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The City Journals

Murray Central Station to become a grand central station

Nov 29, 2018 03:14PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Designer concept of Murray Central Station, view from Vine Street Plaza to the south. (Drawing courtesy Landmark Design)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Gone will be the kiosks, open-air platforms, and lack of parking. Incoming will be a covered station with retail space, offices and a parking garage. Landmark Design held a draft plan open house on Oct. 25 at Murray City Hall to present the Murray Central Station Small Area Draft Plan to city staff and members of the public, who were all given a chance to see concept designs and ask the planner questions about the project. 

“From what I saw at the presentation, we have a way to go before it fits in with what we envision for the whole downtown area,” remarked Murray City Councilman Jim Brass, whose district includes the transportation node.

Landmark Design is a Salt Lake City-based landscape architecture and community planning firm that was awarded the concept plan contract. Landmark offered the open house to gather feedback for the final plan. To hire Landmark, Murray City tapped into a grant awarded by the Transportation and Land Use Connection program (TLC). The grant was given to the city in April 2017, specifically for the purpose of continuing development of the Murray Central TRAX and FrontRunner station.

The purpose of the TLC program is to help cities facilitate their desired growth in coordination with transportation—like TRAX—across the Wasatch Front. The TLC grant program is led by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) and funded by a partnership of Salt Lake County, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). 

One prime concern for the city is the environmental impact of the station. Built on the site of the ASARCO smelters, any major construction will need approval from the EPA in order to redevelop the site for any land use other than commercial and light industrial.

Landmark Design’s study noted that retail real estate market is in flux as a result of online shopping and changes in shopper behavior. Any development would need to emphasize restaurants, entertainment, and experiential retail as the key attractors for retail formats. The Central Station area currently represents 16 percent of Murray’s retail jobs and is projected to grow by 72 percent by 2040. 

Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is currently incorporating Murray Central into the Taylorsville–Murray Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The BRT is in preliminary design for phase 1, from Murray Central Station to Salt Lake Community College. Phase 2, from the community college to West Valley City center, is being planned.

The Murray Central Station is important to the bike network at multiple levels—both regionally and locally. About seven percent of people accessing the station do so by bike, that’s more than double the transit system average. The study noted the station provides a nearly unparalleled opportunity to connect local cyclists with distant regional destinations. Also, a number of existing and potential regional bike corridors run through and around the station area, such as the Jordan River Parkway.

Landmark presented two visions of the station, each incorporating a total buildings footprint of approximately 150,000 square feet. A third of that space will be devoted to parking, while other buildings will mainly be office space with a mix of retail and services.

“I am concerned with increasing density in that area. The residents of west Vine already feel that there is enough density. Also, I don’t believe that Vine Street can handle all the additional traffic that the plan would bring,” expressed Brass.

The next step for the project is to develop the final Murray Central Station Small Area Plan, possibly due by the end of December. Approval and adoption of the plan will come in 2019.

“Again, this is very early in the process, and all these issues would need to be addressed before I could support moving forward,” Brass reiterated.

The draft plan can be found online at http://www.ldi-ut.com/murrayw.