Pioneer Planning

Pioneer Planning

Salt Lake Complete Streets

Source: Deseret News

Like many aspects of New Urbanism, the notion of complete streets isn’t a totally novel idea. A couple of weeks ago, the Congress for the New Urbanism held their annual conference in Salt Lake City – a city built with complete streets in mind. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, created a plat referred to as the “Plat of the City of Zion,” which laid out a comprehensive grid system for Salt Lake (and was to be used as a template for other Mormon cities). The system includes perfectly aligned north-south and east-west streets divided by standard distances. An editorial from Salt Lake local newspaper Deseret News explains, “Streets were made wide to accommodate large teams of oxen, but generations later are nicely able to accommodate bicycle lanes and a light rail system — evidence that the original planners placed a high value on guaranteeing efficient movement of freight and people” [emphasis added]. This type of planning has helped Salt Lake manage challenges such as rapid growth and environmental concerns, according to historian Craig Galli.

Read more about Salt Lake City’s urban planning history:

Amy Donin


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