Virginia Street Reconstruction (South Temple to 11th Avenue)
Project Update (November 2023): The City’s Engineering Division is continuing to design the project and construction is anticipated in spring/summer of 2024. The City will provide more information on the potential construction impacts in spring of 2024. As of now, most of the elements shown in the concept are still included in the design; however, some adjustments have been made. Please select the Engineering Design drop-down menu to review changes from the concept design.
Virginia Street from South Temple to 11th Avenue will be reconstructed in 2024. Key components of the design concept include continuous sidewalks on the west side, uphill bike lanes, traffic calming elements, improved bus stops, and intersection safety improvements. The implementation of all elements shown in the concept design are dependent on engineering review and design and funding availability.
The design phase of the project is being led by the City’s Engineering Division. A civil engineer is working to convert the concept design into construction documents for a contractor. During this phase, there is substantial coordination with other City divisions and departments (such as Public Utilities, replacing the utilities in the roadway) as well as private utility companies. This phase also includes preparation of detailed cost estimates, which are then compared to the available budget.
It is common for the concept design to be modified slightly during the design phase. Adjustments to the concept can occur for a variety of reasons, such as incompatibility with another entity’s infrastructure and prioritizing project elements based on limited funding. In addition, project elements may be added and removed as Transportation and Engineering refine the design. Every effort is made to remain true to the goals of the project when adding or removing elements.
As of now, the following elements being designed differ from the concept design:
- Addition of a crosswalk at 4th Avenue with a reduction of the bulb-out sizes.
- Reduction of the bulb-out size at Crestline Circle.
- Relocation of the northbound bus stop at 3rd Avenue to further south of the intersection.
- Reduction of the bulb-out size (reduction) on 3rd Avenue.
- Potential adjustment of speed cushion locations, specifically south of 3rd Avenue.
It is anticipated that the design phase will be completed in early 2024 with a contractor being selected shortly after.
Final Concept Design
Final Concept Design
Fall 2022 Engagement Summary Report
Fall 2022 Engagement Summary Report
This report includes a detailed summary of the feedback we received during our public engagement efforts in the fall of 2022.
What is being done to slow traffic?
Speed cushions are proposed along Virginia Street to help reduce vehicle speeds. Speed cushions are a traffic calming measure similar to a speed hump but designed with wheel cutouts specifically to accommodate emergency vehicles like fire trucks (click here for more information on speed cushions). People riding bicycles downhill will also be able to use the wheel cutouts to avoid going over the cushion.
We heard from some commenters during the draft concept design comment period that they are not in favor of speed cushions. The Transportation Division understands that not everyone is in favor of traffic calming; however, the City is trying to slow vehicle speeds on roadways like Virginia Street and the speed cushion has been shown to be an effective traffic calming measure. In addition, similar vertical traffic calming measures are already in place on other roads in the area (speed humps and raised crosswalks on 2nd Avenue and 11th Avenue).
Bulb-outs are also proposed at various locations on the west side of Virginia Street. In addition to providing a visual narrowing of the road, the bulb-outs will also shorten the crossing distance for people walking.
Are you connecting the missing pieces of sidewalk on the west side?
The concept design includes sidewalks in the three locations where they are missing on the west side: South Temple to 1st Avenue, 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue, and Crestline/Fairfax to 11th Avenue. The addition of these missing sidewalk sections will not be easy as several factors complicate the design, including: lack of right-of-way, grade changes, and funding. However, after an initial design review, the team feels that sidewalks can be added within City right-of-way.
Why aren’t you adding park strips between the sidewalk and travelway?
Park strips are the landscaped areas between the roadway and sidewalk and are common in the City, especially in areas like this project corridor. Unfortunately, there are some sections of Virginia Street, both existing and planned, that lack park strips. The lack of park strips is due to the limited available roadway width in the corridor and project funding.
What are the proposed widths for the sidewalk, bike lane, and travel lanes?
The exact travel lane widths will vary between 10 and 12 feet as the roadway widths varies along the corridor. The bike lane widths will be between 7 and 8 feet, including a striped buffer. And sidewalk widths are expected to be 5 feet.
Why is a bike lane being added on such a steep road?
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, which is used to guide the implementation of bikeways in the City, identifies a buffered bike lane as the recommended bikeway type for Virginia Street. A bike lane will provide people riding bicycles uphill with a dedicated space to ride and will add consistency and predictability for people driving as they won’t need to navigate around people riding bicycles uphill.
We heard from some commenters during the draft concept design comment period that bikeways should be studied for other corridors, instead of Virginia Street. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan does identify other nearby roads as future bikeways: the Alta/Fairfax connection is identified as a shared roadway (where people riding bicycles share the road with vehicles) and the M Street Neighborhood Byway will ultimately provide access on the west side of the cemetery. The inclusion of bike lanes on Virginia Street is consistent with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.
The project team also received several comments questioning the usage of Virginia Street by bicyclists and whether the current usage was studied as part of this project. It isn’t often that an isolated project such as this one will reevaluate a City Council approved master plan element. Instead, the approved master plans are used as guidance by the project team when determining the transportation elements to include in the project. The project did not conduct a full evaluation of the City’s master plan findings related to bikeways on Virginia Street. The project team did review the existing bicycling usage of Virginia Street (through a review of Strava data) and found that more bicyclists use Virginia Street than other principal north-south streets in the Avenues (see the chart below).
Why aren’t you installing a physical barrier between the bike lane and vehicle travel lane?
The transportation team evaluated the option of including a physical barrier between the uphill bike lane and travel lane. Ultimately, the option was dropped, in part because there isn’t consistently enough width to install features like curbing, the City hasn’t established a good mechanism for cleaning and plowing snow from protected bike lanes in this type of area of the City, and installation of a physical barrier would prevent uphill bicyclists from being able to leave the bike lane whenever needed in the case that there was an obstruction or they wanted to pass a slower bicyclist.
The cost for other types of bikeways, such as above the curb bike lanes and shared use paths, can be significant and exceeded the funding for this project.
Are more crosswalks being added?
Yes, the concept design includes additional crossings at 1st Avenue and Federal Heights Drive. Crosswalks will be striped across Virginia Street at 3rd Avenue and 11th Avenue.
Please note that the crosswalk at the church (approximately 275 North Virginia Street) will be removed and relocated to Federal Heights Drive because it does not meet standards in its current location as it leads pedestrians into driveways.
Will on-street parking be allowed on the east side of Virginia Street?
No. All on-street parking on the east side of Virginia Street will be removed. The roadway width used by the existing parking aisle is needed in this tight corridor in order to provide space for the other roadway elements included in the project.
The transportation team conducted a parking evaluation to assist in making the decision to remove parking. The number of parked vehicles was recorded during multiple hours of the day and compared to the existing parking supply. The demand for parking was low.
Will on-street parking be allowed on the west side of Virginia Street?
Yes. Some on-street parking will remain on the west side of Virginia Street, mostly in locations where the existing roadway is less narrow. On-street parking on the west side will be removed in select locations where needed for sight distance, at bus stops, and where the roadway width is needed for other roadway features.
However, no parking will be allowed on two blocks where the sidewalk is being proposed and the right-of-way is narrow: South Temple to 1st Avenue and 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue. There isn’t sufficient width in these blocks to provide both on-street parking and the other roadway elements included in the project.
Why aren’t you installing roundabouts or traffic circles at intersections along the corridor?
The cost of a roundabout or traffic circle, for example at the 11th Avenue intersection or at the Crestline/Fairfax intersection, can be significant and during the concept development phase, priority was given to other traffic calming measures and connecting the missing pieces of sidewalk.
Why are you removing bus stops?
We heard from some commenters during the comment period that they are not in favor of removing bus stops. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it isn’t always a negative to have fewer bus stops on a route. Having stops too close together can slow down the bus, increasing travel time for transit riders. Each stop must also be maintained over time. With balanced stop spacing, it can be more feasible to install and maintain amenities like benches and keep the bus moving.
The project team evaluated each bus stop along the Virginia Street corridor, including a review of ridership (the number of people that get on and off the bus at each stop), the distance between bus stops, the location of nearby marked crosswalks, and the characteristics of the park strip and sidewalk at the bus stops.
The bus stops on Virginia Street near 4th Avenue are planned to be removed because they are only about 350 feet away from the stops to the south at 3rd Avenue. The ridership is low, with about one person on an average weekday using the stops. In addition, a northbound stop near 4th Avenue is difficult to make ADA compliant because of the grade change between the sidewalk and curb and the established trees in the park strip. Transit riders that currently use the stops at 4th Avenue will need to use the stops at 3rd Avenue or Federal Heights Drive.
Why doesn’t the concept have streetlights?
The project team is working with the Department of Public Utilities to determine if streetlights can be included in this project. The budget for the roadway portion of the project does not include streetlights. However, we have heard from commenters about the desire for streetlights and are investigating possibilities.
Why doesn’t the concept have everything that we asked for?
Due to the intersectionality of departmental jurisdiction over the public right-of-way, it is often unfeasible to execute the perfect plan for all entities. We feel that our plan reflects an implementable approach to meet the needs of many of those in the community and the City, while remaining within the project budget.
Project Timeline, Updates & Funding
|March – July 2022||Community input period and existing conditions investigation|
|December 2022||Draft conceptual design available for community input|
|Early 2023||Final design available to the public|
|Spring – Fall 2024||Construction|
December 2022 Update
December 2022 Update
The draft concept design is available for review and comment.
The concept design is based on feedback from the public collected during several outreach efforts in 2022, evaluation of existing roadway and traffic conditions, and feasibility of implementing changes within City right-of-way. Key components of the draft concept include continuous sidewalks on the west side, uphill bike lanes, traffic calming elements, improved bus stops, and intersection improvements. The implementation of all elements shown in the draft concept design are dependent on engineering review and design and funding availability.
On-street parking availability on Virginia Street will change as a result of this project. All on-street parking on the east side of Virginia Street will be removed. The width used by the existing parking aisle is needed in this narrow corridor in order to provide the other roadway elements included in the project. Although parking will remain on the west side of Virginia Street, there will be no parking allowed on the blocks where the sidewalk is being proposed: South Temple to 1st Avenue and 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue.
November 2022 Update
November 2022 Update
Thank you to all the residents that showed up in the cold and rain to provide feedback at our pop-up event at Reservoir Park on November 5th!
The responses we heard have helped our team explore the positives and negatives of our preliminary design solutions/recommendations. We are currently refining these solutions, incorporating the issues that were identified and plan to have a draft concept ready for comment by early December.
Here are some highlights of the feedback we received at the traffic calming event:
- A variety of responses on bike lanes from residents: some responses in support, some responses against because of realistic need, and some neutral responses.
- Most residents were in favor of the reduction in on street parking along the corridor. Some residents were opposed to the reduction in parking, in lieu of bike lanes.
- Medians along the corridor create issues with the crown of the road.
- More stop signs were requested with LED flashers included.
- Deer crossing sign near the intersection with 5th Avenue.
- Speed feedback sign installation before construction starts.
- Mid-block speed cushions between 3rd and 4th Avenues.
- Install traffic calming treatments in adjacent neighborhoods during construction.
- Tighten the southbound turn from 11th Avenue onto Virginia Street.
- Install Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) if feasible.
Our team looks forward to hearing your comments on the draft concept and that will be available on this page once the details are finished. Thank you for all of your support and input. It will help this project reflect the neighborhood vision and create a coherent corridor for all users.
September 2022 Update
September 2022 Update
Thank you to all the residents that took our survey this past April and May!
Common issues identified by survey respondents were speeding, traffic noise, poor walking experience, missing sidewalks and too few places to cross the street, a variety of problems related to the curve in the street between 1st and 2nd Avenue, lack of bike lanes, inconsistent stop signs, and some poor sight lines at corners.
Almost 250 residents and neighbors completed our survey. 40 survey respondents indicated they live on Virginia Street itself. Of these:
- 68% walk frequently on Virginia Street
- 40% bicycle on Virginia Street
- 18% take the 223 or F11 buses
- Most own their homes
- 2.5% are 22-30 years old, 7.5% are 31-40, 30% are 41-50, 12.5% are 51-60, and 45% are over 60
For the remainder of the respondents:
- Half of them walk or bike on Virginia
- They are demographically identical to respondents to this survey as a whole
Frequently cited issues from everyone include:
- Speeding, especially downhill traffic
- Traffic noise
- Poor walking experience due to missing or narrow sidewalks and too few places to cross Virginia Street
- Dangerous driving conditions when roads are slick from snow, at the curve between 1st and 2nd Avenues, and at the 11th Avenue intersection (no uphill stop)
- Lack of (at least uphill) bike lanes
- Poorly maintained and seemingly ineffective median islands
- Poor sight lines and overgrown vegetation at some intersections
Your comments and ideas will make the project so much better. Over the next few months, the City’s Transportation and Engineering Divisions will work on developing design solutions/recommendations for the issues that you identified.
To be added to the project email list for construction updates, please send us an email.
Email | email@example.com
Social Media | @SLCmoves @SLCgov