Utah Stories

300 South Bikepath: Cyclists Still Use the Sidewalk

Even with a costly construction price tag, the 300 South bike lanes fail to deliver.


Photo by Mark Salgado

The bike lanes on 300 South have been a source confusion for both residents and business owners. Mayor Becker’s dedication to have a protected bike lane that connects to the University of Utah has been a well-documents controversy. At first, Becker wanted to convert 200 South into a bike-friendly route, but he was met with far too much opposition from business-owners and city councilmen.

“I saw 200 South as a complete street,” says district four Councilman Luke Garrott. Garrott has been a member of the Salt Lake City Council since 2007 and currently serves as the council chairman. He is also a professor of political science at the University of Utah. Becker’s vision including reducing the four-lane road to two lanes and removing a planted historic median. The proposal would also remove available street parking.

Business owners opposed the lack of access to their businesses and preservationists opposed the removal of the historic median. Garrott adds, “It has bike lanes and it’s a major UTA corridor. Decreasing the street lanes would have jammed up traffic. I wasn’t convinced it was a good design.”

After failing to get approval for a 200 South conversion, Becker then set his sights on 300 South. This time, he wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. The street now has a bike path and parking system that many residents feel is confusing. “I hate the new system,” says long-time resident Robert Miller. “Getting out of my car is terrifying because it’s right in the middle of the road.”

Garrott agrees with this assessment. “As a cyclist, I felt safer on the old 300 south. I think they definitely screwed up the street. Not to mention all the lost parking and anxiety. People are still upset about this transformation”

Garrot is currently campaigning against Becker for Mayor of Salt Lake City this year. For more information on each of their platforms, visit www.ralphbecker.com and http://www.slccouncil.com/districts/district-4/.

Parking Meters Update

Addressing complaints about downtown parking meters Salt Lake City hired IPS Group from San Diego to install new keypads, better lighting and faster processing.

The upgrade was paid with money held back from the initial cost of installing the meters. Of  the $4.1 million price tag  the city held back 20% or $820,000 that was to be paid on successful completion of the contract. Since there were  problems the money was available to pay for the upgrades.

One of our questions for this investigation was how parking meter revenue impacted sales tax revenue. We were unable to answer that question. However concerning sales taxes, the Utah State Legislature approved a sales tax increase by .5%, if the prison ends up moving to Salt Lake City. This is another controversial topic which has lead to the potential candidacy of Jim Dabakis.
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