THE SALT LAKE SCENE >
Straight-Street City: A Visitor's DreamJanuary 30, 2010 at 11:01AM
I grew up in northern Utah; Logan, to be specific. When I was in high school, it was a real treat to come to the big city. Whether it was with friends, for family, or to enjoy some skiing at the big resorts, I loved my visits to the big town. One of my fondest memories was the first time I looked down onto the city from atop Ensign Peak. I remember being fascinated with the square-block layout of the city. It appears so organized, and it is. For the first time in my life, I wasn't intimidated by the size of Salt Lake City. Instead, I felt I would have no problem finding my way to any address in the valley. And for a small-town boy like me, that was saying something.That said, there are very few cities in the country--or the world--that can say they have straight streets, not to mention a consistent street-numbering system like the one that runs throughout the entire Salt Lake Valley. This comes in especially helpful for visitors unfamiliar with the area. Instead of memorizing lefts, rights, ups, and downs, all one has to do is count.Salt Lake's interstate layout is also ideal. Access to any highlight in the valley is usually within 20 minutes with easy access to the interstate system. I-15 gives you speedy access in North-South directions while the I-215 belt loupe accesses most major residential destinations. I don't know if it's the medium-size city or if the freeway layout is actually that great, but getting from A to B for me is rarely over 20 minutes in Salt Lake Valley.Perhaps the best benefit for visitors is where the airport is found in relationship to the rest of the valley. From SLC Int'l Airport, visitors make it downtown in less than 10 minutes, to the northern-most part of the valley in five minutes, and to the southern-most part of the valley in 15 minutes. Skiers enjoy knowing that seven of the country's best ski resorts in three of the most ideal recreational canyons in the state can all be accessed in less than 45 minutes. These resorts include the following resorts: Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and The Canyons. The airport is close to everything, but far enough away from the city that you don't feel like the planes are landing our your head. While nobody can claim that any city has a perfect street system, I argue that Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley are the closest.