Portion of Rio Grande Street shut down to cars and people

Local News
[Update 9/7]
Thursday, Mayor Biskupski signed a lease agreement between Salt Lake City and the State of Utah, allowing the closure of Rio Grande street to vehicles and people.
 
The lease agreement is temporary but could last through January 1, 2020 (or thirty days after the Road Home closure). For now the agreement is through Nov. 30th but City Council may decide to extend the closure.
 
The City Council is expected to address the closure and hold the Public Benefits Hearing on September 19th.
 
The closure is a part of Operation Rio Grande.
 
[Previous story 8/31]
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  Friday morning, Salt Lake City Police and Utah Highway Patrol shut down a portion of Rio Grande Street near 200 W. The closure, said to be temporary, may become a two-year closure if city and state leaders have their way.
 
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes made a joint statement Thursday to update the public on Operation Rio Grande. 
 
Biskupski and Hughes detailed the future of a potential “safe space” for the homeless in the Rio Grande neighborhood.
 
The plan was to shut down Rio Grande Street to vehicle traffic starting Friday morning and launch a public feedback process, the mayor announced. 

Watch the Mayor’s announcement here: 


 
A public forum will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. to get public feedback on a longer term, “more robust” closure. 
 
An online questionnaire has been posted so citizens can weigh in on how they feel about closing the portion of the street. 
 
Biskupski says she wanted to be sure service providers in the area had the ability to manage the space. It was also important to her to preserve the public process and City Council’s role in the decision making. 
 
Earlier this week Hughes publicly called out Biskupski over the plan to close Rio Grande Street. Hughes accused her of holding up the process. Biskupski said that she supported the plan, but she did not want to circumvent the public input process.The mayor only has the power to temporarily close a street and it will be up to the city council to give final approval on a long term closure.

The Road Home issued the following statement Friday afternoon.

The Road Home is supportive of the many efforts to increase safety in the Rio Grande neighborhood.  It is of the utmost importance that people in need of services have easy access to those services.  We thank our law enforcement partners, as well as the leaders at the State, City and County levels for their dedicated efforts to identify and develop solutions to accomplish this goal.  The Road Home will continue to work closely with its partners to create a safe and welcoming space on Rio Grande Street.
 
Access to emergency services, such as shelter and food are a critical first step to engagement.  The Road Home will continue to help people by providing services on-site, referrals to partner organizations, and assistance into housing as quickly as possible.  
 
The closure of Rio Grande Street does not impact The Road Home donation drop off.  Donations may still be dropped off through the south side of the shelter facility from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
We wish to thank the community members who support our efforts and those we serve each day.
 
 
 
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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