KILLER
UTA SUBSIDIZING VIA TRANSIT RIDERS $45
SLC HAS STATED THAT CYCLE TRACKS DON'T NEED MAINTENANCE
SLC CLOSING PARK RESTROOMS, PUTTING IN PARKING LOTS
SLC NEEDS WALKING POLICE PATROLS
SLC WASTES TIME IGNORING CHILDCARE PLANNING
911 AUDIT AND POLICE REPORT BACK ON DOWNLOADS


LAST CHANCE SURVEY TO PROTECT SINGLE FAMILY HOME AREAS
  Salt Lake City is asking for feedback on suggestions for increasing density in single family home neighborhoods.  The survey ends July 31.  This is an important survey and I urge everyone to take it.  Despite ignoring the potential housing on State Street and North Temple, the City seems to be targeting single family home neighborhoods.  Only 2000 took the first survey and 2000 should not be directing the City's plan for single family home neighborhoods.  Again, I urge everyone to comment, as they want, on the survey.  In my opinion, the proposal (I put it in the downloads section.) throws out protection of single family zoned neighborhoods.
  The survey is at: https://www.slc.gov/planning/2019/12/03/affordable-housing-overlay
  Sara Javoronok, Senior Planner at sara.javoronok@slcgov.com or 801.535.7625 has more information but the survey results will have the most impact.  

  The City's plans suggest that they are trying to increase density in single family home neighborhoods and also increase density along arterial streets (which are already at capacity).  SLC should be protecting the single family home neighborhoods which are part of our character.  Putting more density on arterials increases pollution, left hand turns and dangers to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  Instead of destroying single family home neighborhoods, the City should be focusing on the most unused housing potential in the City, State Street.  The RDA, almost 5 years ago, suggest that almost 2000 more housing units could easily fit in the corridor and that is one reason for approving the CRA redevelopment of State Street.  Unfortunately, the City did not convince the Board of Education to agree to it until last year.  SLC RDA has owned and stalled development of 7 of 15 acres in Depot for decades.  (The last RDA meeting suggested selling 4 acres of City owned Depot District property.)  That also could have thousands of units in high rises.  The City Council recently balked at high rises in the area.
 
  Despite problems with ADUs, the City seems to want to allow all single family zoned areas to have ADUs without further hearings! It would allow accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods without a conditional use process if one of the units on the property is affordable?  Reduced parking requirements are also part of the survey.

It would allow two family duplex units in single family areas if at least one of the two units is affordable!

It would allow townhomes within 1/4 mile of frequent buses or on busier streets (increasing congestion on busier streets) if at least 50% of the units is affordable.

It would allow tiny homes up to 400 sq ft and cottages up to 850 sq ft within 1/4 mile from 15 minute buses or on busier streets if at least 50% of the units are affordable.

It would require just one parking space for two family, townhouse units.

It would allow a 50% to 75% reduction in RMF (multi family) lot area per unit (30% ami or less no density requirements).

It reduces lot size (and setbacks by up to 25%) by up to 40% if the new lots average at least the same lot size as others on the block face on one side of the street.  (average lot coverage could not exceed the average of the block face or 50% whichever is greater)

It allows flags lots (behind the main lot).

It allows alleyway construction/housing

It allows adaptive reuse of schools, churches and large houses if percentage affordable is deed restricted (inclusionary zoning).  This means that a school or church could become affordable housing in the middle of single family home neighborhoods!

The proposal will not only destroy the character of single family home neighborhoods, it will result in the loss of thousands of trees in our urban forest.  Our urban tree canopy will not recover for decades.

The City says: "These questions gauge support for modifying regulations for low and medium density residential districts when affordable housing is included as part of the development."

   Again, in my opinion, SLC should be protecting the single family homes neighborhood which are part of out character.
Putting more density on arterials increases pollution, left hand turns and dangers to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  The problem with ADUs is that Airbnb is being used for short term rentals.  SLC allows short term rental "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 would 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.  Enforcement is handled by Civil Enforcement within Building Services."
  I repeated much of a previous blog entry to encourage taking the survey.

GONDOLA PROPONENTS HIDE PROBLEMS
  I put my comments on UDOT's Little Cottonwood Canyon EIS in the last blog post below (July 7).  Since then, there have been several stories about how nice it would be to have a gondola going up the Canyon (from a developer's development).  The UDOT EIS has a gondola but it is only going to the mouth of the Canyon and the developer (former Senate President Neiderhauser - who sponsored SB71 that made toll roads legal in Utah without Legislative review and hoping to use Canyon tolls to pay for his parking garage) wants it to go a little west to his development.  There was also an oped about how great it would be.  But the EIS pointed out that the gondola could not operate during avalanche prevention efforts.  And transit options are only needed during winter ski season.  It would be cheaper to stop advertising skiing in Utah (if there is too much traffic up the Canyons).  
  The Central Wasatch Commission (formed to implement the Mountain Accord - train, ban on cars and giving hundreds of acres to sski resorts) has also weighed in and complained that their parallel effort for a Mountain Transportation System has been ignored.  It contends that it is consensus based but really only includes those supporting the Mountain Accord recommendations, especially discouraging personal vehicles.
  Again, UDOT is only suggesting that more transit options are needed in winter (maybe due to our successful effort to increase ski resort traffic) and the other seasons don't need extra transit.  Despite that, hundreds of millions are being proposed to fund the two bus proposals and gondola proposal.  All we asked for was weekend bus service up the Canyons along with more bus service paid for by ski resorts.  Taxpayers don't need to pay more than $10 million for that.
  My comments to UDOT on the EIS include:
  I am against the 3 proposed solutions to the Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic issues.  The main reason is that the proposals for bus only operate the buses in the winter.  UDOT is essentially suggesting giving the Canyon ski resorts around $400 million dollars in services and projects!
  The buses are proposed to only operate in winter due to the observation that they don't see traffic like in winter.  The gondola was supposed to be for winter only but you say that it will depend on the survey.  Again, UDOT is suggesting hundreds of millions of dollars in services and projects for ski resorts (and Canyon Center or other development parking garages).  I do not believe that most Utahns will appreciate that and it really is not a solution.  I agree that the gondolas will interfere with avalanche control.
  I also agree that the priority should be snow sheds first (big enough to handle extra large buses).  The second priority should be to expand the shoulders which should be used for a separated bike lane.  The third priority should be to expand parking with restrooms next to trails.  6 million visitors need more than a handful of restrooms.  The fourth priority should be to provide weekend bus service that stops at trails.  That will prove use of transit is possible.  UDOT should not be removing 200 out of 900 parking spots to force transit use.  Transit is probably going to be unused for the next ten years and UDOT should never ever discourage use of personal vehicles (or give up and disband).  And UDOT should make it clear that ski resorts, through an assessment, should pay for the projects and services (services in winter).
  I am against tolling which discourages personal vehicle use.  It's use in winter will result in a backlash against ski resorts, which Utah is marketing.  Why market services if they create congestion is the argument.
  Again, the EIS should provide a priority list that has snow sheds, soft shoulder wide bike lanes, expanded parking and many more restrooms, test weekend bus service (with expanded bike storage and maybe even topless tourist buses) to see what it will take to get people to take transit.  Spending tens of millions on parking garages at the mouth of the Canyon should not be done without confirming people will use the buses.  Parking garages for winter bus use effectively gives developers tens of millions for a few months of use.    
  UDOT noted in a presentation to the City Council that they were looking at eliminating 200 out of 900 parking spots to force transit use, tolling during winter congestion, the gondola was supposed to be for winter only (but it interferes with avalanchE control) but it depends on the survey and buses only in winter due to UDOT doesn't see traffic like in winter. 

SLC CIP PUBLIC HEARING LAST CHANCE AUG. 11
  No one commented on the SLC CIP list proposal during the July 14th public hearing (but me)!  There is one last chance to comment, during the 7PM Formal City Council meeting on August 11.  Please comment at council.comments@slcgov.com or you can send emails to the email list of Councilmembers on the right (below downloads).
  There are several items that I believe should be changed.  There is only $565,000 budgeted for the Foothill Trails Plan and I believe that it should have much more.  The Foothill Trails Plan deserves much more.  People already come from around the world to hike and bike our foothills.  The City is proposing $625,000 for a Downtown Green Loop (despite bicycling on Downtown sidewalks being illegal) but the money could be better used for the Foothill Trails Plan.  There is also funding for Wingpointe infrastructure ($800,000) that could be better used for the Foothill Trails Plan.
  There is a good plan to replace the 1700 S. 1100 E. traffic signal with a system that uses loop detection of vehicles and bicycles.  There are several CIP proposals that are unfunded.  They include: traffic calming planning for 1025 E. Hollywood ($50,000 unfunded), 1300 S. camping resistant landscaping (unfunded - ironic since the City is proposing putting a porta potty on 1300 S. (see below blog entry), and the Kensington bicycle byway ($400,000 unfunded).  There is also $247,000 unused transportation fundding that shouldd be used for free fare on mass transit.
  Also unfunded (or even considered) is a safe camping area for homeless.  Since we are not using and have not used 7 of 15 acres in Depot District for decades (last RDA meeting considered selling/giving a developer 4 acres), Salt Lake City should use CIP funds for homeless camping next to homeless services on Rio Grande.  Despite dreams, wishes and pressure, Catholic Community Services (nor Fourth Street Clinic) is not moving.

SLC SCOOTER HEARING LAST CHANCE AUG. 11
  The last chance to stop the continuation of threats to pedestrians by electric scooters is during the August 11 City Council 7PM Formal meeting.  The proposal is to tax one or two companies and give them exclusive access to the City.  Although there is discussion of limiting speed via geofencing downtown to 5MPH, tall buildings interfere with GPS signals and essentially make geofencing worthless.  So the City is effectively expecting the SLCPD to enforce the ordinance that makes it illegal to bicycle or ride scooters on sidewalks downtown.  Citizens should expect to see the Police running down sidewalks trying to catch and ticket 15MPH scooters!
  I have a better idea.  The City should require all scooter ccompanies to only provide scooters with a switch that switches between 5MPH and 15MPH.  The 5MPH should be used for sidewalks.  Bicycles and scooters going 5MPH or less should be allowed on all sidewalks, even downtown.  Please consider commenting at council.comments@slcgov.com or you can send emails to the email list of Councilmembers on the right (below downloads).

PALACIOS WAS A THREAT AND POTENTIAL KILLER
  The torture and murder of George Floyd by a cop should be protested.  But for some insane reason, many protesters have equated the Salt Lake City Police shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal as a great example of police brutality.  Protesters became violent when the DA, Sim Gill (one of the most ethical people I know) said that the shooting was justified according to Utah law.  He also suggested that the Legislature consider changing the law so that police observe imminent danger before using deadly force and limit use of force in these situations to crimes involving extreme violence.
  Lex Scott, self founder of Black Lives Matter in Utah, said:
“Sim Gill continuously denies justice to the families of police brutality victims. Anyone who truly believes in the criminal justice system knows that people accused of crimes deserve to have their day in court. Black Lives Matter Utah will continue to work for a system that will not allow police to shoot fleeing suspects in the back. There is no honor in what the police did. Officers should work to preserve life, de-escalate situations and make sure that people survive interactions with police. We would say that we are disappointed in Sim’s decision, but we have come to expect nothing but injustice from Sim.” 
  I don't know how much more disrespectful one can be to the memory of George Floyd than to equate his death with the shooting of a criminal who had just robbed 3 at gunpoint and refused to drop his fully loaded semi automatic weapon when he was surrounded by police!  Gun toting criminals are NOT nonviolent!  Palacios was on probation for a robbery and he obviously was an imminent threat to the community and neighborhood that was expected to soon have many more people on the street.  
  If there was ever a justified police shooting, this was it.  Despite that, the family of Palacios have successfully commandeered the protests to focus on their family member's shooting and equated his shooting with the torture and murder of George Floyd!  I can't think of a better way to disrespect George Floyd.

UTA SUBSIDIZING VIA TRANSIT RIDERS $45
  During a quarterly update of the Via Southwest Salt Lake County transit system utilizing Uber style support to deliver riders to nearby transit routes, UTA's Board of Trustees was ecstatic at the report that UTA was subsidizing each rider at $40 a rider which was down from $45 at the beginning of the period.  The goal was supposed to be around $19 per rider.  That will never happen.  But no worries, Salt Lake County has a brand new tax that allows UTA to waste lots of money on subsidizing riders.  That is how UTA can plan for expanding FrontRunner to Brigham City, double track and electrify the system and continue to subsidize night riders at over a thousand dollars (in April).

SLC HAS STATED THAT CYCLE TRACKS DON'T NEED MAINTENANCE
  There is a statement in the SLC CIP proposal that "there is no additional maintnenance for cycle tracks".  That statement might reflect the City's maintenance plan for cycle tracks (no maintenance).  But cycle tracks, separated bike lanes need regular maintenance to remove road debris that collects in the tracks.  The debris decreases the ability for emergency maneuvers.  Regular maintenance of cycle tracks is expensive and difficult.  In the first year, the 300 South cycle track maintenance cost almost half a million in equipment cost.  And the small tractors/vehicles still had to be modified.  Maintenance of cycle tracks is expensive but almost never planned, as the CIP budget said.

SLC STILL CLOSING PARK RESTROOMS, PUTTING THEM IN PARKING LOTS
  Salt Lake City is still closing restrooms in parks and trying to stop outdoor activities in the parks.  But the City is also proposing to install portable restrooms on 13th South!  So the restrooms will be available to the homeless on 13th South but not in the parks!!!!  I know.  But to someone, in the City, it makes sense!  It is like telling kids to play in streets after dark!  But wait!  We are we doing that! (The City is still encouraging pedestrian and bicycle use on some streets but not limiting it to daylight hours, unlike other cities.)


SLC NEEDS WALKING POLICE PATROLS
  The Ballpark Community Council was surprised and disappointed to hear a presentation by VOA to place a portable restroom on the southwest area of the Smith's Ballfield 13th South parking lot.  The proposal was upsetting to most but several complained about the lack of sanitation facilities in the area despite the large number of homeless and drug addicts that use every alley and out of the way plantings to defecate and urinate.  In addition, the City refuses to address the concentration of homeless and criminals and drug dealers at the 7/11s and stores in the area.  The 7/11 on West Temple, a block from the Horizonte School, has become the local hangout for drug dealing and criminal homeless activity.  Even the homeless shelter on Paramount is a threat to adjacent businesses.  At the last City Council meeting, there were several complaints about being threatened with weapons by individuals near the shelter.  The City gave an implied promise that there would be security there but that hasn't been fulfilled.  The City did put in a mobile cop cam trailer but the drug users broke it.
  South Track/State Street and North Track/North Temple both have been crime magnets and Salt Lake City has not been able to effectively address the issue and decrease criminal activity.  It is time for walking police patrols.  They are not necessarily to arrest or harass but to discourage criminal activity.

SLC WASTES TIME IGNORING CHILDCARE PLANNING
  The City Council, again, just like every year, continues to complain about the lack of affordable daycare.  The CIP budget goes into great detail, just like every year.  There continues to be an undercurrent of effort to kick out the the Leonardo and use it for a daycare center but I would be concerned about the cost to make it earthquake resistent.  Even the supposedly earthquake proof City County Building had damage during the recent Magna earthquake.  
  On the other hand, the City keeps ignoring the Bennion School on 800 East and 450 South.  It is earthquake proof and it needs more students to stay open.  But it has less than 300 and needs more students.  After school child care would help but the City School Board refuses to pay more than $10 per hour and that doesn't provide enough employees for child care.  The building has enough space for regular daycare and that would attract many more students and it would keep the school open.

911 AUDIT AND POLICE REPORT BACK ON DOWNLOADS
  I put last year's 911 Audit and SLCPD Analysis/Report in the downloads again.  I thought that it would make sense since the SLC Council has been talking about a Police audit.  The IACP already essentially did one last year.  In December, the Council again discussed it.  But the new protests seem to have reconsidered the need for another audit.  The last ones essentially said that the City needed more cops and 911 dispatchers.





JULY 6, 2020
SLC THREATENS SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES AND CARS
SLC STILL DOES NOT LIMIT SCOOTERS TO 5MPH ON SIDEWALKS
UNSAFE STREETS CONTINUE TO THREATEN NIGHT USERS
SLC SUCCESSFULLY FIGHTS POLICE BRUTALITY PUBLISHED
SLC DESTROYING MILLER PARK WITH OIL
ACLU AND BLM IGNORE UTAH LEGISLATURE EFFORTS
VOCAL MINORITY WANTS TO STOP FREEWAY EFFICIENCY EFFORTS
CS GAS KILLS KIDS AND SHOULD BE BANNED BY POLICE
SLC STILL WORST AT WASTING WATER
SLC COUNCIL THOUGHTS GOOD READING
EIS LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON COULD GIVE DEVELOPER MILLIONS
SLC NEEDS COMMENTS ON COMPLETER STREETS
SLC ABOUT TO APPROVE CONGESTION ON 2100 S
SLC POLICE HAD ONE QUESTIONABLE USE OF FORCE
200 SOUTH SURVEY DOESN'T TELL YOU IT IS DONE DEAL



SLC THREATENS SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES AND CARS
  SLC has a survey to be finished by July 31 at: https://www.slc.gov/planing/2019/12/03/affordable-housing-overlay
  It appears to ask for comments on Planning's suggestions to increase housing in the City.  Unfortunately, the City's plans suggest that they are trying to increase density in single family home neighborhoods and also increase density along arterial streets (which are already at capacity).  SLC should be protecting the single family home neighborhoods which are part of our character.  Putting more density on arterials increases pollution, left hand turns and dangers to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  Instead of destroying single family home neighborhoods, the City should be focusing on the best unused housing potential in the City, State Street.  The RDA, almost 5 years ago, suggest that almost 2000 more housing units could easily fit in the corridor and that is one reason for approving the CRA redevelopment of State Street.  Unfortunately, the City did not convince the Board of Education to agree to it until last year.  SLC RDA has owned and stalled development of 7 of 15 acres in Depot for decades.  That also could have thousands of units in high rises.  The City Council recently balked at high rises in the area.
  I urge everyone to comment, as they want, on the survey.  In my opinion, the proposal (I put it in the downloads section.) throws out protection of single family zoned homes.  

Despite problems with ADUs, the City seems to want to allow all single family zoned areas to have ADUs without further hearings! It would allow accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods without a conditional use process if one of the units on the property is affordable?

It would allow two family duplex units in single family areas if at least one of the two units is affordable!

It would allow townhomes within 1/4 mile of frequent buses or on busier streets (increasing congestion on busier streets) if at least 50% of the units is affordable.

It would allow tiny homes up to 400 sq ft and cottages up to 850 sq ft within 1/4 mile from 15 minute buses or on busier streets if at least 50% of the units are affordable.

It would require just one parking space for two family, townhouse units.

It would allow a 50% to 75% reduction in RMF (multi family) lot area per unit (30% ami or less no density requirements).

It reduces lot size (and setbacks by up to 25%) by up to 40% if the new lots average at least the same lot size as others on the block face on one side of the street.  (average lot coverage could not exceed the average of the block face or 50% whichever is greater)

It allows flags lots (behind the main lot).

It allows alleyway construction/housing

It allows adaptive reuse of schools, churches and large houses if percentage affordable is deed restricted (inclusionary zoning).  This means that a school or church could become affordable housing in the middle of single family home neighborhoods!

The proposal will not only destroy the character of single family home neighborhoods, it will result in the loss of thousands of trees in our urban forest.  Our urban tree canopy will not recover for decades.

The City says: "These questions gauge support for modifying regulations for low and medium density residential districts when affordable housing is included as part of the development."

   Again, in my opinion, SLC should be protecting the single family homes neighborhood which are part of out character.
Putting more density on arterials increases pollution, left hand turns and dangers to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  The problem with ADUs is that Airbnb is being used for short term rentals.  SLC allows short term rental "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 would 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.  Enforcement is handled by Civil Enforcement within Building Services."

SLC STILL DOES NOT LIMIT SCOOTERS TO 5MPH ON SIDEWALKS
  On July 14, the SLC Council will have a public hearing on the new proposed scooter ordinance.  But it still is not forcing the scooter company (only one or two will be authorized) to add a sidewalk 5MPH and street 15MPH switch to allow scooters to safely, at 5MPH go on sidewalks.  The City Transportation Department has discussed geofencing to decrease their speed in the downtown area but the problem is the tall buildings interfere with proper operation.  If the scooters can be limited by geofencing, they can more easily be limited by a switch.  And Councilwoman Amy Fowler is right to ask that the City consider decriminalizing some useless actions.  One of the first should be removing the law against using a bicycle on downtown sidewalks.  It is not enforced. 


UNSAFE STREETS CONTINUE TO THREATEN NIGHT USERS
  SLC removed the local traffic only signs on the following streets:
500 North, 900 S, Stratford, 200 W and Kensington.  
  The streets that will remain open for pedestrians, bikers and others recreating are:
Emery Street between 400 South and Harrison,
Wasatch Drive between 1300 South and Crestview Drive,
600 East between 600 South and 900 South,
800 East between 800 South and 1700 South,
4th Avenue between E Street and N Street.
  But I am hearing from residents that there have been close calls at night on streets where kids think that drivers will defer to them.  Other cities that open streets to pedestrians remove barriers at night for safety reasons.
  There is still negative pushback when pedestrians and bicyclists do not allow vehicles to pass and the one lane areas of 600E and 800 E (north of 900 S) are of a concern.  It is ironic that those areas already have a mini park for people in the median.
  And again, SLC should engage with the community councils when planning transportation projects.  Surveys tend to leave out older, long term residents who don't feel comfortable with online surveys.
  People, especially kids, should not be encouraged to walk, play or bike in streets at night!

SLC SUCCESSFULLY FIGHTS POLICE BRUTALITY PUBLISHED
  The Salt Lake Tribune published by opinion on SLC's successful efforts to decrease police brutality at:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/202/06/26/george-chapman-salt-lake
  Despite all of the protests, the City, the Mayor and the Council has consistently and successfully pushed the SLCPD to decrease violence used in the effort to arrest law breakers.  Protesters have not seen the efforts the City has made over the years to successfully fight police brutality.  I went into more detail in previous blog entries over the last month.
  The most egregious protest was from the LGBTQ+ community that claimed that the City and Police are anti LGBTQ+!  That statement is laughable dumb and shows the ignorance of protesters.  I know that there are several councilmembers that have devoted their lives and careers in and out of government to ensure that this City is fair, welcoming and respectful for everyone.

SLC DESTROYING MILLER PARK WITH OIL
  Several years ago, Mayor Ted Wilson was worried that the City would end up destroying Miller Park Bird Refuge in Yalecrest.  His predictions are coming true.  The City continues to spray herbicide with oil like contamination on the so called nuisance trees.  One of the types of trees in the Park that they are trying to kill is the black locust which was planted in the Park to stabilize the slopes.  Their roots go down 20 feet, unlike most other trees.  In addition, they attract woodpeckers which can create homes for other birds.  So the birds have not returned to Miller Park and Ted Wilson was right.

ACLU AND BLM IGNORE UTAH LEGISLATURE EFFORTS
  ACLU and BLM continue to demand changes that were implemented long ago.  Their latest demands include:
1) Create effective civilian review boards.  (the Legislature removed their power since they seemed to be anti police from the start).
2) Improve use of force policies.  (SLC already does this regularly)
3) End qualified immunity as a defense against civil rights violations by police.  (This will probably take an act of Congress)
4) Standardize body camera use and body camera policies.  (SLC has a reasonable 10 day release so ACLU should go to other cities)
5) Require law enforcement data collection on race and ethnicity.  (This may be helpful but it is already done and acted on)
6) Stop the revolving door that keeps problematic officers in uniform. (This is due to the over 10 law enforcement organizations in Salt Lake County.  We have been trying for 10 years to get one Countywide law enforcement organization with one 911 emergency dispatch (there are three now) for the County.  That would help but it will take the Legislature to force the issue and it does not appear to be politically feasible)
7) Eliminate no-knock and quick-knock warrants.  (Done by the Legislature years ago due to the death of an officer during a drug raid)
8) Remove police from schools.  (Michael Clara, when he was on the School Board, successfully decreased the school to prison pipeline with SLCPD resource officers decreasing arresting students.

VOCAL MINORITY WANTS TO STOP FREEWAY EFFICIENCY EFFORTS
  UDOT is planning on adding another lane to eastbound I80 during the resurfacing and bridge replacement projects scheduled in Sugar House for the next few years.  Several residents expressed concern during the UDOT presentation that it would encourage more use of the freeway.  But if it is not expanded, congestion and pollution would get much worse.  It is bad now with backups of miles during evening rush hour.  A recent newspaper story emphasized the home building in the Heber area and there is no stopping people interested in moving into the area east of Parleys Canyon.  UDOT also intends to use a pavement that should create less road noise.  Of course, all of the trucks that travel west are going to use engine downshifts to brake and that will continue to be noisy.  The Parleys Trail will have the highway 12 ft closer but the difference is negligible since it still should be called the big rig noise trail (it is on the south side since the Country Club refused to allow the Trail on the north side).

CS GAS KILLS KIDS AND SHOULD BE BANNED BY POLICE
  Propublica.org had a recent article on CS gas that is just the tip of the iceberg (I did a study at UofU on it.) SLC does use tear gas (by SWAT) but it can kill children whose lungs do not have the power to take in enough oxygen when their aerioli are spasming!  SLC Police should never use CS tear gas, especially in closed spaces.  And trying to help kids by having them wear a gas mask will kill them because your lungs have to have the power of an adult, enough power to take in the oxygen through the gas mask filters.  It is an interesting read.

SLC STILL WORST AT WASTING WATER
  Despite one of the hottest months ever, SLC insists on watering during the day in several parks.  The sprinklers in Fairmont Park from 3pm to 6pm have obviously stopped all use of the playing fields.  I want to see what happens when the City runs out of water budgeted and stops watering our Parks.  It happened a few years ago until complaints by cemetery users convinced them that they should water.  The City also stopped watering 30% of Bonneville Golf Course!  

SLC COUNCIL THOUGHTS GOOD READING
  Councilman Andrew Johnston has been providing interesting comments on the SLC Council's deliberations.  I encourage you to Google SLC.gov and Andrew Johnston Meeting Thoughts or go to:
www.slc.gov/district2/tag/coucil0member-johnston-meeting-thoughts

EIS LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON COULD GIVE DEVELOPER MILLIONS
  I put the summary of the EIS for Little Cottonwood Canyon in downloads to the right.  UDOT is conducting a very professional analysis, despite significant pressure from former Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser who is still pushing the State to pay for and use a parking garage that is part of his development along with a very expensive gondola.  Wayne got the Legislature to pass SB71 which authorized a toll road for the Canyon with the plan to use the tolls to pay for the parking garage (he admitted it during the bill's discussion).  The EIS comments close July 10 and the cheapest alternative, and most fiscally responsible alternative, in my opinion, is buses (starting with weekends) and snow sheds.  A gondola would cost billions (from Wayne's property), a gondola closer to the canyon would cost $400 plus million, a wider road with a bus lane would cost around $400 million and buses would cost less than $300 million (I think that it would be much less).  A bus is $500,000 to one million (for electric).

SLC NEEDS COMMENTS ON COMPLETER STREETS
  I put the Typologies proposal (reduced) in the downloads section to the right.  It proposes, in general, billions of projects for prettifying streets with separated bike lanes, streetcars, BRTs and 10 to 30MPH speeds!  I consider it a war on cars.  The only good thing about the proposal is that it has wider sidewalks but if a building has no setback and can go up 400 feet, it results in a canyon of concrete and steel and I think that discourages walking, even with 8-12 ft sidewalks (commercial shared street).
  Bus only lanes are inefficient use of space but we do need bus pullouts like on 400 South.  Unfortunately, UTA drivers often stay well into the street and force riders to step down (sometimes UTA adds an extra foot required to step down - I am not kidding) into the street.
  The dream of grand boulevards was tried on 500 South but the Legislature balked due to requiring private landowners to give up property (and car lots) to allow something like the 28 ft sidewalks in Paris.
  The lowering of speed limits, all less than 30MPH would seem to increase congestion and many would think of it as a war on cars.
  Rail and streetcars are not efficient!!! It seems to be a big excuse to spend money.  The three proposed ones in Salt Lake City would cost local taxpayers almost a half billion dollars!  The 132' urban street should not have any rail.
  The maintenance of separated bike lanes on almost all streets is not realistic.  Bicyclists would rather have 10 ft wide bike lanes with plenty of room to make emergency maneuvers.
  Destination streets are 20MPH.  Destination thoroughares are 25MPH.  Residential streets are reduced to 15mph which is essentially a war on cars!
  If the recent protests are having any effect, why waste money (almost a billion!) on fancy projects when we need affordable housing more.
  Where is there a possibility for a shared neighborhood street.  After dark, without commercial lighting, residential streets are dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  I can't think of an urban village street.  All of these typologies should have examples to tell everyone the realistic plans so they can see what is really going to happen.
  There should be a cost for each of these proposals by block, including the "green loop".  Financial considerations should be important for governments.  
  Some older and limited people have difficulty getting to bus stops via separated bike lanes.  The City is actually making it harder to navigate City streets while older.  It encourages older people to move to the suberbs where people can cross a street without a obstacle course.
  The urban street has a raised bikelane and is shared?
  How about starting with State Street which needs form based zoning, wider sidewalks, a 10 minute regular bus with bus pullouts and bike lanes (after removing the useless center median).
  This looks like an excuse to spend over a billion dollars that would be better used in inclusionary form based, mixed use, mixed income buildings on commercial corridors like State Street.

SLC ABOUT TO APPROVE CONGESTION ON 2100 S
  There is a project proposal for 2100 South between 500 and 600 East (there is a project on the north and south side of the street) called High Boy Izzy South project that destroys 2100 S. traffic throughput.  It adds 4 driveways onto 2100 South!
  The proposed project (Case number PLNPCM2020-00222) adds driveways to 2100 South and decreases safety for pedestrians and bicyclists due to the encouragement of more traffic exiting and entering the project from 2100 South (4+ driveways).
  It effectively destroys a major east west bicycle route and does not increase sidewalk width.  Left hand turns are 3 times more likely to kill or severely injure pedestrians and bicyclists.  Senior citizens are most at risk of being killed in a left hand turn.  Median age of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by left hand turns is 67 years old.  36% of all accidents occur during a turn.  And left hand turns are two times more fatal than right hand turns.
  The buildings should have ground floor retail to encourage mixed use which was what the area's last major rezone planned (the Sugar House Streetcar Form Based Zoning).  The design effectively creates a zombie building.  That encourages unwalkable areas since the ground floor is closed to pedestrians.
  Adding entrances and exits onto major arterials like 2100 South will back up traffic and increase air pollution on a road that is maxed out at almost 18,000 ADT.  The result will be like the Chick A Fil restaurant (1200 East) that backs up eastbound traffic on 2100 S during evening rush hour.  Poor planning effectively increases pollution in that case and it is also part of this plan. 
  Due to the significant danger to pedestrians and bicyclists that this project creates, I urge Planning to find that it should not be approved.  I would not be so against this project if all of the exits and entrances were on 600 East and 500 East which have much less traffic.  This project, as planned, will kill.

SLC POLICE HAD ONE QUESTIONABLE USE OF FORCE
  Several citizens asked about the older gentleman who was pushed down by a police officer during the protest/riot.  This is the statement from the SLCPD:
"We have said from the moment that it happened that one of our officers was involved in a incident during the riot where an elderly man was pushed. The media all covered it extensively and we informed the media that the officer was taken off the street and put on a modified duty. If you look at the footage from the riot, and you will see more coming out in the next couple days, it was a dynamic situation that was occurring and our officers conducted themselves very well considering. One incident should not cloud peoples opinion of this department. There is an internal affairs process that is being conducted as is done with any use of force complaint."
  I know a lot of police officers and I believe that most in this City try very hard to not push anyone.  They try to de-escalate and the City Council pushes that.

200 SOUTH SURVEY DOESN'T TELL YOU IT IS DONE DEAL
  The City is asking for feedback on a survey about what the citizens want for the 200 South reconstruction.  But, the survey appears to justify the decisions that have already been made.  It asks if a multi-modal transit center should be built but the $400,000 project was approved last year.  The $67 million BRT project, the South Davis BRT, was approved several years ago!
  "As part of the Funding Our Future bond, Salt Lake City will reconstruct 200 South from 400 West to 900 East starting in 2022. To begin the process, the City is initiating a corridor plan in partnership with Salt Lake County and UTA. The study will evaluate transit and mobility improvements and a transit hub to serve as a focal point where different modes of travel - walking, biking, transit, and shared mobility - seamlessly converge.  The study will also evaluate a multi-modal transit center to serve as a focal point where different modes of travel – walking, biking, transit, and shared mobility – seamlessly converge."
  Instead of fancy center islands, BRTs, and wide center turn lanes, the City needs to recognize that to encourage bicycling, you need 10 ft wide bikelanes.  Bicyclists often like to ride side by side!  Any interference of wide bike lanes (with bulbouts and islands) should not be allowed.
  "How would you prioritize funding and resources for a Transit Hub in the downtown core?" was specifically asked but again, it is already approved.  The City is also asking if "Drinking fountains and/or bathrooms to enhance comfort and desirability of space" are a good idea!  I don't think that there are enough homeless in the neighborhood of 200 South near Sprouts, to make good use of the bathrooms.
 SLC should stop wasting money on a useless bus station!   Get UTA to drive to curb instead of making us step into the street.  A transit hub does not make sense since there is only one regular east west bus (220, 200, 200x).  There are a couple of express buses a day but not enough to build a $400,000 building!
  Although the survey is supposed to be closed, you could always tell the City what you think.
Comment Line: 855-SLC-200S (855-752-2007) Email: 200South@slcgov.com Website: https://www.slc.gov/mystreet/200-south-corridor-plan/




JUNE 21, 2020
SLC COUNCIL TAKES $5 MIL FROM POLICE NOT
SLCPD MAY STOP HIRING WOMEN, MINORITIES AND EVERYONE ELSE
UTA GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR LEHI TRAX FROM FEDS
DANGEROUS SAFER STREETS TO END JULY 1
UDOT PROVES VEHICLES DRIVE GDP
LIBERTY PARK AREA WANTS MORE COPS
SLC WASTES WATER AND STOPS SOCCER FIELD USE
EMIGRATION CANYON STAYS OPEN FOR BIKES UNTIL JULY 7
SLC SHOULD DECRIMINALIZE BIKES ON DOWNTOWN SIDEWALKS
CAPITOL AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMING TO STATE ST
200 S CORRIDOR PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK
500 EAST TO SHARE ROAD WITH BIKES
21ST SOUTH PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS RESET FOR BIKES
SLC PLANS FOOTHILL CHANGES
UDOT FIGHTS FOR EXTRA I80 LANE
PRESIDENT SENDS LETTER CLAIMING CREDIT FOR STIMULUS



SLC COUNCIL TAKES $5 MIL FROM POLICE NOT
  In an incredible accounting effort, the Salt Lake City Council announced that they cut over $5 million from the SLCPD budget for the next year.  They acknowledged that such an effort will not be satisfactory to the hundreds of citizens who commented over the last few weeks of public hearings and that demanded a $30 million reduction in the Salt Lake City Police budget.
  But the reality is that the City Council moved the social workers, costing over $2 million, that were originally in the Police budget to another account.  The Council also moved almost $3 million to a holding account to be used later for Police or other future requirements.  The result is that SLCPD services are not decreased.
  Despite all of the effort to defund Police and protest Police in minority areas, the Police will continue to patrol and protect the westside of Salt Lake City.  Those who have been protesting did not realize that the westside of Salt Lake City has been begging for more police on patrol in their areas.  During former Mayor Becker's Administration, there was often only one Police patrol car patrolling the area west of I15!  
  Just before he was replaced, the Council, led by Councilwoman Mendenhall (who is now Mayor) and Councilman Derek Kitchen demanded and added 50 new officers (partially paid for by the federal government).  The Administration tried to stop the addition of police by claiming that there was not enough room at the Academy!  The Council staff corrected the Asst Chief and showed that the Council could add the new cops. 
  This effort was preceded by the westside demanding more visible police and the eastside claiming that there were not enough cops.  Chief Brown later repurposed officers from desk duty to patrol and almost doubled officers on patrol to close to 200.  He also required teams of two officers in a patrol car to decrease the potential for a suspect trying to physically attack one officer.  This was a recommendation of the SLC Civilian Review Board after a shooting in the Avenues (the officer involved had his arm broken and was about to be attacked again when he killed the man).  
  The point of all of this is that, despite the protests of thousands in SLC, tens of thousands wanted more visible cops on patrol.  They believed that more visible cops would deter criminal activities.  They were right and serious crime in SLC has significantly decreased.

SLCPD MAY STOP HIRING WOMEN, MINORITIES AND EVERYONE ELSE
  Under pressure from protesters, SLC has implemented a hiring freeze that also stops recruitment of minorities and women.  This City's SLCPD desperately needs more of both.  The study of the SLCPD last year, pointed out as low key as possible, that there is only one woman above the rank of Sergeant in the Department.  That is a big warning sign. 

UTA GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR LEHI TRAX FROM FEDS
  The Trump Administration FTA has announced funding to plan 4 TRAX stations for the TRAX extension from Draper to Lehi.  But UTA and the State have not finished public outreach and a survey so this is a questionable done deal.  The property owners near the TRAX stations should be paying for the extension with an assessment district. 
  Salt Lake County has had a problem with lack of east west freeways.  The WFRC has planned, in the 2050 plan, increasing the width of several east west streets instead of planning and building several east west freeways to decrease congestion of traffic going to the southwest part of SLCO.
  Rep. Christiansen has asked the Legislature to discuss this issue over the Interim Session.

DANGEROUS SAFER STREETS TO END JULY 1
  The Safer Streets/Stay Active streets will open up for all traffic July 1.  Some neighborhoods loved the effort.  Some hated it.  Besides the complaints by businesses, concerned with negative impact on business, there were complaints about dangerous near accidents, especially at night.  Even driving at slow speed, when it is dark, several drivers have had close calls with pedestrians and bicyclists who feel that vehicles don't belong or weren't expected on the street.
  In addition, the 600 East and 800 East streets north of 900 South have center medians that effectively make the street one lane without any room for emergency maneuvers and limit speed, with non vehicle users, to less than 5mph.  That increases air pollution and frustration of drivers.  The best way to have done this was to go through the community councils to ensure that the neighborhoods were supportive of this.

UDOT PROVES VEHICLES DRIVE GDP
  I put the UDOT Legislative presentation that shows the correlation between vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and gross domestic product (GDP).  Personal vehicles make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient.

LIBERTY PARK AREA WANTS MORE COPS
  During the Liberty Wells Community Council meeting this month, one attendee (in the virtual meeting) suggested a letter that encouraged the SLC Council to decrease police funding.  But the Liberty Park market often needs police officers to decrease interference by homeless and others that create problems.  The area has pushed for more police patrols.  The former Councilwoman and now Mayor promised more police officers and has been pushing for restoring the SLCPD bicycle patrols for eastside parks.  The Community, as most of the City, wants more police patrols.

SLC WASTES WATER AND STOPS SOCCER FIELD USE
  SLC Parks and Open Space has been watering Fairmont Park (and other parks) during the heat of the day.  It isn't just a waste of water by a City Department that sometimes runs out of water during hot summers (and stops watering City gardens, medians and the cemetery), it stops anyone from using the fields.  Normally, at this time of year, soccer games are usually using the fields.

EMIGRATION CANYON STAYS OPEN FOR BIKES UNTIL JULY 7
  Emigration Canyon resurfacing project, rushed through without notice by the Emigration Canyon Township Council (approved in March, announced in May), has received such a big pushback that the County Metropolitan Service District (managing the project for the Township) has convinced the contractor to not ban bicycles (see last week's blog) until after the July Fourth holiday.  Bicycles will be able to use the road until July 7.

SLC SHOULD DECRIMINALIZE BIKES ON DOWNTOWN SIDEWALKS
  Councilwoman Amy Fowler asked that the City look at decriminalizing various illegal activities.  She has experience as a public defender and recognizes that many illegal actions in the City do not need to be illegal.  Former Police Chief Burbank ordered tickets for jaywalking to be stopped when he realized that the homeless were being unfairly targeted.  Some of the homeless were getting dozens of tickets in the Rio Grande area.
  Councilwoman Fowler has a great idea and the City should start by decriminalizing riding bicycles on downtown sidewalks.  Many tourists use the Green Bikes on the sidewalks and only a handful of tickets have been issued by police.  Usually it is just one ticket a year.  
  The use of scooters (a new scooter policy is coming) on the sidewalks is the biggest threat but the City has not pushed to limit speed on sidewalks.

CAPITOL AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMING TO STATE ST
  The SLC Housing Authority is planning to raze the Capitol Motel on 17th South and State soon and will build a complex of mixed income housing including 400 square feet microunits that will start at $400/ month.h

200 S CORRIDOR PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK
  Salt Lake City is putting out a survey to see what citizens want on 200 South which is scheduled to be reconstructed in the next two years.  But the reality is that the City and WFRC and UTA are pushing to build a $67 million (local taxpayer funding) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and are looking for an excuse to justify the money spent.  The City and UTA are also pushing and have planned for a $400,000 bus transfer station around 700 East and 200 South.  But there are no regular buses that go north and south and the 200 South and 220 buses have frequency close to 10 minutes and are a tenth of the cost of a BRT.  The BRT is being pushed by Davis County and SLC is essentially required to pay for the City's portion.  220 and 200 South sometimes come within a minute of each other due to poor scheduling. 
  The City also refuses to remove the wide center turn lane and replace it with wider bicycle lanes.  To comment on the plan, email:
200south@slcgov.com 

500 EAST TO SHARE ROAD WITH BIKES
  The City has decided to increase pollution along 500 East by putting in sharrows going south on 500 East that will require vehicles and buses to stay behind bicyclists that will have the same priority as vehicles.  This is a questionable decision.

21ST SOUTH PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS RESET FOR BIKES
  The pedestrian crossings on 21st South east of 700 East are being reconfigured to stop use of two crosswalks going north south.  The City has removed one of the north south crosswalks and pedestrians should be encouraged to cross the street and use the one crosswalk crossing light left.  The City also installed bicycle pushbuttons next to the roadway to make it easier for bicyclists going north south to use the buttons.  This is a change from the original design and construction.  

SLC PLANS FOOTHILL CHANGES
  Salt Lake City has provided a report (in May) that lays out the City's proposed plan for Foothill Drive.  I put the Foothill Drive memo in the downloads.  The goals include:
• Preserving and enhancing the communities along the corridor.
• Enhancing safety for all who use the corridor.
• Enabling and encouraging all modes of transportation, including cycling,
walking, carpooling and public transit.
• Moving more people through the corridor more efficiently and easily.
• Creating an ongoing collaborative process for stakeholders to address future
challenges.

The plans include:
• A mobility hub in Research Park at the University of Utah.
• A trail and tunnel system at Red Butte Creek crossing.
• Pedestrian friendly improvements at the 2300 East intersection and other
locations, including adding additional crosswalks.
• Reconfiguration of travel lanes, including the addition of designated
carpool/transit lanes.
• Increased frequency and extended hours of UTA bus service, with enhanced bus
stops and potential operational improvements at intersections.
• Elimination of ‘free right’ turns at some intersections.

UDOT FIGHTS FOR EXTRA I80 LANE
  UDOT has decided that, during the repaving of I80 in Sugar House in the next few years, it would be helpful to add another lane for traffic.  The extra lane would help alleviate traffic backups during construction and also decrease congestion that is building on I80 eastbound going up Parleys Canyon. 
  The neighborhoods surrounding the freeway, already experience a lot of pollution from the backup and the extra lane should help decrease pollution.  UDOT also plans on paving with low noise pavement with vehicles which should help the noise. 
  But some in the community are protesting the extra lane and expecting more pollution and noise.  UDOT claims the opposite.  The reason for their objections are that extra lanes will encourage more traffic.  That is a theory that, in my opinion, does not accept that cars make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient (see above and the VMT vrs GDP downloads).  The reason for the increase in traffic is due to the opening up of more land for homes.  And driving an hour or two to get a dream home on the only reasonably priced property available is an incentive to those with dreams.  Ask Lt. Gov. Cox about why he drives 4 hours a day to and from his home to the Capitol, every day.  
  There is an effort by some in the Sugar House Community Council to stop UDOT from adding the extra lane.  They think that many more people should be riding inconvenient transit (UTA) or bicycles. 

PRESIDENT SENDS LETTER CLAIMING CREDIT FOR STIMULUS
  Finally, as a Republican, I received a letter from President Trump that implied credit for my stimulus check that was direct deposited last month.  It was sent by the Treasury Department and seemed to be a typical election letter.  But it was paid for by the taxpayers.  In this State, such a letter by the Governor would be illegal.  I wonder if Congress will complain and ask for the cost of mailing to be paid for by the President's re-election Committee.




JUNE 11, 2020
DESPITE PROTESTS,  SLC COUNCIL DECREASES POLICE VIOLENCE
SLCPD POLICIES ARE BETTER THAN PROTESTERS THINK
ACLU INSISTS THAT THE MAYOR READ THE CONSTITUTION
UDOT AND SLC TEST AUTOMATIC PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SIGNALS
EMIGRATION CANYON TOWNSHIP STOPS ALL CYCLING IN CANYON
CITY INSISTS ON DESTROYING MORE TREES IN MILLER PARK


DESPITE PROTESTS, THE SLC COUNCIL EFFECTIVELY DECREASES POLICE VIOLENCE
  Salt Lake City continues to provide respectful and fair policing. Dozens of complaints last week complained that the City's Police treat the City's LGBTQ+ community disrespectfully. Our City is very fair and anyone who has watched the Council meetings for the last few years would understand how effectively our Mayors and City Councilmembers have reduced Police violence, intimidation and pushed de-escalation. 
  It is laughably dumb that anyone would disrespectfully claim that our Police are homophobic. If you knew of the anti-bias training and efforts by many in the Police Department and on the Council to ensure respectful Police public engagement. 
  I give credit to the Mayor and the Council for providing some humanity that is so desperately needed. Apologizing for the suffering of the family of a man recently shot by SLC Police is right and just. Being disturbed by the shooting video is appropriate due to their many efforts to decrease Police use of force. Again, the City has a policy of releasing body cam video of critical incidents within 10 days, well before any investigation is complete. Investigations can take months. This City leads on this issue with appropriate transparency and respect for family members to show that nothing is being hidden.
  Councilwoman Fowler has spent much of her life and career in and out of government fighting to ensure a free, fair and respectful City and State. I respect her concern about the shooting but I urge everyone to wait until the DA finishes his usually effective investigation before adding to the flames. I trust that this City, its Mayor and Council will push for better policing in our City.
  The torture and murder of George Floyd is separate from the recent police shooting. The two situations should not be combined and used to protest the racism and other discrimination in this Country. It should seem obvious that a man with a visible gun who refuses to drop it despite many warnings, and even when surrounded by our Police, he still seems to trip and then pick it up, is going to get shot. No one should ever think that a taser or pepper spray or baton would be a reasonable use of force to stop someone with a gun. Only a gun is reasonable force against a gun.
  Even the recent case of a Police shooting a man in the back (he had a knife), although more questionable, was found to be justified by one of the most respected judges of police action, Sim Gill. When the investigation is finished, I will trust Sim Gill to decide on the appropriateness of the shooting. But, as near as I can tell, from what I know from public information, the shooting may have been horrible and disturbing, but it was justified.
  I must add (and I repeat it during the entry on ACLU) that I do not think that the Mayor needs to read the Constitution. I keep having to remind people that, over the many years that I have watched the Council and Mayor, they have actually pushed the Bill of Rights, in some cases more than ACLU. 
  If you defund the police, who are you going to call when a spouse is beaten up, or someone is raped or robbed at gunpoint, or a store is robbed or threatened to be burned down? Who do you call when a heavily armed and armored man tries to kill hundreds of citizens from the Grand America Hotel? You call a police officer like Officer Uppsen Downes, who, after getting shot by the man, doesn't take cover but goes after him and shoots him. That policeman saved hundreds. That's what cops do. They save lives. They try to help. They reduce victimization. This City should publicize the actions of the police that save lives. 
  And for those wanting more push against the cops in this city, this council and mayor have spent most of their lives and careers in and out of government fighting for a respectful police force and for decreasing violence and for more accountability. The State legislature and County is more responsible for not providing appropriate nor respectful funding for housing, education, mental health, drug treatment or homeless. This Council and Mayor fight for better funding. 
  Again, you don't have to march to get heard by the Police, this chief or the Councilmembers.  They have many meetings around the city every month with citizens.  Please stay involved in our City and go to the meetings to understand the efforts of our elected leaders and police and the limitations.  Please stay involved.  Look up the community councils and participate.  The City would greatly benefit from all of you continuing to stay involved in pushing, with your passion, for a better city.
  I know the Mayor and Council want better Police accountability and less use of force.  I suggest several things that would help.
  A recent Las Vegas study found that "foot pursuits often ended in excessive use of force". I do not think that this applies in this case, but it would be helpful to have a policy that an officer chasing a suspect should not be the arresting officer who secures the suspect. The Police Department uses two person teams that sometimes helps this but maybe the policy should be emphasized.
  All arrests and raids should require everybody involved to have their body cams activated and recording (which is policy now) but it should be emphasized.
  Require all POST certified officers to testify in any and all investigations of shootings or use of force by law enforcement, whether they are the witness or the person delivering the force. I disagree with FOP and Rawlings recommendations that officers not testify during investigations of police shootings.
  Require a new State file that the Utah Department of Public Safety hosts that contains complaints, investigations, and results on law enforcement personnel in the State (that may expand to nationwide).
  Increase available and interested recruits by Salt Lake City developing a child-care facility (Bennion still needs more students and hosting a child care facility would increase sibling registrations at the School).
  Many of these suggestions will require the State to implement them.

SLCPD POLICIES ARE BETTER THAN PROTESTERS THINK
  The Salt Lake City Police Department tracks crime and police use of force with the Compstat data (Google SLCPD and Compstat). It also tracks arrest data by City Council District.
  Although the City Police trains to not use chokeholds or neck restraints or rubber bullets, it turned out that the policy is not written down. It is as of today. Only when use of deadly force is needed and life is at risk are the holds/restraints allowed. The only time that the Police use tear gas is if the person is barricaded and a specific squad is trained for it.  
  The SLCPD uses foam or specialized plastic bullets. The rubber bullets that were used during the riots were shot by other agencies that were called in. The Chief said that he is proposing a metro training effort to train all Valley law enforcement together to ensure that other agencies know the City's policies and will abide by them (especially with regards to not using rubber bullets). The Police do not shoot at vehicles unless a vehicle is shooting. The Police have been training for around 5 months to use beanbags but they need more training before deployment.
  After the Avenues shooting when a man with a shovel broke an officer's arm and then was shot, the Civilian Review Board recommended that two answer all calls. The Department agreed and has implemented that policy. It also allows that other officer, when they believe that the situation is inappropriately escalating, to say "909" which is the code word for step back and let your partner handle the situation.
  The Police believe that the social workers that the Mayor and Council put with the Police that deal with homeless has been effective. In one case, one homeless woman costs $250,000 in mental health hospital stays but after a year of contact with a social worker, she became self-sufficient and saved hundreds of thousands. More funding is needed, and more trained therapists and social workers need to be recruited. The Legislature has been pushing that with Rep. Eliason sponsoring many bills that increase support for mental health compromised individuals. He has also sponsored a Mobile Crisis Outreach Team that tries to handle those issues in a low key many and in the process, result in better outcomes and saving a lot of money.

ACLU INSISTS THAT THE MAYOR READ THE CONSTITUTION
  In one of the most disrespectful and clueless communications from ACLU of Utah that I have ever seen (second to their refusal to fight a stupid anti-abortion bill a few years ago), along with Black Lives Matter Utah, they put out a list of "valid demands". The list of demands that they called wants starts off with a complaint against the curfew and then goes downhill from there.  I put my comments about their statements in CAPS.
A statement from Black Lives Matter Utah and the ACLU of Utah 
 Yesterday, amidst mounting criticism by community members, Mayor Mendenhall did the right thing by lifting the curfew order for Salt Lake City. And yet, we know the curfew caused harm to Black, Brown, refugee and immigrant communities who are already overpoliced and disproportionately affected by the current pandemic. More policing directly leads to more policing of Black and Brown people. The ACLU of Utah feels privileged to have heard from these communities and use our platform to reflect these facts. 
MORE POLICING, IF DONE RIGHT DECREASES CRIME FOR EVERYONE, INCLUDING EVERYONE.
The city’s curfew was the wrong approach for several reasons. By picking and choosing the kinds of activities that were allowed, the curfew ended up targeting only free speech, assembly, and other protest activities. People who have cars to drive, people who feel comfortable talking to police, and people who can assume they won’t be targeted by law enforcement did not consider the curfew a big deal. Residents of the predominantly white or otherwise insulated neighborhoods of Salt Lake City felt free to violate the curfew order without risk of arrest and freely enjoyed the very public spaces that the curfew forbade. We know this is not how everyone experiences a city-wide curfew.
THE CURFEW WAS ENACTED AFTER RIOTING, BURNING, DEFACING AND BREAKING INTO STORES/LOOTING. A CURFEW IS AN APPROPRIATE METHOD TO DECREASE THOSE CRIMES.
From the moment the order came down, the fear among Black, Brown, refugee and immigrant communities was palpable. People in these communities felt the risk of leaving their homes, even for a purpose allowed under the order. The curfew was reinforced with police-state tactics such as emergency alerts and low-flying helicopters. This escalation of police power flew directly in the face of the kinds of reforms that Black and Brown voices and leaders are demanding.
THE EMERGENCY ALERT AND ONE HELICOPTER TO SHOW THE MAYOR THE BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE SITUATION WAS APPROPRIATE AND MINIMAL. THE COMPLAINTS ARE SIMILAR TO BLACK HELICOPTERS COMPLAINED ABOUT BY THE CONSPIRACY PROPONENTS. 
The constitutional right to assemble is clearly protected by law. Exceptions to this curfew allowed people to access private businesses and drive on public streets. Ultimately, the curfew suppressed free speech. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police sparked protests across the country focusing attention on a broken policing system that disproportionately kills people of color without consequence. Mayor Mendenhall and her administration need to listen and act upon the valid demands of Black and Brown voices across the country, instead of signaling that we need to earn back our right to raise these concerns in public spaces.
THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL AND POLICE HAVE CONSISTENTLY LISTENED TO EVERY COMPLAINT AND TRIED TO RESPECTFULLY ANSWER THEM. SALT LAKE CITY IS NOT MINNEAPOLIS.
It is not enough for us to claim commitment to progress or sign pledges to action. Acknowledge that the recent curfew directly hindered the work that needs to be done. Listen to the voices of Black and Brown people. Don’t shut down our voices. Here are real steps to progress from Black Lives Matter Utah as conveyed by civil rights leader Lex Scott:
NO VOICES WERE SHUT DOWN AND THE CURFEW DID NOT HINDER THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.
We want the Mayor to stop making statements like "I would not say that there is a problem of racism in the Salt Lake City Police Department," and realize that every person is capable of committing racially insensitive acts.
IMPLYING THAT EVERYONE IS A RACIST WOULD TEND TO DENY ANYONE AUTHORITY TO CLAIM RACISM.
We want the Mayor and her senior staff to attend a racial sensitivity training and implicit bias training immediately.
THE MAYOR'S EDUCATION AND DEGREE ARE PROBABLY MORE TRAINING ON RACIAL SENSITIVITY THAN ANYONE WRITING THIS.
We want the mayor to stop sending militarized police and the Utah National Guard to criminalize protesters and instead focus on police de-escalation.
THE SLCPD IS NOT MILITARIZED AND THE CITY ASKED FOR HELP THAT RESULTED IN THE GOVERNOR AND OTHER MAYORS SENDING IN MILITARIZED TROOPS AND POLICE. NOTE THAT THE SLCPD DOES NOT USE RUBBER BULLETS. THE POLICE IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS DO USE THEM.
We want the Mayor to completely reform the Police Civilian Review Board. We want new members on the board. All members must attend an implicit bias training, police should not be allowed to sit on this board, and activists and police brutality victims should be welcome on the board. The Police Civilian Review Board should have the power to investigate and bring charges against police. Police should not be allowed to investigate themselves and find themselves innocent for police misconduct.
THE LEGISLATURE STOPPED THE ABILITY TO BRING CHARGES AGAINST THE POLICE BY REVIEW BOARDS. THE POLICE DO NOT INVESTIGATE THEMSELVES.  
We want the Mayor to work to open more polling stations and to offer transportation to the homeless to the polls on Election Day.
DURING COVID19, UTA OFFERS WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY FREE SERVICE DEPENDING ON THE DRIVER. LOW INCOME INDIVIDUALS HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET FREE FARE COUPONS. EMPHASIS IS ON MAIL IN VOTING AND POLLING STATIONS ARE DECREASING IN ORDER TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO VOTE. THE ACLU SHOULD NOT BE QUESTIONING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MAIL IN VOTING.
We want the Mayor to immediately stop criminalizing the homeless community and to offer more shelters and services for them. We want more drug and alcohol treatment centers for people experiencing homelessness and we want them now.
THE CITY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT CENTERS AND MOST HOMELESS FUNDING. THE STATE AND COUNTY IS. THE LIMITATIONS ARE DUE TO LACK OF WELL TRAINING THERAPISTS AND THEIR PAY SINCE MOST ARE MEDICAID FUNDED AND NOT WELL REIMBURSED. MANY OF US AND EVERYONE ON THE CITY AND COUNTY COUNCILS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION TO PROVIDE THIS TREATMENT FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT ACLU SUPPORT.
We want all charges dropped against protesters.
SOME PROTESTERS COMMITTED CRIMINALLY DESTRUCTIVE ACTS AND PHYSICALLY ATTACKED POLICE. THEY DESERVE TO BE CHARGED. THE LOOTERS DESERVE TO BE CHARGED AND ACLU SHOULD NOT IMPLY THAT LOOTERS SHOULD NOT BE CHARGED.
We want the Mayor to order the Utah National Guard out of our streets.
THE MAYOR DOES NOT ORDER THE NATIONAL GUARD. THIS CLUELESS DEMAND SHOULD GO TO THE GOVERNOR WHERE IT CAN BE EFFECTIVELY AND APPROPRIATELY DISMISSED.
We want the Mayor to demand that the police not come out in riot gear, it incites the crowd.
THE RIOT GEAR WAS GENERATED BY LOOTING AND` RIOTING. THE PROTESTERS, IF PEACEFUL WOULDN'T HAVE GENERATED POLICE IN RIOT GEAR.
We want all officers who are accused of excessive force to be taken off of patrol immediately and fired.
ANY COMPLAINTS OF EXCESSIVE FORCE HAVE BEEN COMMITTED TO BE INVESTIGATED AND APPROPRIATELY HANDLED BY THE POLICE. UNFORTUNATELY, MANY AGENCIES WERE INVOLVED AND IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY THOSE WHO DID, AND THERE WERE SOME, USE EXCESSIVE FORCE.
We want a new policy that states that police cannot deploy rubber bullets on protesters for exercising their right to assemble and their right to freedom of speech.
AGAIN, OTHER AGENCIES USE RUBBER BULLETS.  SLCPD DOES NOT.
We want an end to curfews and for curfews not to be enacted to silence protesters and people of color.
CURFEWS DO NOT SILENCE PROTESTERS. THEY ARE USED TO CALM SITUATIONS THAT COULD TURN VIOLENT AND HARM INNOCENT CITIZENS.
We want the Mayor to read the Constitution of the United States of America.
THIS IS A MICKIE MOUSE LAUGHABLY DUMB DEMAND. HOW WILL THIS HELP DISCUSSION?
We want the Mayor to understand that she works for us. She was put into place by the people and she needs to begin working for the people and working for police reform.
SHE HAS BEEN WORKING ON THIS SINCE BEFORE SHE WAS MAYOR. ACLU IS MAKING A CLUELESS CLAIM.
We would like the Mayor to issue an apology to the protesters for infringing upon their constitutional rights to protest police brutality.
SHE APOLOGIZED TO THE FAMILY OF A MAN SHOT BY POLICE WHO REFUSED TO DROP HIS GUN (AFTER ROBBING SOMEONE). THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH.
Any questions about this letter can be directed to the leaders of Black Lives Matter Utah.
Signed,
The ACLU of Utah
Black Lives Matter Utah
For questions on mobilizing around these issues, contact:
Lex Scott - message4lex@gmail.com
Nikila Venugopal - nvenugopal@acluutah.org

UDOT AND SLC TEST AUTOMATIC PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SIGNALS
  UDOT minimizes air pollution with traffic controls for vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and buses.
  Recently, UDOT worked with Salt Lake City Transportation to place 36 UDOT signals between 400 W and 900 E and North Temple to 600 S to automatic pedestrian walk lights so that pedestrians (and bicyclists) don't have to push the button. Originally, Salt Lake City wanted to decrease the need to touch a button that may increase transmission of COVAD 19. UDOT already does automatic walk lights for special events like university athletic events. To be appropriate from a traffic engineering perspective, it should only be automatic when there is a high pedestrian demand or pedestrian signal is activated every cycle and it will be used.
  Concerns that UDOT is monitoring and intends to act on are:
  Safety could be negatively impacted due to vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrians becoming frustrated and running red lights. Disrespect for signals increases when there is minor or no side-street demand by traffic or pedestrians.
  Air quality could be negatively impacted due to many cars waiting for a red light (more stop and go traffic) that does not have any cross traffic, whether vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist crossing. Vehicle delay many substantially increase despite recent efforts by UDOT and other traffic engineering departments to decrease traffic delay (and decrease pollution).
  Signs would need to be placed and maintained and pedestrians trained to appropriately use them. It took years for pedestrians to appropriately use the walk timer signals installed in the last 20 years.
  There are several advantages to UDOT and SLC providing automatic pedestrian walk timing (without pressing the walk button). Vehicle speeds may slow, virus transmission concerns will decrease and it provides assistance to those that have difficulties pressing the button. 
  Some of the interesting efforts by UDOT to get better at managing all traffic on its roads (vehicles pedestrians, scooters, bicycles, trains, trucks and buses) includes:
  UDOT has installed radar that picks up both vehicles and bicyclists and has it installed on over 90% of approaches/intersections statewide, including some at non-UDOT intersections. They detect vehicles and bicyclists if they wait behind the stopbar (so bicyclists don't need to press a button to get a green light). 
  Efforts to use radar to detect pedestrians are complicated by false detection of pedestrians coming or going.
  At some locations, UDOT turns off the vehicle left turn signal when a pedestrian pushes the button to cross to provide additional safety when crossing. 
  UDOT is starting to provide crossing guards with a special key switch to provide extra crossing for schoolchildren (may be the first in the Country).  It has installed them at all crossing guard locations on State highways where they feel that there was a need.  
  UDOT is also developing new signal timing plans every other month (30 times more frequently than before) using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  UDOT collaborates with local municipalities as mentioned at the start of this article. SLC requested that UDOT place 36 of their 1,274 traffic signals on pedestrian recall between the boundaries of 400 West to 900 East and from North Temple to 600 South on April 6th. On April 17th, UDOT made the changes. But, even with signs that clearly show that the button does not need to be pressed, people usually press the button. UDOT is not seeing much of a reduction in, when needed, of pushing the button to get a walk light to cross the street. UDOT uses Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM) and tracks this (every pushbutton press). 
  In March at 34 intersections, there were 910 pedestrian pushing buttons per day. At the end of April, intersections averaged 276 pushbutton presses per intersection per day. Bicycle traffic seems to be up 50% in some areas and vehicle traffic in April was down up to 50%. UDOT is seeing an increase in pedestrian and cyclist volumes in suburban areas but significant reduction in downtown cores.
  This is an interesting effort to see what works and what doesn't in traffic engineering. UDOT should be trusted to decide when to end the experiment without pressure from those with specific agendas. UDOT has to represent all modes of travel with a goal to increase transportation efficiency and decrease congestion and air pollution.
  If you are interested in the actual COVID-19 traffic volumes, they are at: https://sites.google.com/utah.gov/udotcovid-19. You'll see dashboards for both freeways and traffic signals.
  UDOT provided all of the data for this article. I have been working with traffic engineers for over 40 years and have found them to be very professional and helpful. Due to their priorities that include considering all traffic including bicyclists, pedestrians and buses, and decreasing air pollution and congestion, I trust their decisions. If you have concerns about UDOT traffic signals, call UDOT. 
  When the Sugar House community was concerned about the traffic lights backing up traffic on 1300 East, south of I80 to 27th South, UDOT explained that their priority was to not have the traffic back up onto the freeway where high speed cars could create a more serious accident. 

EMIGRATION CANYON TOWNSHIP STOPS ALL CYCLING IN THEIR CANYON
  Despite claims that they did reach out to the bicycling community to tell them that they were going to repave the Emigration Canyon Road this summer. Just as the signs went up about the construction, the bicycling community was told. It was too late to do anything about it. It appears that Emigration Township does not know how to do respectful outreach. The County, which is paying for it, says that the Township is responsible and even a potential paving of the shoulder to allow bicyclists was denied. So much for respecting bicyclists, who use the Canyon a lot.  
  The good news is that the backlash has pushed UDOT and others to consider trying to implement a Parleys Canyon bicycling trail, maybe as soon as this summer.

CITY INSISTS ON DESTROYING MORE TREES IN MILLER PARK
  The good news is that for the first time, Salt Lake City Urban Forestry will plant more trees than they cut down. The bad news is that they will be replacing big old trees with little 1-2 inch munchkin trees. Those of us who want Salt Lake to return to being a Tree City USA, are disappointed. The Mayor, when she was on the Council pushed for planting more trees but not enough to make a difference. And with all of the new effort to tear down old homes and put up higher density residences, many more old trees are lost to developers. So even with the new and improved effort to plant as many trees as we cut down, this City is not coming close to sustaining our urban tree canopy.
  Over the last few months, the City has been cutting more trees in Miller Park and applying more questionable herbicide that keeps the birds away from the Miller Bird Refuge Park! Councilman Dan Dugan asked the City to tour the Park with residents that have been complaining two weeks ago.
  The Fire Department was there and determined that the cheatgrass and debris from cutting trees is fine (cheatgrass is a dangerous fire hazard)! City personnel thought that the noises they heard were of birds. They were the squirrels that have exponentially grown in population.
  Parks goal seems to be having less canopy in Miller Park which would tend to decrease bird population due to raptor threats. Less shade increases cheatgrass which is dangerous for pets. SLC Parks should put up a sign warning that the Park is not safe for pets/dogs.
  It appears that the City, again, did not get the required permit to cut trees in the Park. The County Flood Control has to approve it. And the City's war on black locust trees is against the State's decision to bless and encourage black locusts since they have been effective at stabilizing banks around streams and they have been in the Valley since the Pioneers arrived. The City is also using a herbicide that should not be used by water. It is Tordon RTU/Picloram which does not use a non-ionic surfactant that is approved for use by water. It is toxic for over a year. It was sprayed on over 100 cut trees in Miller Park in May of this year. It may affect nearby trees for 4 years.
  This City seems determined to cut and destroy more trees than it plants. It is succeeding so far.



JUNE 4, 2020
100s CLUELESSLY COMPLAIN TO COUNCIL ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY
SLC POLICE CHIEF DISCOURAGES TICKETS AND ARRESTS
SLC MAY HAVE ILLEGALLY CONTRACTED REZONING SINGLE FAMILY 
SLC REVISITING ADU LAW THAT DECREASES AFFORDABLE HOUSING
UTA BUS DRIVERS MAY ALLOW FREE FARE
UTA WILL HAVE TO BUS TRAX RIDERS TO NEW TERMINAL
UTA FINALLY GIVES A RAISE TO DRIVERS
HOMELESS CAMPS' CLEANUPS POSTPONED
OGDEN BRT IS A WASTE OF MONEY AND DUPLICATION OF SERVICE
UTA PT OF MOUNTAIN SURVEY WASTES MONEY
CWC CANYONS PROPOSAL WASTES MONEY
SLC BUDGETS FOR TRAFFIC CALMING
7/11 TRIES OPERA MUSIC TO DECREASE HOMELESS HANGING OUT
SLC ACE FUNDING CAN BE USED FOR OTHER GOOD WORKS
STREET CLOSING DUELING OPEDS
NEW SUGAR HOUSE CIRCULATION PROJECT/MCCLELLAND PRESENTATION


100s CLUELESSLY COMPLAIN TO COUNCIL ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY
 Tuesday night, hundreds of callers waited up to 5 hours to tell the SLC City Council to decrease police funding by at least $30 million.  Many also claimed that significant budget increases for the Police were wrong and the City Police treats the LGBTQ+ community with injustice, disrespect and violence.  Some also demanded that chokeholds and knee restraints be banned; have the SLCPD have a civilian review board; and insisted that the SLC Council step up and do what is right and decrease police violence.  
  Before I go into detail, you should know that the budget increase is less than 3%, mainly due to more training to reduce potential for Police violence.  At least three members of the City Council are part of the LGBTQ community and the others support their efforts to ensure equal rights and just for all.  The City banned chokeholds and knee restraints years ago due to the efforts of the City Council (Mayor Mendenhall was part of that effort.).  The Civilian Review Board still exists but is not meeting often and the Community Advocacy Group still meets regularly with the Police and Chief to complain, address and solve any issues with the Police.  I have watched several of the meetings and, although the attendance can fluctuate from less than 10 to 40, the Chief tries to understand and address the complaints.
    It appears that several individuals that are educators have tried to organize a protest supporting LGBTQ+ Police brutality.  Almost all of the over 200 callers who made comments had comments that were repeated verbatim as if they were reading from an email (decrease Police funding $30 million, stop LGBTQ+ police brutality, there is no oversight of the police, elected leaders and the Chief of Police ignore complaints and refuse to meet with us).  My opinion is that Shelby Heam, the University of Utah Outreach Coordinator for the UofU LBGTQ+, helped organize many of these callers.  
  I think that was misguided and misdirected.  When you are protesting against police violence and the elected leaders have done more to fight police violence than all protesters put together, you are clueless.
  I have watched/attended or listened to almost all Council meetings over the last 10 years and I have found that Councilmembers and Mayors have always pushed hard to decrease police violence and increase de-escalation.  Many of the previous callers don't know the Councilmembers or this Mayor or their backgrounds and efforts in the last few years to make our City a respectful, fair and safe City for everyone.  Each of our elected City leaders has done more to reduce police violence, in my opinion, than all the rioters put together.
  I urge the City Council to continue to focus the Police budget on training, on de-escalation, other mandatory officer trainings and more specialized body cams that ensure that all community/police interactions are recorded.  And, for those really interested in this issue, I urge you to read the May 19 work session packet and watch the Council video.  I put the SLCPD budget in the downloads section on the right.  I discussed this in the May 20 blog entry.  The Police Chief emphasized auto activating body cams for every cop and even detectives and mandatory training to focus on de-escalating training.  The new funds from Funding Our Future are being used to start buying advanced body cams that activate when weapons are pulled and they activate nearby body/cop cams, including in nearby police vehicles.
  I thank the police and Chief for their regular community meetings to hear, accept and address complaints.  You don't need to march in the streets to complain to the police and Council and Mayor.  They regularly ask to meet with anyone who wants to complain.  I am sorry to see that most callers have not seen the efforts that the Councilmembers and present Mayor have committed to over the years to decrease police violence.  I have watched them grill the Chief to ensure that he and the Police understand that this City will not accept any police violence.
  Of note, I, and most Council Members, go to a lot of community council meetings and most communities want more police on patrol and a bigger police budget.  
  The Council previously has said that a large demographic of our population is intimidated by police in uniform (at last year's budget hearing).  But it is a sad commentary on our society if the first experience that a kid or citizen has with a cop is during a crime or criminal investigation.  SLCPD in regular uniform patrolling parks will help police community engagement and understanding.  The Police should wear regular uniforms on patrol.


SLC POLICE CHIEF DISCOURAGES TICKETS AND ARRESTS
  I am repeating the quote from the last blog entry since a few keep asking the SLCPD what their rules for engaging with citizens were during the Pandemic.  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, engagement and bookings. 


SLC MAY HAVE ILLEGALLY CONTRACTED REZONING SINGLE FAMILY 
  A Utah law that makes it illegal to rezone property without a legal notification may have been violated by the SLC RDA (which is also the City Council).  The illegal term is contracted rezone.  I have asked the City Council/City Attorney to evaluate if the language included in the loan that was given to the Community Development Corporation to buy the property (assuming the rezone) is enough to make the action legal.  The SLCRDA put in the document " Pending the outcome of the rezoning request".
  SLC RDA gave almost $2 million to the Community Development Corporation for an 80 unit complex on single family zoned property.  They obviously assumed that the City Council, which is the RDA Board, will grant the rezone.  This effectively negates public hearings which will continue to take place but is it really a public hearing if it is a done deal?  The property is not worth $2 million unless it is rezoned!!
  As mentioned before in a previous blog, this project is wrong on so many levels.  But it passed the Planning Commission 4 to 3.  Commission member Amy Barry, who used to be Chair of the Sugar House Community Council agreed that traffic is too fast but allowing cars to park on Richmond would calm traffic.  The Sugar House Community Council, in general, agreed with the proposal.  I, the adjacent single family homeowners and the tenants in the low income duplexes all are against the rezone from R1-7000 to R-MU45, mixed use medium density.
  This project is a disrespectful way of providing affordable housing in Sugar House.  Despite significant efforts to use inclusionary zoning and require affordable housing in Sugar House developments (hundreds of millions of dollars in the last 10 years), only one development had a little bit of affordable housing.  Despite our present efforts to provide significant affordable housing on Highland (like Millcreek is doing), SLC is suggesting a mixed use (including restaurants, retail and offices) medium density next to single family homes (no Millcreek is NOT thinking of rezoning to higher density on the block)!  
  This project is disrespectful because it is dangerous and disrespectful to the potential low-moderate income individuals who may live there.  They deserve more than to be shoehorned into the most dangerous street in Sugar House.  The skinny sidewalk is literally inches from a high speed and, in walking to Brickyard, it is actually below the adjacent road!  There have been several serious accidents on the road (due to speed). In other words, the only pedestrian and bicycling route to Brickyard is a killer (IT IS NOT SAFE).  The proposal language is not true when it says that:  "This will allow for safe pedestrian and bicycle access to these areas."  Sidewalk widths in mixed use R-MU-45 should be 10 ft minimum and should be ABOVE THE ROAD.
  There is a plan for adding bicycle lanes which removes any on street parking.  Adding more in out on Richmond (with 80 units) will significantly and negatively decrease safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars.  There is a reason that there are no cars parking on Richmond now (there is one in front of the residences across the street because that developer took down the no parking sign).  Despite claims by the developer that parking is allowed on Richmond, there is a no parking sign 100 feet from the proposed entrance!  On street parking should not be allowed on Richmond Street.
   This proposal DOES NOT FOLLOW the Sugar House Master Plan policies (which state:)
"support infill.... while requiring appropriate design and location to minimize land use conflicts with existing single-family development."  This proposal also states: "this zoning map amendment proposal does not coincide with the current future land use map for this area of Sugar House".  The Sugar House Master Plan suggests 18 dwelling units per acre between Highland and Richmond AND this project is even higher density.  If you really want a buffer and gradual zoning density increase, this project should be less dense since it is adjacent on most sides (including Hudson and Elgin) with single family homes now.  Zoning should not have major transitions but be reasonable (don't put high density tall buildings next to single family homes).
  The proposal states that: "The R-MU-45 zoning district can act as a buffer between the surrounding lower density zoning and the more intense zoning of the Brickyard area"  This is not a gradual zoning change or buffer!  It is the exact opposite of a "buffer" from the island between Richmond and Highland.  This is a single family home area and a much better and respectful area for affordable homes would be to the east between Richmond and Highland Drive.  This will destroy the privacy of adjacent single family homeowners whose backyards will be visible from the 4 story buildings.  If you want to "Direct new growth toward areas with existing infrastructure and services that have the potential to be people-oriented.", SLC should focus on Highland Drive which has the 15 minute bus.  Crossing Richmond is also dangerous, despite crosswalks.
  Sidewalk widths in mixed use R-MU-45 should be 10 ft minimum and should be ABOVE THE ROAD.  There is no barrier between the road and adjacent lower than road sidewalk which is actually pushed out into the roadway and is inches from high speed traffic.  If you are building affordable housing that requires a car to safely go out, you are not building affordable housing.
  If you want to build affordable housing, Brickyard has plenty of underused/empty property that could provide a better affordable housing site.  The old DI/Fire Station is also supposed to be used for affordable housing.  And don't forget the efforts by many elected officials to spend hundreds of millions of local taxpayer money on the S-Line extension (either north or south or both) which could really help build affordable housing.
  The offer has been made and it is expected to close in the next few weeks.  After closing, if CCD sells it, another developer could build commercial including restaurants which don't belong next to single family homes (due to the traffic and smell).

SLC REVISITING ADU LAW THAT DECREASES AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  The Salt Lake City Council is expected to re-evaluate the ADU ordinance that appears to be increasing housing costs in the next few months.  Community councils are encouraged to communicate their recommendations to the Council on how to make the ADU ordinance better.  There have been several recent cases where the ADU project is on property with Airbnb complaints.  Although the State Legislature allows 30 day Airbnb rentals, many are less than 30 days and that significantly increases housing costs for everyone (property values increase with rentals).  Parking is also exacerbated with Airbnb properties.  I think that Airbnb has a negative impact on single family homes.  Although vacant homes, waiting to be sold, make sense to use Airbnb, Airbnb should have more limitations.  No ADU should be approved if a property has used or will use Airbnb.  It should be part of the Condition Use Permit.  
  In addition, several recent ADU applications have been for large areas.  Detached ADUs are limited to 650 Sq Ft with the expectation that they would be less expensive to rent.  But attached/basement ADUs can be up to 50% of the house and that can mean over a thousand square feet!  That is not affordable housing.  Again, the ADU ordinance appears to hurt affordable housing.

UTA BUS DRIVERS MAY ALLOW FREE FARE
  I am probably one of the State's biggest mass transit proponents.  But due to the Pandemic, along with covering up bus windows with ads, keeping buses 1-4 feet from the curb, useless bus stop closed signs (the stops were being serviced by buses) and, in general, making use of UTA's service becoming more and more frustrating, I have given up on UTA.
  But, to see what I was missing, I tried the bus recently.  I had to convince the driver to take my money and hand me a transfer (which she had not even put out).  So I asked, again, why not make fares free to keep driver feeling safe?  The answer is below.  Essentially, "operators do have discretion about collecting cash fares in order to ensure the safety of the rider and themselves."  UTA should not keep that secret.  This may last until they install plexiglass shields next to the driver (Which makes it difficult to help ADA!).
  "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UTA’s priority has been the safety of our riders and employees, and we have implemented numerous cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing protocols on the system. To be clear, we have not gone to a free fare system.  We have implemented rear door boarding on the buses, moved the yellow line back to ensure social distancing, and are visually inspecting fares and not handling fare media.  We are also in the process of installing plexiglass shields on buses to provide additional protection. Until that happens and we resume front door boarding, operators do have discretion about collecting cash fares in order to ensure the safety of the rider and themselves."
  "Regarding farebox revenue, UTA’s current daily cash collection is approximately $6,600.  When compared to February 2020 data, cash collection is down about 63%. Through April total cash was $1,661,868, but total passenger revenue was $14,257,371. The long-term effects on our revenues from fare collection and sales taxes are still uncertain at this time."  (Fares are usually about 11% of operating costs and sales taxes provide over 70% of revenue.)
  I still think that fares for buses should be free now since the tax increase from last year covers the daily cash collection.

UTA WILL HAVE TO BUS TRAX RIDERS TO NEW TERMINAL
  UTA is starting to prepare for the opening of the new Airport Terminal.  When that happens, UTA expects to have to bus riders (less than 1000 a day to the Airport eventually) until the new ground TRAX station is built next to the new terminal.  I have a better idea.  Take the old airport to downtown bus (with no stops - a 10 minute ride from downtown) which was stopped after TRAX was extended to the Airport, and see if riders might like that more than the milk run that the Green Line is becoming (with the new 650 S. TRAX station.

UTA FINALLY GIVES A RAISE TO DRIVERS
  UTA drivers were close to making the same hourly wages as some McDonalds workers (in Park City).  This increase to $23.85 and hour starting salary gives them a little more to afford to live in Salt Lake City.  There are 1600 operators, maintenance and parts employees that are represented by ATU Local 382.  Although there are minimal wage increases, the health insurance cost/contribution will all of that and more away.  Operators will start at $23.85 an hour now but will start at $25.44 by June of 2022. Mechanics will start at $30.68 an hour. Coach cleaners will start at $20.31.

HOMELESS CAMPS' CLEANUPS POSTPONED
  Salt Lake City has decided to postpone the next homeless camps health department cleanup.  Especially now, it would look like Police brutality.
OGDEN BRT IS A WASTE OF MONEY AND DUPLICATION OF SERVICE
  Although UTA and President Trump touted the recent federal funding award of $64 million for the Ogden BRT, it is a waste of money that duplicates an efficient 603 bus that takes 15 minutes to go from the downtown station to Weber State College.  It has started zig zagging over the last few years which adds 5 more minutes to the trip.  The BRT will take 15 minutes but if the 603 stopped zig zagging like a milk run, it could do better as the BRT and save $64 million!  President Trump tweeted that "very important bus service from WSU to McKay Dee".  It is not very important.  It is a waste of money.

UTA PT OF MOUNTAIN SURVEY WASTES MONEY
  This project is still too costly and ill timed.  The subsidy per rider may end up being $100!  
  There is no destination at present that is required for a successful and financially responsible rail or BRT.
  There is no density at present that is required for a successful and financially responsible rail or BRT.
   There is not enough ridership on 871 nor FrontRunner between Draper and Lehi that would justify spending billions on the push (that has been happening for over 10 years) to build rail from Draper to Lehi.
  The idea that rail or BRT or streetcar will help development is wrong and only Brazil and South Korea have been able to operate a successful BRT.
  A well maintained and clean window bus can provide as much service at a much more reasonable cost that these billion dollar projects.
  The LA Study of the tens of billions spent on transit projects (from a year ago) that led to almost no extra ridership in 20 years should be a warning.
  UTA is subsidizing riders via VIA at $20 per rider which predicts, in my mind, UTA accepting as reasonable, a $100 per rider subsidy.
  Before spending billions, mass transit use has to be proven with buses.  If there is enough ridership to provide an enhanced bus or BRT or rail, that should be the only justification for spending billions.
  The ridership on transit will be set back a decade due to the COVAD situation and roads should be the priority.
  And finally, according to the SLC Planning Department, the super gentrification and development in Sugar House was not due to the streetcar.  It was due to the largest concentration of open space and parks in the City (and County).  Sugar House Park, 3 golf courses, a linear park and Fairmont Park all encourage development more than the S-Line (which continues to have just over a thousand riders a day - 1300 - despite promises that it would have 5000 a day).
  Focus on buses first and if they show ridership, then consider more expensive options.  Otherwise UTA will end up with subsidizing riders with $10 per trip
  UTA taking money out of bus service for lower income or those wanting to help the environment is wrong, especially if the money is used for a questionable project that benefits rich developers
 
CWC CANYONS PROPOSAL WASTES MONEY
  There is obviously not much public engagement on this Plan's Survey since only 3,174 responded to the Survey and there were only 6,000 website hits.  (always read the stats to see if the survey is really making sense)
  There is no plan to "Respect approved private property uses and promote their stewardship of the environment."
  "Create canyon transit routes to key destinations with ADA-compliant transit stops that include restroom facilities, and bus pullouts for user comfort and aesthetics." I support but emphasis should be on buses until enough public use of tranist (especially now with the COVAD scare) is consistent.  Until then, more parking and snow sheds should be the priority.  And what happened to our weekend bus proposals to start transit use during the off ski season?
  Buses should have bigger windows and no advertising on them to encourage tourist use.  Even windows to the roof.  
  Crosswalks should not increase idling and pollution.  If 100 people are walking across the street in a crosswalk, traffic backup will create more pollution.
  I like the Parleys "Create an o?-highway multi-use bicycle pathway (uphill and downhill) connecting the Mountain Dell golf course and Summit County."
  Parking structure development should not utilize only taxpayer money but be an incentive of less than 30% match since developers should not benefit from taxpayer money. (SB108 defeated this year.)
  No tolling in the Canyons.  That would discourage lower income families from their Utah Constitutional right
    SLCO Transportation Funds should be used NOW for weekend bus service at 15 minute intervals to see the acceptance and ridership.  

SLC BUDGETS FOR TRAFFIC CALMING
  The new SLC Community and Neighborhood budget (CAN) has funding for traffic calming.  Time for community councils to forward suggestions

7/11 TRIES OPERA MUSIC TO DECREASE HOMELESS HANGING OUT
  7/11 is trying opera music to discourage the homeless from hanging out at the 7/11 at 1300 South and Main.  It may be the final straw for the homeless, or those who embed themselves in the homeless population, who also seem to be dealing drugs.

SLC ACE FUNDING CAN BE USED FOR OTHER GOOD WORKS
  Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, Salt Lake City has become more flexible on use of the ACE funding that was distributed to community councils over the last few months.  The City now says that they can be used for "good works".  Contact your community council or Mayor's liaison for more information.


STREET CLOSING DUELING OPEDS
  Taylor Anderson, a former Tribune reporter, had an oped in the Trib countering my oped that suggested more community engagement before closing streets to through traffic.  He said that many more supported the concept in the survey than I said.  So I went back over the survey summary (in the downloads at right), and found, again that 6215 responded to the survey that was open for 7 days (the bicycle community organized responding to it).  There were 3,794 comments.  Although 66% of comments were neutral (important) or supportive of the proposal, 1881 comments had concerns (on page 2 of 5).  Taylor and I disagreed on the definitions of this number.  The 1881 had concerns but generally supported or generally opposed.
  I still think that community councils should have had more input in this issue before implementation of "closing a street" to through traffic.  My opinion piece is at: 
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/05/25/george-chapman-decision/
  Again, at the recent Sugar House Community Council meeting, there still was a lot of animosity directed at the City for the Stratford Avenue closing.  Councilwoman Amy Fowler indicated that the Transportation Department would look at the streets and consider them for permanent closing soon.  Community councils need to get involved now.
  My comments on the survey was:  All streets suggested have major issues and residents, especially older and/or ADA need access by car.  May I suggest some shared streets by making road one way (if there is enough parking on vehicle side) and use other side for pedestrians scooters and bicycles
Not sure how safe it is for older and maybe easily distracted drivers having to navigate atound kids on bikes
I urge the City to not convert 900 South to a local traffic only street due to the business development efforts and 45 degree parking (unsafe for bicyclists).  Although one lane in each direction could be closed to car traffic (keeping parking), 800 South would be a better shared use street where one lane in each direction can be efficiently and respectfully closed to vehicle traffic while keeping parking.  800 South is less used as a through street but its large width is wasted.  Portable planters were proposed years ago to separate traffic from pedestrians and bicyclists on 800 East, and although the Parleys Trail planters are looking pretty bad, maybe that might be a better plan to encourage bicycling and better use of super wide streets.  It shouldn't be just during the COVID virus emergency.

NEW SUGAR HOUSE CIRCULATION PROJECT/MCCLELLAND PRESENTATION
I put the new Sugar House Circulation Project in process now along with the McClelland presentations (attached together) in the downloads to the right.  I discussed these in previous blog entries.




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

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


 gechapman2@gmail.com.

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