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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County Bicycle Committee Joins Forces to Encourage More Biking in Kearns


May 28, 2021

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Multiple organizations across Salt Lake County joined forces in May to grow a bicycle community in Kearns.

As part of National Bike Month, Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee (SLCBAC) and Bike Utah worked together to identify an area in Salt Lake County, through key indicators, that would benefit from increased connection to bike routes and outreach of their availability.

In partnership with the Greater Salt Lake MSD, an area in Kearns was chosen and work got quickly underway.

On Thursday, May 27, Blair Tomten, chair of Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Hugh Van Wagenen with the Wasatch Front Regional Council, installed new wayfinding signs in Kearns to encourage youth and families to bike between local elementary schools and the Kearns Library as part of the "Camp Kearns Neighborhood Route."

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The routes where new signs were installed were selected based on greater social vulnerability scores and the need for quiet, local streets where it would be safest to bike.

The goal is to encourage safe opportunities for kids and families to bicycle together, so they can enjoy the many benefits from recreating or choosing it as an alternative form of transportation.

Kearns residents can submit pictures and stories from their biking experiences to be featured online

Learn more about the Bike Kearns Project and Kearn's Active Transportation Plan by the MSD by visiting https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/6eb6db758db04859ba09d412d876bb59.

Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee is made up resident volunteers in every district of the County who are all passionate about promoting bicycling as a safe, healthy, equitable, and beneficial mode of transportation.

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Where is the Future of Commercial Office Space Headed in Salt Lake County?


May 26, 2021

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Unprecedented numbers of the Salt Lake County office-based workforce transitioned to working from home during the worst of COVID-19, and many still do today.

It’s no surprise that it significantly impacted office space and that market. Businesses are reevaluating how they work in the office and the future of design.

Where Does Office Space Stand?

Nadia Letey, senior vice president at CBRE, shared fascinating insights into occupancy and workplace trends with us. According to Nadia, the current pace of economic recovery and resilience of Salt Lake County’s economy will pave the way for a brighter 2021.

Industry trends from CBRE showed 65% of its accounts partially returned to the office by April 2021.

Subleasing is on the rise, and being seen across the U.S. Fortunately, the Salt Lake market shouldn’t see the same trajectory as 2020; current total vacancy is 16.2%. However, the forecast for our area puts vacancy at 24% if 2020 trends continue, with the majority driven by sublease.

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Rental rates are strong and increasing; landlords are trying to hold firm on lease rates, but accommodating higher concession packages in tenant improvements and the like.

An interesting trend in office space use for one industry stands out. It seems call centers are one industry that is being more aggressive in projecting keeping employees working from home. The industry is seeing positives from managing productivity remotely and increasing its retention of employees, which has traditionally been more difficult. It will be interesting to watch how this trend continues or is maintained.

Where is Office Space Headed?

CBRE expects to see further absorption of Class A Office Space moving forward as companies try to find a way to get workers to come back and want to physically be in the office, rather than at home. This will further the amenities strategy many have come to know and expect from tech companies coming to Utah and elsewhere in the country. 

Dave Anderson, with Babcock design, also presented insights, focused to the design of office space.

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“Hot-Desking,” (or “hoteling,” “we space”, desk sharing, etc.) will provide flexible workstations as some office spaces reduce their footprint to accommodate employees working from home multiple days per week. The challenges of desk sharing, Dave says, are technology and ease of use. If it’s not convenient, employees aren’t going to see it as an option equal to or better than working from home.

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What to Look for Moving Forward

#1: A Hybrid Workplace

There will be a mix of work from home and office work. People will come back, but many don’t know what exactly that will look like and what the percentage will be.

Common opinions are gravitating towards a three-day model, with either all employees in office on the same days, and others looking at staggered schedules. This will result in a mixed-presence collaboration, that will be dependent on technology moving forward.

#2: Employees Prefer Home

There’s a very strong desire from employees to continue working from home. A study by Babcock Design showed that three key benefits stood out to those who transitioned to a work-from-home environment:

  • Productivity increased (62%)
  • Elimination of commute time (34%)
  • More connection with family (34%)

 #3 Solutions to What was Lost

There were universal things that unraveled while working from home and will need ongoing attention. Babcock Design shared the top challenges it found through its surveys:

  • IT problems (34%)
  • Reduced belonging/culture (31%)
  • Lack of collaboration (29%)

Salt Lake County TIF Policy Evaluated for Improvements by Outside Agency in New Report


May 26, 2021

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A new report and evaluation of Salt Lake County Tax Increment Financing (TIF) policy, conducted by third-party experts SB Friedman Developer Advisors, was presented to Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

The full report evaluated Salt Lake County's current TIF policies and practices by researching how TIF is currently used as an economic development tool in Utah; how Utah's implementation of TIF compares elsewhere in the nation; and comparing case studies. Additionally, SB Friedman interviewed local municipalities for applicable feedback, issues, and reviewed 10 TIF project proposals for analysis.

TIF is a tool used for economic development by municipalities to stimulate private development for the betterment of the community in certain project areas that, but for the use of tax increment dollars, redevelopment would otherwise prove unlikely or difficult. The redevelopment agency can then use the tax increment dollars it collects from the project area to incentivize development for a specified amount of time.

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Following this research, several recommendations were made to Salt Lake County to improve the TIF process, including:

  • Clarify the TIF process with clear timelines, requirements, eligible project types, and a set of expectations.
  • Build capacity: Develop templates, conduct trainings and partner with others for trainings.
  • Collaborate with taxing entities and municipalities: Salt Lake County should convene major taxing bodies to establish common requirements in analyses and build partnerships with municipalities. 

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The full detail of recommended changes made to Salt Lake County is available in the report. 

As part of the ongoing process of improving Salt Lake County's TIF policy and becoming a better partner, a new webpage launched at slco.org/economic-development/TIF, where the TIF Area Project Database, future templates, and more detailed project application criteria can be found.

Following the presentation of this report, Salt Lake County Economic Development will continue to coordinate with Salt Lake County Council on next steps and future implementation of recommendations.


You Drive? Then You Should Know These 5 Tips to be a Better Bike Ally in Salt Lake County


May 19, 2021

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We've all likely heard the refrain at some point in our adult lives ... "Utah drivers are the worst."

While you and I might not technically be ranked the worst in the nation, there are some simple things we can learn to be better allies to neighbors who are biking on Salt Lake County roads.

So, participate in National Bike Month, even if you stick to four wheels, by checking out these five tips.

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1. "Don't (Drive) Too Close to Me"

Keep 3 feet of distance between your vehicle and bicyclists. What does that look like? When you pass, you should be able to fit the width of a table ... or Danny DeVito ... or 30 Bibles between your vehicle and the bicyclist. The 3-feet rule is actually in Utah state code (the Danny DeVito part isn't).

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2. Cool Your Wheels

While you're in your vehicle next to a bicyclist, now is not the time to pick up Jazz hands, honk, or harass the other party.

Distracting them on purpose can cause serious injury, and it's against the law in Utah.

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3. Checking twice is nice

Look twice before turning left or right. This might be normal practice already; but chances are, you're usually just looking for other vehicles ... and not approaching bicyclists, which can be harder to see.

 

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4. Door's Wide Open

As motorists, we might not think about it being a big deal to open our car door and get out when parked on a street. (After all, the hard part of parallel parking is over.) But, quickly opening your door can be a danger to a potential cyclist passing by, causing them to swerve from their path.

No one wants to closeline their neighbor, so just do a quick mirror check, yeah?

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5. A Fair Brake

We share the road, and both have equal rights to it. Cars and trucks might be bigger, but bicyclists have just as much right to be there. This means drivers have to be courteous and careful while we're behind the wheel.

Plus, more and more Utahns are choosing to ride bikes for transportation and for fun since the pandemic, which means there are more cyclists on the road. 

Learn more about Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee (SLCBAC) and the work these local volunteers do to make the county more bicycle-friendly!