Planning Our Future


Our poor little downsized (but brave) newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, has tried for the last few years to get crime stats on buses and trains here from the Utah Transit Authority. Folks want to know how safe it is to take public transportation here, right? After a few years of mumbling and jockeying back and forth and finally a ruling from the State Records Committee in the newspaper’s favor, UTA released its crime data that was collected for them by a third party during 2012. The majority of crimes committed on our mass transit system are by people trying to catch a free ride and not paying the fare. Can we assume they aren’t all joyriding and some folk can’t afford the fares?

Right now the Planning and Zoning department for Salt Lake City is collecting thoughts from citizens in order to visualize what our Capitol City could and should look like downtown in 25 years. This is necessary to expand the framework of rules and regulations and help plan land use for the next generation. Would our kids and grandkids want more TRAX the addition of trolleys in the downtown area? Should the transportation system be free to use in the future? The last time the “Downtown Master Plan” was updated was in 1995, when there were no commuter trains operating along the Wasatch Front. Anyone is welcome to chime in at various public meetings going on now or by going to to type in your ideas.

“Downtown” is described as North Temple to 900 South, and from 200 East west to I-80. From information the City has collected about itself, less than 5000 people actually live in this downtown area and only about 500 live and work downtown. I thought it was a bit lonesome down here! Over 80% live in multi-level buildings with limited parking. Molly Robertson from Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning told me, “It’s like 60,000 people come to work in Salt Lake every day and 59,500 go home every night-away from and out of downtown.” That’s a whole lot of people who put a burden on the police, Salt Lake City Corp. and the fire department. We will grow in the next 25 years and we’ve got to come up with solutions for an increased burden on services. Also, data from Planning and Zoning at Salt Lake City Corp. counts one out of every five people who lives in downtown as homeless. This is a population who needs transportation to get to jobs and job interviews if they are seeking work. Predictions are that this group of residents isn’t going to decrease in population and we all must seek solutions to help.

It’s the season of thanks and of giving. It’s also a good time to talk with your friends and family about how we can make our city, county and state better down the road. Pull out your laptop after dinner with the family and chime in on how you envision our future together. And happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pop Up Vendors


It’s not a craze; it’s a great and small form of creativity and commercialism sprouting up all over the Wasatch Front in unlikely and obvious spaces. Pop-Up businesses and restaurants have become the new standard for hyper-local fans and the DIY generation. We’ve all grown used to the fake roses and stuffed animal vendors on various street corners during Valentines week or the zebra or wolf blanket purveyors at boarded up gas stations in the summer. That’s not what I am talking about here.

The new Vive Juicery is a great example of a good and rare idea in Utah – cold pressed raw juices ‘fueled by love and local farms’. These folks got their idea because they couldn’t find the hydraulic pressed juice they had tasted elsewhere instead of veggie juice from centrifugal machines. Going through all the hoops of setting up a store front, passing all the rules and regulations of the health department and city licensing officials can break the bank of any entrepreneur. The folks at Vive Juicery have a great idea – why not share a space with a restaurant that’s not open during the day in an already approved kitchen? Do a little Kick-Start and next thing you know, Brittany and Bryce Thaxton are making juice at 7 AM inside the restaurant Zest, pressing their fresh beet, date, ginger and green magic mixes available for walk-in patrons and on-line orders. Zest opens at 4 and so the juicers just slide out the back door as the veggie loving dinner guests start coming in the front door. This pop-up only shows that complimentary foods and people working in the same space to create great food for the healthy minded souls.

Pop-Ups are easily found at the Downtown Farmers Market. What you haven’t heard – it’s open during the winter! Yes, you can get your Winter Market shopping on at the Rio Grande depot a block west of Pioneer Park every other Saturday. Just before Thanksgiving we discovered a booth there from Urban Pioneer Foods. Brooke Woffinden, a local personal chef and caterer was offering small canning jars of pumpkin seed and cilantro pesto. At $9 a jar the item seemed pricy but OMG no one we shared it with even wanted it on pasta – it was good enough to just eat with a spoon.

The goal of many pop-up owners is to bring a unique item to a local market in the hopes it will take off and be financially viable. Remember years ago at the Market when a humble young Latino man was selling refried beans and tortillas from a cart? Jorge Fierro has now become infamous and successful with his brand, Rico Foods and Frida’s Bistro. Microenterprise and the people who support the little guy have helped Happy Monkey Hummus move from the Market to grocery stores.

What happens at your place of work after hours? Maybe you could share space with a start up /pop up business. Got a good idea for a better widget but can’t quite raise the funds to pay for machinery? Think about your options and support the small independents this holiday season.

Holiday Wheels


“My wife and I live in a condo with very little parking. It would be expensive and stupid to own two cars, have two car/insurance payments each month especially since Salt Lake’s version of Zip Cars has a rental parked outside of our home. A cute little Mini has been stationed there for a year, under the U-Haul car share program Salt Lake City initiated. Mysteriously U-Haul’s cars have disappeared and been instantly replaced with Enterprise Rent-A-Car vehicles in the dark of the night.”

If you’ve not lived in a city with a car share program, it’s smart and simple. To use the cars you must of course have a valid driver’s license and car insurance and some form of pay plastic. Cars are generally in good city locations and here you can find them near TRAX and FrontRunner stations, the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and at several locations in the capitol city. You log on and reserve the car and if you don’t cancel it in time you will be charged a fee. UTA has jumped in with Salt Lake City and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to suggest locations for the autos to help with the mass transit that we should all be trying to support and use here. The good news is that the annual membership for the new program is $40, but if you sign up NOW your joining fee will be waived through January 31st of 2014. The cost of the cars starts at $5 per hour and can be up to $75 for an entire day depending on the kind of car that you rent.

During the holiday season, tax TRAX downtown and jump on the free Jingle Bus supplied by the SLC Downtown Alliance that will move you from the Gateway to Temple Square, to the Gallivan Plaza, Capitol and City Creek Center. This is a way to keep down the insane car traffic during the holidays around the malls and Temple Square. The cute Jingle Trolley (it looks like a trolley, not a train) runs from 5-10 pm 7 DAYS A WEEK in a loop that takes 20-30 minutes from beginning to end. Thus, you could park at Gateway and see the giant electric Christmas tree (unveiled Nov. 21), buy some old school candy at Blinkenstaffs, hop on the Trolley up to Temple Square for photo ops, wander over to Macy’s and see the six candy windows (unveiled Nov. 21st, too) in the front of the former ZCMI store and wander through City Creek. Hop on the Trolley again to the Gallivan and get some cocoa and ice skate or head to the Capitol Theater for the Nutcracker and back to the Gateway. Easy peasy and fun for families and date nite. The Alliance has volunteers like yours truly give tours along the way, start up songs or tell jokes to get people in more jovial (not manic/panic moods). I can tell you last year it was so cold some nights people burst into tears when we pulled that Trolley up alongside their group and said, “Free! Warm! Come ride with us!”

For a map: