October 11, 2008
I’ve been watching, in astonishment, as discussions have progressed around how to address Park City’s single most pressing issue. I am speaking, of course, about the extra six minutes it is estimated to take morning commuters to travel from Highway 40 to SR 224 every morning. We’ve been told that by 2020 the time could triple if we don’t act now. This must be some sort of cruel joke.
Imagine this Park City (in) the year 2020. Three times as many cars. The logjams. The impossible left-hand turns. The idling cars spewing out their smog.
But worry not! We are so close to an international airport. The commute for skiers is so much easier than everywhere else. We will continue to attract the tourists, and our town will prosper. So let’s continue the discussion. Do not discuss WHETHER we should expand the roads, but instead debate what form the expansion should take.
Let’s get back that six minutes.
Let’s increase vehicle capacity, keep the traffic flowing, and pave more parking lots to accommodate the extra vehicles we’ll see by 2020.
I find the whole discussion depressing, and, quite frankly, insulting to those who work so hard on a whole host of other issues designed to keep this town in the state that attracted us here in the first place.
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If Park City has become a place where we are willing to suffer all of the negative consequences tied to these proposed solutions, in an effort to make driving easier, and to save six minutes, then we have lost the battle.
I want to challenge every official, employer and citizen of Park City to consider the correct long-term solution. Instead of trying to save six minutes, let’s consider building a few world-class park-and-rides on the outskirts of town. Place them near Interstate 80 and Highway 40. Make them attractive and equip them with amenities so commuters can get their coffee and papers for a short, pleasant commute into town.
Stop building more parking spaces, reduce the cars clogging our streets, and mandate that clean, efficient and safe public transportation bring people into our beautiful town, and transport them to and from our businesses.
Do this and we will continue to attract the skiers. They will envy that we live here. They will applaud that we fought for our town and made difficult decisions to safeguard this special place. Let’s slow down and take some time to consider the opportunity we have to make a great decision. If we do this, in 2020, we might still see moose crossing SR 248 and know that we made it possible.