Planners offer first glimpse of Fashion Place West plansAug 03, 2020 11:18AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
A map of the Fashion Place West area shows potential bike lanes and lighting improvements. (Photo Courtesy Murray City)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Think about the Rialto Bridge in Venice, with its ornate façade and merchants’ shops lining the interior, spanning a historic canal. Now envision Murray with its version of the Rialto Bridge, but this time spanning I-215.
It’s not that far-fetched, and it’s included as a possibility in the newly released Fashion Place West Small Area Plan. After months of meeting with and surveying area residents, business owners and visitors, Murray City’s Planning Division released an update of findings and possible improvements to the area.
The Fashion Place West small area boundaries are confined to I-15 on the west, State Street on the east, 6100 South on the north, and 6870 South at the southern border. The city has contracted with VODO Landscape and Planning to formulate a plan.
After an initial open house in January, a second open house was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, a public survey was posted online through Murray City’s and Utah Transit Authority’s social media websites.
Survey respondents rated better lighting as their No. 1 improvement priority in the area’s neighborhoods. Following closely behind were concerns regarding the improvement of sidewalks, the need for more crosswalks, and the benefits of additional shade trees.
Housing affordability ranked highest among respondents regarding housing issues. Residents said they would welcome more cottage-cluster additions to the area; building apartments was the least supported option.
By far, traffic remains the most significant concern facing the neighborhood. Of those polled, the majority indicated that they just visit the area to shop instead of being actual residents of the community.
Connectivity, one of the critical areas that the plan addresses, focuses on the Fashion Place West TRAX Station. As a major transit hub, it sits nearly a half-mile away from Fashion Place Mall. Winchester Street, which connects the two, would be a prime target for improvement.
The plan states, “Transporting people from around the area, especially from the TRAX station to the mall, is key to continue the area’s economy. Well-established, pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure could consistently be included through the area and safety features could be added.”
The plan calls for improved sidewalks and bike lanes along Winchester as well as landscaping and other visual enhancements, especially on the bridge that spans I-215. Two of the most immediate enhancements suggested are the addition of motorized scooters and the rerouting of UTA buses to drop mall patrons off directly at Fashion Place’s doors.
As said in the plan: “Consider rerouting the 209 bus route to stop directly in front of a mall entrance. The current mid-block stop location on Winchester Street forces riders to take a long route to reach the mall without proper sidewalk infrastructure through the parking lots.”
Also included with improved stops, the plan suggests more frequent intervals between buses going to and from the TRAX station and the mall, thus implying that Murray could consider a partnership with UTA to provide more amenities for riders at the bus stops and the TRAX station.
The plan also cites a unique idea: transform the Winchester Bridge into usable space, similar to the High Street I-670 Cap (“Rialto Bridge”) in Columbus, Ohio. According to the planners, the idea behind the Columbus bridge development was “to heal the scar created by the interstate, the solution (by the city) was to…create pedestrian and retail space.” That type of development in Murray would require multiple agencies and complex arrangements.
Streetscape enhancements are among the most immediate impacts residents could expect to see in the area, along with bus schedule improvements and upgrades to the Cottonwood Street bridge that spans I-215.
City planners hope to submit a finalized version of the small area plan to the city council for adoption this year.