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Monday, November 22, 2010

'Central Station' is not so central...

Salt Lake's 'Central Station' is central to very little. The map below is a pretty good depiction of Salt Lake's downtown. The 'Central Station' is the Intermodal hub at the far periphery of the lower left hand corner of the map. For those unfamiliar with SLC, it has very large blocks-- about 8 blocks to the mile. That puts 'Central Station' a long way from downtown.

If downtown SLC continues to grow westward and redevelop the industrial properties there, the area near 'Central Station' might become a vibrant urban center. But that's an idea I find unlikely. Check out the map below. The big blue line in I-15, a major 'through' interstate. It's over a 100' wide, and a significant barrier to urban growth. I find it much more likely that development will turn head south, until it reaches the 10th South exit.

As it is, it takes Salt Lake's various transit services a long way out of their way to reach it.

Making it worse will be when the new 'Viaduct Station' is completed at 500 W. and North Temple. Right now, the Central Station serves as a node for buses, Trax, FrontRunner, Amtrak, and Greyhound. Once the North Temple line is completed, the talk is of adding another FrontRunner station, to permit easy transfers between the two.
From a transit planning perspective, it's a great idea--it will make traveling by commuter rail to downtown a great deal easier. But it will do a lot toward reducing the activity level at Central Station, which has never been high to begin with.