As more and more people are discovering, there are bike jumps underneath the I-15 overpass at 700 West on 900 South, also known as the 9-Line Bike Park. Arriving on a weekday late afternoon, one can expect a wide variety of people—from young children pushing Strider bikes on the beginner pump track while their parents watch and chat together, to seasoned veterans riding the advanced line that has jumps that can loft the rider 8-plus feet in the air. In 2014, the Poplar Grove Community Council started a reassignment of this land, according to Tyler Murdock, Project Manager of the City’s Parks and Public Lands Program. With its completion in 2017, the 2018 phase of the 9-Line Bike Park will incorporate community artwork, signage and regular community volunteer days to help with maintenance and ensuring the longevity of this wonderful public park.
SLUG: What made the 9-Line Park project happen? What was the intent of building this park?
Tyler Murdock: The 9-Line Bike Park was originally envisioned as part of the 2014 West Side Master Planning process. During this process, the City worked with community members to construct a small pump track at the corner of 900 South and 700 West as a urban intervention to help activate this blighted public space. After the original pump track was constructed in 2014, there was considerable community interest in expanding the bike park east underneath the I-15 corridor.
SLUG: Who was involved with making it initially happen, and who is continuing with keeping it running?
Murdock: The Salt Lake City Public Lands program was able to secure the necessary funding for the 9-Line Bike Park and was tasked with leading the expansion efforts, but the primary motivating force came from representatives within the Poplar Grove Community Council. This group saw a vacant City property that had historically been plagued with crime, littering and illegal dumping as an opportunity to improve their community and activate the 9-Line Trail Corridor. Staff worked with representatives from the Community Council to develop ideas, conceptual designs and identify possible funding mechanisms to implement the project.
The Salt Lake City Trails and Natural Lands program will be the primary entity responsible for the 9-Line Bike Park moving forward. To help with these efforts, the City has partnered with the Salt Lake Valley Trails Society to help lead regular volunteer events at the 9-Line Bike Park and is working on the creation of a stewardship program that will help maintain and improve the park moving forward. For more information on volunteer opportunities and upcoming SLVTS events, please see: saltlakevalleytrailssociety.org.
SLUG: What does a project like this cost?
Murdock: The 9-Line Bike Park project was completed on a very limited budget of approximately 80k. Most of the dirt used for construction was obtained for free from the Zellerbach Construction site located at (2250 S. 300 East). The City was able to use internal crews for much of the initial earth moving and then contracted with Sagebrush Trails and Services to finalize design and construction of the Park.
SLUG: What plans do you have to update the Park in the near future? What are the timelines for those?
Murdock: We are planning several upgrades and improvements for 2018, which include:
1. Signage: Installation of new signage throughout the Park, which will help to both formalize the park and provide users with information to improve user experience and reduce conflict at the Park. (Spring 2018)
2. General Maintenance: The contractor who original built the Park will be back onsite this spring to repair and modify areas of the park that experienced challenges during the first few months’ operation. We will be bringing in a higher-quality dirt to help patch and repair degraded areas. (Spring 2018)
3. Irrigation: All dirt-bike parks require irrigation or moisture to help maintain the jumps. Since the 9-Line Bike Park is underneath the I-15 corridor, it does not receive any moisture in the form of rain or snow. There is currently irrigation lines in the Park, but they require users to hand-water the riding surfaces, which has been problematic for regular maintenance. The City will be exploring several automated irrigation options that can help provide the necessary moisture to improve riding surfaces. (Summer 2018)
4. Regular volunteer events with Salt Lake Valley Trails Society (see SLVTS website and calendar for detail on events).
5. Community Artwork: Public Lands staff is working with the Salt Lake City Arts Council to hire an artist to complete artwork on both the shipping container and several other surfaces at the Park to improve the aesthetics and visibility of the Park. (Summer 2018)
6. We are currently in the process of hiring several part-time Bike Park–maintenance specialists who will be able to significantly help with the general maintenance and upkeep of the site. Ongoing maintenance has been one of our concerns from the outset of the project, so we are excited to have this additional capacity.
SLUG: Are there any plans for expansion of 9-Line?
Murdock: 9-Line Bike Park: No further expansion will take place at this location. SLC Public Lands will continue to make adjustments and improvements to the existing park, but there is no additional space for further expansion at this site.
9-Line Trail: The 9-Line Trail currently exists from Redwood Road to 700 West and ends at the 9-Line Bike Park. SLC Transportation is finalizing plans that will extend the trail east to Emigration Canyon. Details on these efforts can be found here.
9-Line Community Garden: This community-garden project was also recently completed in 2017. This community garden was designed and constructed in partnership with Wasatch Community Gardens and has become a unique 9-Line Trail amenity for residents of the Poplar Grove and Glendale neighborhoods. Wasatch Community Gardens maintains and manages the garden plots at this location.
SLUG: I’ve seen a very wide age range at 9-Line, including whole families show up—is that what you were hoping for?
Murdock: Yes! Providing a recreational opportunities for all kids of all ages was a key element in the design of the 9-Line Bike Park project. The Park has five separate riding options that range from an entry-level Strider bike-pump track for young toddlers to expert level jumps for the most advanced riders. There are several other bike parks within Salt Lake City that are really only accessible to the best riders, and the intent of this project was to create something that was accessible to all riders.
SLUG: What might the plans be to build more parks like this?
Murdock: Salt Lake City Public Lands has been thrilled with the excitement and support surrounding the 9-Line Bike Park, and at this time, we are committed to improving and establishing partnerships to make it a success. Bike parks of this nature require continual maintenance and community support to thrive, and we still have work to do to make this happen here. There are no current plans for future bike parks within the City, but the Trails and Natural Lands program is committed to working with community members to find new recreational opportunities throughout the City. The SLC Trails and Natural Lands program is currently focusing on the creation of a new trail network within the City’s foothills, which will provide hiking and biking opportunities for a wide range of users. More information on these efforts can be found at slcgov.com/TrailsPlan.
Spring 2018 will see seasonal maintenance as well as new dirt and potential irrigation lines to help with preserving the functionality of the bike park. They will be posting information about volunteer dig/maintenance days on signage around the park and encourage anyone to come help with the upkeep of this park that was built for everyone to enjoy.