From Parking Lot To Pedestrian-Friendly

<p>The University of Utah wants to transform an eight acre parking lot near its stadium light rail station into shops, offices and condos.</p>
April 8, 2008, 10am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"A key gateway to the University of Utah campus, where hundreds of TRAX riders board and exit trains every day, sprawls with asphalt.

U. officials are seeking to create an inviting pedestrian experience at this 8-acre parking lot west of Rice-Eccles Stadium by replacing it with a large mixed-use development, bringing together public transit, shops, restaurants, offices, parking and apartments at the southwestern corner of the campus.

"The desire is to create an exciting and vibrant experience for our university community as well as the patrons who come for educational purposes and special events," said Mike Perez, the U.'s facilities chief.

"We see it as a gateway to campus and a gateway to the city. It goes both ways. It will build a stronger connection between the university and the neighborhood communities," Perez said. "The enhanced commercialization adds critical mass and the TRAX station creates an anchor that will bring more people into this district."

Although the "Universe Project" is in a conceptual stage, it goes before the Salt Lake City Planning Commission on Wednesday evening. Not everybody fawns over the proposal, including one city councilman who is concerned about its size.

"I'm very excited about a properly scaled development there," said Luke Garrott, who represents the neighborhood. "But I think they're being overly ambitious.""

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Published on Monday, April 7, 2008 in The Salt Lake Tribune
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