“Zero driving” development in Utah to include slots for 41,000 cars

The Point community outside Salt Lake City would make it easy to walk – and drive

(iStock, Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
(iStock, Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)

A community planned outside Salt Lake City that’s billed as a “15-minute city” where residents can walk to schools, jobs, shops and restaurants will also have parking for up to 41,000 cars.

The Point, about 20 miles from the city, would be a live-work neighborhood of 7,400 homes and 30,000 jobs, all within walking distance, according to Bloomberg. The space for cars sets the 600-acre community apart from other “zero driving” developments.

“It’s not that no one has a car,” said Peter Kindel, an urban design and planning principal at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who helped create the plan for the project. “We’re suggesting it’s more than possible to live with one car to make that big-box trip or go skiing. But for families and young people that are going to be part of the community, they won’t need that on a day-to-day basis.”

The Point, led by the government-appointed Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, will be on state land now occupied by the Utah State Prison in Draper, a once-sleepy town that’s become a desirable bedroom community for commuters along the busy I-15 corridor. Site preparations are expected to begin this year, with infrastructure development to start as early as 2023.

Plans call for residents to move around on walking trails and bikeways, and to be whisked about by various shared mobility options. The plan also pinpoints more than 40,800 parking spaces – mostly inside buildings and out of view – to serve an expected 13,000 residents and 31,000 office workers.

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That’s the number of parking spaces required in any typical, car-centric American suburb, according to Bloomberg. And if The Point is built with the tens of thousands of parking spaces included in its framework plan, that could make it difficult to become a car-light community.

Reducing parking, especially free parking, is key to changing travel behavior, said Jennifer Dill, an urban planning professor and director of the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.

“The evidence is really clear on this,” she said. “You have to get the parking right at the beginning.”

[Bloomberg] — Dana Bartholomew

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