City’s new transit manager, from Tahoe, getting up to speed
June 9, 2015
Park City has a new transportation planning manager and his early focus is on getting the lay of the land.
Alfred Knotts has been in his new role for three-plus weeks now. He said he’s been learning the "internal culture" in City Hall’s transit-related departments as well as those relating to sustainability and economic development.
"The other portion of that is to know the community in itself, and the economics, the partners, the geography obviously. The state highway system is kind of the issue of the current day today," he said.
Knotts also said he’ll be aiming to learn how different events around town operate, as well as the resorts. Prior to his arrival in Park City, Knotts worked in regional transportation in the Lake Tahoe region.
"In Lake Tahoe we had I think 18 ski resorts, if you count the mom-and-pop ski resorts, so I’m very familiar with those kinds of issues when it comes to the resort management, working with those partners," he said.
Navigating different government agencies was also crucial for Knotts in Tahoe.
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"Lake Tahoe encompasses both California and Nevada. And then there are five different counties within that jurisdiction as well as one incorporated city. And then a variety of large tracts of Forest Service land. So there are a lot of different federal, state and local agencies that have a stake in Lake Tahoe, to say the least," he said.
Though Tahoe is larger, Knotts said it has many similarities with Park City. He said that new road building is prohibited in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
"So in that sense it’s very similar — it’s very constrained. It’s kind of a victim of its own beauty. Everyone wants to come there, everyone wants to see it and spend time there and families have been coming for generations and so on," he said. "But it’s a very constrained area. When everybody gets there, it’s hard to get everybody, mobility-wise and access-wise, to move."
"It’s similar in that sense, that it’s confined geographically, like Park City is — you know, once you have these two state highway systems coming in, there’s really no place else for people to go," he said.
"We have a very good transit system here, which is a very good backbone to build on," Knotts said.
"We have a very good trail system, it’s very walkable down in Old Town and other areas. We really just need to kind of build onto that. We have a very good foundation to build on, so I see the same issues that come with Lake Tahoe, that we have an area where people want to visit and we have to be able to accommodate that to a certain extent, but not with building out roads or increasing capacity that way because it’s only going to exacerbate an existing problem," he said. "So we need to look at getting people shifted onto the bus, walking."
Knotts mentioned "aerial connections" as being successful in Tahoe.
"We have a gondola in Lake Tahoe that is down by the casino corridor and down at the bottom of Heavenly that now connects to the middle of the mountain from the town, and that’s cut down on traffic substantially," he said.
"It’s really going to come down to public outreach also. I don’t see a lot of locals necessarily right now — maybe I’m wrong on this — but riding the bus too much. So everybody has to be kind of part of the solution," he said. "I think we have the attraction to get people onto the bus and the infrastructure to get people to walk and bike, now it’s more of an outreach type of thing, and making sure people are aware of the services."
Knotts said that while he has his own ideas about future transit solutions, he wants to make sure he has local support.
"I don’t come with all the answers and I’m the first one to admit that," he said. "Every community is very unique, so I’m really just trying to understand the community and what the wills are of the community. You know, when I mentioned no road-widening or building is really the answer, I want to make sure that’s consistent with what the community wants also.
"Coming up with those solutions that are community-supported and getting engagement and buy-in is key."