Smart Growth for SLC

slc-mayor-downtown-rising-growthSalt Lake City has massive potential and a delicate environment. We must meet the demands of a growing population with innovative, integrated and nimble policy. SLC must take the reins on public transit, clean energy production, and affordable housing options for everyone. With thoughtful planning, quality construction and constant care, we can grow SLC in a way that preserves the character of our neighborhoods, takes real action on air quality, maintains open spaces for our families and builds real community.

These policy areas include:

•  Real Action on Air Quality                                             •  Housing Homelessness

•  Transit Choices in Every Neighborhood                    •  Neighborhood Preservation

•  Affordable Housing                                                          •  Streets & Parking

Real Action on Air Quality

LG-Skyline-FinalAir quality is an issue that no resident of Salt Lake City can ignore, and it calls for real action. Since 50% of our pollution comes from vehicles, offering people the choice of clean public transit will make a real difference. Clean energy production is also key, as nearly 40% of our bad air is caused by the energy consumption of buildings and homes.  While conservation must continue, real progress requires that we challenge the energy production monopoly of Rocky Mountain Power.

Expect real action:

•  Breaking Rocky Mountain Power’s monopoly with clean energy production
•  Coalition of clean-air cities to get changes at the Legislature
•  Clean public transportation in every neighborhood

If SLC leads the way in offering clean energy options, like clean energy buyers clubs (Community Choice Aggregation), and loans from the city to put solar on every roof (which can be paid back with energy savings), we can make a real difference in the air we breathe. By forming a coalition of clean-air cities along the Wasatch Front to demonstrate and advocate for a clean-air future, moving toward the state-level policy changes that we need. A Garrott administration will act with the urgency that this crisis in public health and economic development requires.

Transit Choices in Every Neighborhood

lg bike pathSalt Lake City needs its own transit system to provide accessible, affordable and clean public transportation. UTA’s service leaves much to be desired, and a city-run transit company can supplement and coordinate with the existing UTA system in ways that will ensure convenient and reliable transportation in every SLC neighborhood. Luke knows that public transit, walking and biking can work: he has lived in central city for 8 years without a car.

Can you imagine a system that offers reliable 24/7 service within blocks of you? We can do it. Park City, Boulder CO, and Cache Valley offer examples of systems that are locally funded, controlled, and integrated with the regional transit authority. A city-run transit system will help clean the air, connect our neighborhoods, and add to the prosperity of the city.

 

Affordable Housing

lg aptsFor the duration of the Becker Administration, Salt Lake City has fallen behind in affordable housing options for residents current and new. Rents are rising dramatically, and the price of a house is getting out of reach for many. To remedy the neglect, the current administration is  promoting a plan for “5,000 Doors” with very little muster to get it done, and is focusing on low-income housing at the expense of middle-income families. Meanwhile, many people of all ages--recent graduates, middle-aged workers, senior citizens--are being priced out of SLC. If we don’t act boldly and soon, our city will suffer a crippling loss in diversity: socio-economic, cultural, religious and generational. Luke knows that a city, like a natural ecosystem, needs diversity to be stable, vital, and healthy.

Our housing policy can:

•  Maintain diversity in our city
•  Move renters into owners
•  Offer affordable choices in every neighborhood

Another downside to traditional gentrification is air pollution. High rents push moderate income households into suburbs outside the city, extending urban sprawl, creating more driving, congestion, and air pollution. We must refocus our housing policy to ensure that anyone in SLC, regardless of income level or age, can find affordable housing options in their neighborhood. Mixed-income, not just low-income, is our way forward to smart growth.

Housing & Homelessness

JL_C8799Poverty and homelessness are apparent here, as in every city. Luke believes that our community in SLC is uniquely prepared to meet this challenge and make a real difference in how we include our most vulnerable citizens in society. We must also keep in mind the neighborhoods where services are located, not allowing any single one to be disproportionately burdened with responsibility. As the downtown councilman for 8 years, Luke is the only candidate with the knowledge--and the will--to lead the city into a new era of homes and jobs for all.

With committed partners in state and county governments, as well as in the business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, a Garrott administration will make measurable and meaningful progress on this issue. We will incorporate many of the results of the current conversations we’re having in SLC about homelessness. Currently, Luke sees a need for new and redesigned buildings, bolstered outreach and supportive services, and a wider array of housing options. We need to massively expand access to mental health and rehabilitative services, lowering barriers for people to find the support they need.

Expect real progress on:

•  Moving people off the street
•  More housing and jobs
•  Support services to ensure success

Luke understands the importance of work to make meaning in people’s lives, and will advocate for “a room and a job” programs that can go a long way in getting a person off the streets. The city can partner with existing non-profits who offer flexible employment for people who have significant difficulties holding down a normal 8 to 5 job. There are also exciting new ideas in mini-housing, where a small unit that costs $5000 offers a clean, safe place place for people in transition. Luke will put mini-house communities into our housing policy. If these communities are self-ruling, requiring individuals to be participants in setting the rules for the community, they offer a therapeutic step toward self-sufficiency. The city's role is to make them part of housing policy: create zoning to allow them and help fund them.

Residents and businesses located near the homeless shelter in the Rio Grande neighborhood have many concerns regarding the current location of homeless services, particularly the intense drug trade in their neighborhood. Their concerns do not go unheard. Real community-based policing is needed, with more police out of their cars and on the street. We also need more room in the county jail, and Luke will work to make sure that people arrested on felony drug charges aren’t let out on the street just because we don’t have jail space. We can alleviate pressures on the neighborhoods where services are offered, and do a better job as a community in how we treat our least well-off.

Neighborhood Preservation

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The character of our neighborhoods makes Salt Lake City an amazing place to call home. Our residents are proud of their communities, and they are the best advocates for where they live. While growth and development are vital to the success of Salt Lake City, we must be sure to preserve the places that make Salt Lake unique. Luke understands neighborhood character and pride, and will make sure that the policies of the city preserve, rather than threaten, the places where we live. A Garrott administration will aggressively--and appropriately-- employ tools like historic districts, design standards, down-zoning, and character conservation districts to preserve the SLC we love.

Streets & Parking

photo (17)The streets belong to all of us. They are the most often-used type of public property, and each of us rightly feels some ownership of the streets we use on a daily basis.  Because citizens use their neighborhood streets every day, they are the best advocates for what their streets should look like. Developments like new bike lanes and changes to existing parking should have the input of residents and businesses who would be most affected. These are the people who know first-hand how their streets are used, and they deserve a voice in what their streets look like.

Luke will ensure:

  •  No one gets priced out of enjoying downtown
  •  A parking system that is fair and affordable
  •  Streets that work for everyone

Combining the insights of everyday users (both commuters and residents in neighborhoods), urban planners, and traffic engineers, we will ensure that our streets work for everybody. Not every street has to be the same--some can be oriented more for car traffic and others designed for people who are walking and biking. The key notion is that the streets belong to the people, not “experts” in the bureaucracy.

Residents also deserve input into our parking system. Millions of dollars have been invested into unsightly, high-tech parking meters hand-picked from the Mayor’s office. As this administration treats parking as a cash cow, they drive away people who want to spend time and money downtown. Not only have parking rates risen, but so have fines (just one example is $850,000 more from late payment fines in the Mayor’s budget this year). It is now impossible to park downtown more than 2 hours after 8 pm without getting a ticket.

While Luke is a strong supporter of expanding public transit, “Just take TRAX” is not a viable parking policy. We need a balanced system that serves, rather than gouges its customers. As it gets more expensive to park, we reserve the right only to people who can afford it.

More on Luke's vision for SLC:

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