Skyler Beltran | Lehi Free Press
Lime Scooter Agreement
Have you seen those electric scooters around Downtown Salt Lake City? Soon, you’ll see them not only in the big city but here in Lehi. Kenzie Viau, Operations Manager for Lime Scooters updated the City Council on current negotiations to bring the green scooters to Lehi. The scooters will initially start with a 90-day trial period solely in the Thanksgiving Point business district and the FrontRunner station area. “We ideally would like to expand to the Cabela’s area on the other side [of the freeway] once the overpass is completed,” said Viau.
The scooters will cost riders an initial $1 and then 25 cents per minute thereafter. Users will see the approved area map on the smartphone app after unlocking the scooter. Those who drive the scooter beyond the approved area will continue to incur fees until the scooter is parked within the use area. With winter approaching, it is anticipated the program will start in the spring. When reached for comment, Councilmember Chris Condie said “I am excited for Lime Scooters to bring their product to Lehi. I believe this service will be very beneficial to those who live and work in Lehi.” Lehi will become the seventh city in Utah to welcome Lime Scooters. Other cities include Draper, Farmington, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Sandy, and West Valley City.
The joint work session was largely spent on a growth and development presentation by Tom Murphy, past Mayor of Pittsburgh and current member of the Urban Land Institute. Murphy was introduced as a successful leader of change and growth for the City of Pittsburgh. Murphy was Mayor from 1994 to 2016 and is credited with leading Pittsburgh out of its declining steel industry, ultimately receiving the highest civilian award in the City of Pittsburgh, the “Key to the City.”
Mayor Mark Johnson welcomed Murphy by saying “Everybody knows that in Lehi we have a lot of rapid growth and we will continue to have that.” Murphy responded and started his presentation by saying “Like it or not, you’re growing at an incredibly rapid rate, and if you don’t think about how to manage that, it will overwhelm you.” A core concept of Murphy’s presentations was the market change toward mixed-use zoning and development to include varied residential, commercial, office, and retail. Mixed-use is designed for work, live and play lifestyle. Throughout the discussion, the need for transit continued to be prevalent. Mayor Johnson acknowledged the shift toward mass transit but also expressed the challenges Lehi faces by saying “Welcoming transit has been difficult, it’s a foreign mode of transportation for [people here].”
Along with transit, Murphy discussed success stories regarding changing the thought process from surface parking to parking garages, saying “The worst possible land use is surface parking.” When asked by a developer in the audience about how to afford parking garages, which are usually cost-prohibitive, Murphy said it will take a collaborative effort from multiple stakeholders to make it work. Although the presentation wasn’t specific to Downtown, it was an area on the minds of many. “We’re moving to more of a mixed-use on Main Street,” said Councilmember Paige Albrecht.
Mayor Johnson also expressed the desire to preserve the rich history of Downtown Lehi, as much as possible. Murphy reiterated “People want to live in a place that is vibrant.” A planning Commissioner asked how Murphy was able to work with opposition from his Community, Murphy said, “There will be people who don’t agree, but you can’t just not do it, you need to keep going.”
Throughout the presentation, Murphy listed the successes of cities around the country that have embraced mixed-use development including Union Station in Denver (a billion-dollar railroad station conversion), Southside Works in Pittsburgh (a mixed-use project anchored by The Cheesecake Factory in an old steel mill), and King Street in Charleston (a mixed-use retail row housed in restored historic buildings). When reached for comment, Councilman Johnny Revill said “I was very impressed by the words of Tom Murphy, a proven leader in development in Pittsburgh. As he said, ‘You can’t stop the future’ and by the future, he was referring to the growth we will be experiencing. I would echo that statement but add at the end, “So you might as well make it something special.” I think we have the opportunity to make the future of Lehi something very special with good, smart planning that involves traditional residential, transit-oriented development which mixes residential, commercial, retail and community gathering areas where families can enjoy themselves with a variety of amenities. To do that, we may have to think outside of the box of traditional development and get creative as Mayor Murphy discussed.”