Salt Lake City Mayor Interacts with Residents at SHCC meeting
Aug 04, 2016 01:32PM
● By Travis Barton
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski attended the Sugar House Community Council Meeting in the Sprague Library on July 6 to answer questions from those in attendance. Biskupski spoke on a wide range of topics from parking to biker awareness to building height requirements. –Travis Barton
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Sugar House, Utah - Elected officials hear question and concerns from residents on a daily basis. Mayor Jackie Biskupski came to a meeting to do just that.
Biskupski attended the Sugar House Community Council meeting on July 6 in the Sprague Library for a question and answer session where local residents could have their questions answered by either Biskupski or a member of her administrative team.
“I’m trying my best to make the rounds and be available to people in the community,” Biskupski said.
To maximize the citizens’ time, Biskupski said instead of giving a briefing on whatever she wanted to speak, she wanted to engage with the community about their concerns.
“A big piece of what we are doing as an administration is community involvement and there is no issue that goes without that level of input,” Biskupski said. “We are very much wanting to be an administration of the people.”
For a little under an hour, Biskupski, a Sugar House resident, answered questions on a wide variety of topics with the help of her team, most notably, parking.
The most frequently referenced topic woven throughout the night was parking. It was one of the first concerns brought up and also one of the last as residents voiced their concerns.
One Sugar House resident since 1982 said he was concerned about parking with continual increase in apartments and condominiums being built in the area. With no impact fees in the area, housing developments are expected to continue.
“The plans for these developments were done years ago regardless of traffic and the ability to handle the traffic,” the resident said. “Does this go on until we hit situation critical?”
Biskupski said the city can’t stop private property owners from building large developments as long as they are meeting city codes and construction standards. Transit master plans are being brought forwards this year to assess recommendations on where improvements can be made.
“There are very few things the city can do to really help accommodate growth that we cannot stop legally without being sued,” Biskupski said.
Different thoughts and solutions to the problem include widening the roads, improving traffic signals to increase traffic flow and even utilizing all parking locations. Biskupski said she’s not keen on widening the roads, especially around the business district.
Biskupski said there is a parking area off of 1300 East and Wilmington Avenue that has underground parking but she’s not sure if people are familiar with it.
City Councilwoman Lisa Adams of District Seven said they are awaiting the results of a Sugar House parking study since it is a concern brought to her very often. She said it’s something they are studying very closely.
“We will be looking to see what we can do in terms of tweaking the zoning to require parking to a greater extent,” Adams said.
This is especially important because of the ratio requirement in Sugar House that matches 1.5 parking spots to one apartment which inevitably spills parking onto the street.
Another resident said there are so many different parking set ups that he wished there was parking standardization.
“The public perception is that there is inadequate parking in Sugar House,” the resident said.
Chris Jones of the Salt Lake Transportation Division, said they will be putting out a draft report soon with a series of recommendations regarding the areas with the most parking issues.
A consultant who worked on parking issues in Portland and San Francisco has been collaborating with Jones.
“We need to find what’s right for us,” Jones said.
Another concern was the increase in sewer rates and how they are affected by all the construction going on in the area.
Biskupski said there is a large backlog of infrastructure projects the city needs to be funded.
“Sometimes what we have to endure is an increase in a fee to help us get caught up a bit and hopefully we can keep that from happening very often,” Biskupski said.
Biking was brought up as a resident shared her experiences with bikers who weren’t following the proper traffic rules or wearing the proper attire at night. She wanted to know if there was a way to increase bicycle education.
“We’re trying to remind the bicyclists that it’s in their best interests to follow the rules of the road,” Biskupski said.