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  #8701  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2020, 5:40 AM
JTO JTO is offline
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Originally Posted by tchild2 View Post
Actually, I lived in Orem and now Lindon while most of Lehi was just farmland. My payroll company chose Lehi because it offered a central location between Utah and SL counties for our clients. Downtown, no matter how ideal a notion to pack all business into a central downtown core, would not have been a good fit for our workers or clients.
I'm from Orem. Grew up there when it still had some undeveloped orchards to play in. Crazy that Orem now has the highest population density for cities in Utah (if I heard right). You have 100K people in ~18 square miles. Nice neighborhoods to stroll, but walkability in Orem is nil. Lived in PG and other areas of UT County and also South SL County - even with our horrid air quality on the Wasatch Front, walkability isn't even a thought in planning and development, sadly.

Live in Marmalade now and we can walk/bike to the Lee's for groceries. Walk to the library. Walk to the barber. Walk to the dry cleaners. Walk to multiple restaurants too (including the best wings in Utah) - all just a couple blocks from home! We're loving the way this old neighborhood is growing and don't miss UT County at all.
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  #8702  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2020, 11:27 PM
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I'm from Orem. Grew up there when it still had some undeveloped orchards to play in. Crazy that Orem now has the highest population density for cities in Utah (if I heard right). You have 100K people in ~18 square miles. Nice neighborhoods to stroll, but walkability in Orem is nil. Lived in PG and other areas of UT County and also South SL County - even with our horrid air quality on the Wasatch Front, walkability isn't even a thought in planning and development, sadly.

Live in Marmalade now and we can walk/bike to the Lee's for groceries. Walk to the library. Walk to the barber. Walk to the dry cleaners. Walk to multiple restaurants too (including the best wings in Utah) - all just a couple blocks from home! We're loving the way this old neighborhood is growing and don't miss UT County at all.
Population density figures are meaningless and arbitrary since they don't account for large swaths of uninhibited areas.

Case in point: I actually believe Kearns is considered the number one city in Utah in terms of population density (Orem is fifth), while Salt Lake City is ... isn't even in the top-25.

No one would seriously think Kearns or Orem or South Salt Lake or West Joran were denser than Salt Lake City. Yet Salt Lake City's population density is 1,934 residents per square mile.

But we also know a significant part of the city's 111 square miles is vacant land, marsh and mountains.
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  #8703  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2020, 11:28 PM
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You figured? I have a family and grew up in Utah County, where the hell else ought I to live?
Sorry. That might have been a little too finger pointing, but I guessed based on your attitude in your original response, which came across as very conciliatory of the current sprawl mindset. It was like, "it's just how it is.. excuse, excuse, excuse". I mean it's quite typical and quite apathetical of many residents along the Wasatch Front. My sister lives in Tooele and commutes to work in Murray. I would tell her that is really stupid and irresponsible, but then that wouldn't go too well with her, I'm sure. My brother lives about 45 minutes or more from downtown Saint Louis on the furthest outskirts of the metro area. I love both of them, but them and their spouses are the same mindset that you you somewhat seem to be in along with many others along the Wasatch Front. It's irresponsible land-use development that's allowed in the U.S. because people complain that it infringes on their personal freedoms if the government has more say or control over land-use and urban planning. Thus the U.S. is super irresponsible in their development patterns, consumerism, energy consumption, and pollution habits.

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Originally Posted by tchild2 View Post
Actually, I lived in Orem and now Lindon while most of Lehi was just farmland. My payroll company chose Lehi because it offered a central location between Utah and SL counties for our clients. Downtown, no matter how ideal a notion to pack all business into a central downtown core, would not have been a good fit for our workers or clients.
This is part of the problem in itself. Many employers have followed the Thanksgiving Point development lead and developed there instead of in existing metro centers or nodes, like downtown Provo, downtown SLC, or even downtown West Valley City, or downtown Sandy. This has exacerbated sprawl bigtime. I think Lehi still offers a valuable node, but it has become more important than the existing downtowns, and the planning is horrendous. The south end of the Salt Lake Valley and northern Utah Valley has been all stand-alone office or apartment developments, with a sea of parking around them. It has pulled away vital energy and vitality from the existing urban cores and it is completely car-centric, environmentally irresponsible, and so ignorant of good urban planning. Northern Utah people come across not as being smart and future thinkers, but backwards conservatives, when it comes to urban planning and responsible and smart development. Also, why do you think the Utah tech scene is having a problem attracting much needed new talent? Many of those relocating from out-of-state would prefer to be in Salt Lake City where there is more of an urban vibe, connectivity, eateries, & bars.


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Originally Posted by tchild2 View Post
Well, 95% of US cities resemble the growth and sprawl of SLC than they do Seattle and Portland. Then again, we don't have anarchists taking over our cities either. Btw, my father lived in Seattle for twenty years. City is fantastic if you can afford to live in the "walkable" older areas. Otherwise, the traffic in Seattle, cars, and congestion is much worse than SLC.
That's like saying "Well, if the rest of the US is developing poorly and sprawlish like, then it's okay, right?" We can do much better. SLC and northern Utah is doing much better than other metros their size with transportation, but unfortunately most of the mid-sized to smaller metros are doing poorly in this regard, except for a few like Portland. Btw, the congestion is bad if you live way out there and drive to work in Seattle. That's why they have discouraged freeway expansions, but have expanded their commuter rail and light rail. I take the bus, and it is very efficient. I live about 25 minutes out from downtown, but I take the bus and I don't have to deal with parking, gas, traffic, etc. I get it about the affordability issue, but that's also because of the high-salary tech companies in the Seattle area and also by foreign real-estate investors.

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Can't go back Orlando, we can only go forward. The best we can do now is try make the sprawltopia of Utah denser and more urban...which is what I think planners are trying to do. Light rail has gone in, higher density housing is going in around the light rail nodes. It will take time. I have never, not even remotely liked or agreed with the car-centric and sprawl planning, but here it is and what can we do?
I appreciate what you are saying, but there needs to be big attitude change along the Wasatch Front, in general. There needs to be more reinforcement of prioritizing our existing urban cores over sprawl development, which is what the vast majority of office development is being developed like. Their needs to be better education to the citizens and the government officials, and especially the real-estate & development people along the Wasatch Front. We saw that article about 6 months ago or so, where a new developer or company would come in to town, because they hear Salt Lake's market is hot. They want to go downtown, but they see the blight, and parking lots, and the local real-estate developers are apathetic, and they tell them to go down south and get a lease in a stand-alone office building. Awful. There needs to be a greater vision and understanding sold to those real-estate agents and developers. There's a lack of confidence or vision of what a vibrant urban core could be in SLC. The demand is there for the tech companies to locate in downtown or other existing urban nodes and be more connected pedestrian wise and otherwise. Many tech workers live in SLC but commute to Lehi. New apartments popping up in SLC are leased out before construction has even started.

Utah and their officials need to create an urban growth boundary or constraints to thwart irreponsible land development. The worst example of what is happening is Eagle Mountain. That is the biggest example of "leap-frog development". Perhaps a gas tax would work to pay for all the infrastructure needed but then the ignorant people would complain. Someone one here said that people are educated about sprawl, etc., but really? Then why are they doing it and why are the government leaders and developers, etc. going full throttle on it? If they truly were educated about it, they would change their habits.

Last edited by Orlando; Nov 28, 2020 at 12:22 AM.
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  #8704  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2020, 12:07 AM
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Orlando, no offense, but your comment reminds me of this:


Urban planning must be tough. It isn't like engineering or science or mathematics where there is an obvious right answer you can reach through calculation. Instead, you've got people acting in their own self interests, and trying to force them into the logical ideal is like herding cats...... But really, is it right to force a lifestyle on a person? I live in Liberty Wells, and I have a lawn. I used to despise lawns for being wasted space and wastes of water. But I like playing with my little kiddos on the grass, so I spend the time and money (and water) to care for it.
Is it wrong to have a lawn... or two... in a desert? Economics certainly doesn't think so. I pay a pittance for the water it takes to water it. So the real question is - should water be so cheap? Is it cheap because of a subsidy, or are we paying for the true cost? If the cost of water is subsidized, let's reexamine the subsidy and why it exists. If no subsidy exists, then it isn't a problem; people ought to be free to spend money how they see fit.

I've changed my tune in recent years. I don't think Sprawlysprawl is inherently a bad thing. People need homes, and the market is only responding to what people are willing to pay. If commuting and traffic jams are an issue, we can add bus lines and transit services, which are awesome. Nothing is quite so urban as people of all kinds sharing the same space together on a bus or train. As time goes on and as space becomes scares, housing developments become more dense. It is rare to have farm fields become apartment buildings (despite what we see happening in Utah County), but it is relatively common for old homes or commercial buildings knocked down and replaced by bigger buildings. Sustainable cities grow up, they don't pop up.

So tchild2, I think your views are valuable, and I hope you stay on the Forum. And Orlando, I love your renders of towers downtown. I hope you keep posting them - they make the forum awesome.
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  #8705  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2020, 1:02 AM
Utah_Dave Utah_Dave is offline
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You feeling ok Hatman?
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  #8706  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2020, 9:10 AM
bob rulz bob rulz is offline
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I'm with you Orlando. And I understand your point Hatman, about how we can't force people how to live and that it's not bad for people to have their own house and their own lawn. But we swing far too much in the direction of bad urban development. If you build an inefficient, environmentally destructive, sprawling suburb and put bus lines through it...it's still an inefficient, environmentally destructive, sprawling suburb.

Somehow Europe manages to do just fine with far more compact development. They still have suburbs and yes, they even have sprawl, but even their sprawl is far more compact and accessible than ours is.
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  #8707  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2020, 7:16 PM
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You feeling ok Hatman?
I guess my point was incomplete.

I've spent a lot of time on my bike rides this year watching old houses get demolished to make way for apartments - and it seems pretty obvious to me that in another ~80 years all the new wood-and-stucco houses that look so new and shiny now will also be in pretty shabby shape, and will be getting cleared away for something new. The huge garages in front will look very silly in an age where cars are autonomous and no longer social status symbols. We really don't build much in this country that is intended to last. From the perspective of one life time it may look pretty permanent, but as time goes on, the trend toward density will be unstoppable.
Build like the Romans - a first draft in wood, a second draft in brick a century later, and finally the real thing in marble, concrete, or stone.

As to the point about Europe, they have developed differently for many socio-cultural reasons, but also because they are doing exactly what I said about economic incentives: driving in Europe costs a lot of money - so much that trains and buses are *more* economically viable.
Example:


meanwhile, here in Utah, nearly a third of our road subsidies are pulled from income tax revenue - meaning that drivers and non-drivers alike pay 1/3 the cost of a driver's commute (compared to a transit rider, who's commute is subsidized about 90%+ by non-transit riders, but I digress).

We could do something similar here. My dream is that instead of the government providing different levels of funding to different modes of transportation, that they would create a 'funding by receipt' style subsidy. If a road carried X amount or people between points A and B (A and B have value based on a land-value tax, which is a different but highly relevant topic to this thread), in Y amount of time, then that road is funded to the degree of Z. If a train carries the same number of passengers between the same points in the same amount of time, it gets exactly the same amount of subsidy.
Basically, it makes the funding mode-agnostic, which is something that's never existed before. Something little like that would drastically change our land-use patterns, and it would do so without heavy-handed politics.

Another point - when people freak out about the suburbs growing on to the ends of the earth, it is because they are projecting current trends at current rates into the future. I do not believe current trends are sustainable, and so I do not think they will continue for long. I also think things like autonomous robo-buses and robo-taxis will drastically change the equation. Imagine no more parking downtown, and all existing lots filled with towers. Imagine no more traffic jams to get downtown. Imagine buses that come on demand, with wait times of less than 5 minutes. Imagine train service so frequent that waiting for your train is like waiting for an elevator to arrive. When this level of service is achievable - either sometime late in this decade or early in the next, depending on the mode - it will completely change the desirability of the city and the suburbs. I can't imagine that many office parks on the side of the freeway will survive as-is. I hope they can be converted to housing.

TL;DR, my point is that I don't think there is any point in taking sides in this urban vs suburban debate, because 1) the current trends are about to change significantly, and 2) people will still chose urban and suburban based on their own quality-of-life metrics, and the only moral way to help influence that decision is to put a fair price on the thing being consumed. The future of planning and legislation is not banning things outright - it is placing an appropriate tax on the unsustainable thing, be it land, transportation, or fuel use vs clean air.

Anyway, I've rambled too long, and I don't really belong on this thread anyway. so, uh.... Look at this picture I took from City Creek a few weeks ago!
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  #8708  
Old Posted Yesterday, 4:04 AM
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Stenar Stenar is offline
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Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
...
meanwhile, here in Utah, nearly a third of our road subsidies are pulled from income tax revenue - meaning that drivers and non-drivers alike pay 1/3 the cost of a driver's commute (compared to a transit rider, who's commute is subsidized about 90%+ by non-transit riders, but I digress).
This doesn't account for oil/gasoline subsidies. If U.S. gasoline wasn't subsidized, it would also be $6/hour. Make people pay the full cost of their own gas and those long commutes won't look so attractive.
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  #8709  
Old Posted Yesterday, 4:07 AM
bob rulz bob rulz is offline
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I agree with your idea of how to tax things hatman. But I disagree with
"I don't think the suburban sprawl patterns will be sustainable for much longer so it will eventually stop" statement, because it's already unsustainable and it's not stopping. Something not being sustainable, unfortunately, is not really a reason for that thing to stop in the way our society is structured. I also think that the autonomous vehicle future is a lot further away than people think, and your ideas of buses that come every 5 minutes and trains so frequent you barely ever have to wait sounds nice, but in reality, I have a hard time imagining that will actually happen.

Also, I call your picture and raise my own that I took today. Looks like the pedestrian tunnel under State Street is actually getting pretty close:


Can't really see it too well in the picture, but the escalators down into the tunnel look to be essentially complete.
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  #8710  
Old Posted Yesterday, 8:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Stenar View Post
This doesn't account for oil/gasoline subsidies. If U.S. gasoline wasn't subsidized, it would also be $6/hour. Make people pay the full cost of their own gas and those long commutes won't look so attractive.
Exactly.

Or they'll just buy electric cars and still commute across the state. It solves half the problem, at least.
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  #8711  
Old Posted Yesterday, 8:19 AM
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I call your picture and raise my own
Neat. I remember reading an old schedule saying they wanted to have that tunnel open for the holiday crowds of 2020. I guess they'll get some extra time to wrap that up.

I'll keep the chain going. Here's a sunset over the library a couple days back:
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  #8712  
Old Posted Yesterday, 4:02 PM
locolife locolife is offline
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Originally Posted by Orlando View Post
Utah and their officials need to create an urban growth boundary or constraints to thwart irreponsible land development.
I don't see it happening in our lifetimes. You're comparing one of the most conservative regions in the country against one of the most liberal places and suggesting that an ultra liberal policy from Seattle or Portland would be supported in the Salt Lake area.

Further, establishing such a policy is basically asking the dominant LDS base to vote against a foundational piece of their lifestyle. The typical suburban sprawl neighborhood is quintessential LDS life.
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  #8713  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:46 PM
mattreedah mattreedah is offline
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I don't see it happening in our lifetimes. You're comparing one of the most conservative regions in the country against one of the most liberal places and suggesting that an ultra liberal policy from Seattle or Portland would be supported in the Salt Lake area.

Further, establishing such a policy is basically asking the dominant LDS base to vote against a foundational piece of their lifestyle. The typical suburban sprawl neighborhood is quintessential LDS life.
I'm beginning to wonder if some of you have ever actually been to Portland, Seattle or any of the other places you hold up as beacons of progressive living. I'm going to level with you all. If you get away from the 1 mile downtown radius there are suburbs and cars and highways and churches and even some Republicans.

From SLC Punk, "[SLC] It's like any other place...people, houses, roads, cars. What else do you think is out there?

- Freedom.

- Yeah.

Freedom. It's not out there."
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  #8714  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:30 PM
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I’ve said my pieces on places like Portland, but yeah y’all... this is a nation wide trend going on. Salt Lake is usually just as bad as other cities.
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  #8715  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bob rulz View Post


Can't really see it too well in the picture, but the escalators down into the tunnel look to be essentially complete.
Does anybody know if this building is going to be used for anything other than the entrance to the underground pedestrian tunnel? The old one had a shitty museum
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  #8716  
Old Posted Yesterday, 8:39 PM
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The Social Hall "Museum" always made me laugh. They know that's just what bars are right?
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  #8717  
Old Posted Yesterday, 10:43 PM
tchild2 tchild2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
. Sustainable cities grow up, they don't pop up.

So tchild2, I think your views are valuable, and I hope you stay on the Forum. And Orlando, I love your renders of towers downtown. I hope you keep posting them - they make the forum awesome.
Thanks, I have been here for years, mostly just reading up on highrise developments in SLC and elswhere.

I think everything I meant to say was this; "Sustainable cities grow up, they don't pop up." Utah is growing up and changing.

Besides, with EV's on the horizon, what will it matter? We will be in self driving cars and everything carbon neutral. We can all spread out with our own 5 acre lots.
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  #8718  
Old Posted Today, 2:07 AM
bob rulz bob rulz is offline
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I'm sure that was partially tongue-in-cheek, but I still want an urban living lifestyle, even if that fully autonomous future really does come as soon as people are saying - still very very skeptical that will happen in the next 20 or even 30 years.

Also, we've got to get renewable energy to power those EVs before we can be carbon neutral.
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