Why does this street have so many lanes?

The street in the picture below is 400 South in downtown Salt Lake City. In general, it’s a massive and massively unpleasant street:

IMG_5226

Including turn lanes, there are a full six lanes of traffic for cars just in one direction. Here are the reasons this is a major problem:

1. It’s expensive. Maintaining this type of street is vastly more expensive than the analogous-but-smaller version of a downtown street you’d see in most cities.

2. It encourages speeding, which problem is exacerbated by Salt Lake City’s long blocks. That, in turn, increases the frequency and severity of accidents.

3. It’s extremely unpleasant to walk on. Note the small sidewalks and the lack of a buffer between the street and the pedestrian space.

4. It reduces the economic value of the street. Fast cars aren’t going to stop and even if they did complete streets have shown more economic strength than horrible stroads like this.

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