Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00

The Farmers Market: Placemaking Around Pierpont

The Farmers Market: Placemaking Around Pierpont

By its very nature, placemaking is a regenerative act—a reclamation of that which was lost or forgotten. This may seem like an odd segue into a blog about the Downtown Farmers Market, but the truth is that farmers markets catalyze placemaking in the same way that a quaint neighborhood shopping district does.

Before the Downtown Farmers Market began, the area around Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City was an area most people tended to avoid. Aside from a small handful of pioneering business owners and residents, most of Salt Lake had written the park off as overrun by all things nefarious. It's probably fair to say that for many of the city's residents, the park didn't exist in any meaningful way.

That began to change as the Downtown Alliance "reclaimed" the park for its summer farmers market in 1992. For over 20 years, SLC residents have witnessed this transformative process in full force: Both in the investment made to clean and prepare the park for events like the Downtown Farmers Market and the Twilight Concert Series, and in the way residents, business owners, and developers have come to see this once forlorn area of the city as something valuable.

During this 20-year span, the areas around Pioneer Park have become neighborhoods in their own right. The vibrant, warehouse-inspired Pierpont neighborhood is home to eclectic bohemians like the folks over at SLUG Magazine, and Old World-style artisans like Tony Caputo's Market & Deli, Carlucci's Bakery, Bruges Waffles & Frites, Pallet, The Rose Establishment, and Jade Market, among others. On the southern side of the park you can find Salt Lake City icons Tin Angel Café, Especially for You Flowers, and Western Nut Company.

The positive effects of farmers markets on cities and neighborhoods are innumerable. The food is locally grown—or, as is often the case, produced by local businesses. The farmers and artisans who sell there have a vested interest in using sustainable practices, because they live in the communities where they work. They also bring their own passion to what they do, growing heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables that you'd be hard-pressed to find in grocery stores.

Overall, this dynamic represents everything good about the local movement. But we should also always be aware of the placemaking nature of our very own Downtown Farmers Market. Without the market, Pioneer Park might still just be a place people avoid. And in Salt Lake, we don't want those kinds of places—we want more places like the Downtown Farmers Market, places that feel like neighborhoods and homes.

21st & 21st: Proving that Bigger Isn’t Always Better

When it comes to neighborhoods, is bigger always better? Not necessarily. Neighborhoods that cover a larger area have certain advantages: namely, a larger pool of businesses and residents. But sometimes, a scaled-back approach can create an entirely new dynamic.

SLC Hive Pass, a Bus-Only Trip Around the City, and other Transit Musings

We live in a city that undoubtedly cares about public transit. Since the 2002 Olympics, UTA’s expanded their network to include TRAX lines to the airport, West Valley, Draper, and Daybreak; the FrontRunner to Ogden and Provo; the new S-Line streetcar to Sugar House; and future plans for additional streetcar lines downtown and on 900 South. And with the new $30/month Hive Pass for SLC residents, we’re running out of excuses.

TRAX, Front Runner, and the S-Line Streetcar get a lot of love. Understandably too, they’re sleek, sexy, and easy to coordinate your trip with. But what about the ugly ducklings of SLC transit—buses?

With almost 100 separate bus lines in Salt Lake County alone, these ugly ducklings are unquestionably the workhorses of our public transit system. Yet, in the immortal words of Harvey Dangerfield, they get no respect! I’ve found that many residents—even many people who frequently ride public transit—are intimidated by navigating all these bus routes. So I decided to take a bus-only neighborhood trip around Salt Lake.

In just a few hours, I visited many of our city’s far-reaching neighborhoods: Marmalade, The Capitol, Broadway, Main Street, Poplar Grove, Glendale, Nueve y Nueve (900 South 900 West), Ballpark, Central Ninth, Sugar House, 21st & 21st, Foothill, University, the Avenues, State Street, Liberty Park, and 9th and 9th.

  •       Bus 470 from 200 South State to North Temple and Main
  •       Bus 500 from North Temple and Main through Marmalade, around the Capitol, and to the FrontRunner station at North Temple
  •       Bus 516 from the North Temple FrontRunner station through Poplar Grove, Glendale, and Ballpark to the 1300 South TRAX station
  •       Walked to Central Ninth and then to 900 South State
  •       Bus 200 from 900 South State to 2100 South State
  •       Bus 21 from 2100 South State through Sugar House, 21st & 21st, Foothill, and the University to the Medical Center
  •       Bus 6 from the Medical Center through the Avenues to North Temple and State
  •       Bus 200 from North Temple and State to 900 South State
  •       Bus 9 from 900 South State to 900 South 900 East
  •       Bus 209 from 900 South 900 East to South Temple and State

The best part was that I never waited longer than 15 minutes and I got all my directions from asking bus drivers (if you ever feel lost, just ask a bus driver).

If trains are the arteries of public transit, buses are its capillaries.

Aside from being less respected, buses offer a slew of short- and long-term benefits. Namely, they’re cheaper, they can basically work off of existing infrastructure, and they’re malleable.

Think about it. How much would it cost to build train lines through all Salt Lake’s neighborhoods? And even if we had a bottomless pit of money to work with, where would the trains go? Sadly, our city’s residential neighborhoods aren’t blessed the same wide streets and existing railroad lines that UTA has been able to use for TRAX, the S-Line, and FrontRunner.

Finally, what happens in 5, 10, 15 years as demographics shift and current transit routes no longer serve our community’s needs? Good luck moving train lines… But buses can easily be adapted as needed.

Don’t get me wrong here; this isn’t an either/or buses vs. trains issue. It’s simply an issue of destigmatizing and demystifying bus riding, and helping people realize that you can get almost everywhere in Salt Lake by riding buses.

So get your Hive Pass and explore the neighborhoods of Salt Lake—on a bus. It’s easier than you think!


Monday, 03 March 2014 15:00

A Tale of Two Cities

What happens when you construct a large freeway directly through the middle of an urban area? Nothing good. And that's exactly what happened in cities across the country—Salt Lake included—beginning in the 1950s.

The intent was to simply facilitate easier connections between urbanites and other cities and states, not to mention increasing the efficiency of transporting goods into cities. But these infrastructure changes have also elicited a host of unintended consequences—chiefly, the artificial barrier that runs the length of Salt Lake and divides our city into "east" and "west."

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 13:32

Where does your money go?

You may have seen this video over on Local First Utah, but we figured Only In Salt Lake could use some "lego-love" too.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 12:30

The Avenues: A Testament to Our Collective Memory

The Avenues: A Testament to Our Collective Memory

I was lucky enough to spend a cool, rainy day trekking around the Avenues, a neighborhood steeped in historical memory. Somehow, walking its steep hills and narrow streets stirred within me an ethereal sense of nostalgia for a time and place that I had never actually seen.

Monday, 10 February 2014 09:18

Granary: A District Shaping its Own Future

Granary: A District Shaping its Own Future

Salt Lake's Granary District, during the last few years, has undergone a dramatic transformation. Not long ago, it was commonly considered an industrial-era relic remiss of anything resembling neighborhood character. But over the last few years, it's become a legitimate neighborhood with a palpable identity all its own.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 14:23

Central Ninth: Home Sweet Home

The idea of home has been prominently featured in many ways: From Dorothy's famous "There's no place like home" line, to a gem that I picked up studying cultural semiotics, which separates all places into either homes or anti-homes, and defines the former as having shared meaning for a group of people. But I digress...

Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:48

The Jingle Bus Rocks!

The Jingle Bus Rocks!

Sometimes it seems like the spirit of Christmas and the overall holiday season exists only in sappy old movies. You know what I'm talking about: Miracle on 34th Street, that entertainingly creepy clay-mation Rudolph movie, and my favorite, It's a Wonderful Life. For most of the year, we poke fun at how cheesy they are, but as soon as December rolls around, we're all bound to watch them at some point.

Did you know you can also get your warm Christmas fuzzies on without camping out on the couch in front of the TV? All you need to do is hop on the Jingle Bus, one of downtown Salt Lake's newest holiday additions.

Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:01

Riding the S-Line into the Heart of Sugar House

Riding the S-Line into the Heart of Sugar House

Somehow during the last seven days we've gone from Indian Summer to depths of Winter... What's up Salt Lake?! Seriously, it was 65 degrees last week!

Anyway, despite the weather, we've been highly anticipating UTA's new S-Line to Sugar House for a while. This active, vibrant neighborhood of eclectic businesses and proud residents has deserved a connecting streetcar for a long time. So as soon as it was up and running, we made like Joseph Conrad and journeyed into the heart of... Sugar House. I think it's fair to say our trip went better than his, though.

Page 1 of 2