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Salt Lake City’s urban street grid

Salt Lake City is not a walking city. The blocks are too big (660 feet x 660 feet) and the streets are too wide (132 feet) for that. This has translated into many of the streets have upwards of 6 lanes. To put this into further context, here is a block comparison chart from 99% Invisible:

In the past, I have called this inheritance one of the greatest city building challenges. Because once you’ve designed a city around the car, it can be hard to move away from that. But as I have also said in the past, there are, of course, lots of things that can be done to make a place more hospitable to pedestrians.

What is also interesting is that, according to 99% Invisible, the original intent for Salt Lake City’s urban grid was not for its large 660 x 660 blocks to serve as a rigid and immutable plan for the city. The intent was that its large blocks would be further subdivided into smaller blocks as the city grew and developed.

Other than maybe a few examples, this never happened. Salt Lake City’s large blocks remain a defining characteristic of the city. But who is to say it’s too late for change?

5 Comments

  1. I am in Vancouver and looking at the width of the streets in SLC makes me very envious. You could do so much with that extra space, including bike lanes, street patios, and treed centre boulevards. Our streets accommodate those things but with fewer options given the narrower streets here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A few observations about Salt Lake City – BRANDON DONNELLY

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