Sweeney idea: build crucial stretch of sidewalk | ParkRecord.com

Sweeney idea: build crucial stretch of sidewalk

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

In a bid to convince the Park City Planning Commission pedestrians will be kept safe once the Treasure development is built, the Sweeney family has tinkered with the ideas for the project, proposing what the family’s side sees as a crucial stretch of sidewalk close to the Treasure site.

The idea comes as the Planning Commissioners and project opponents continue to deride the Treasure blueprints, and it was mentioned as another round of talks between the panel and the family approaches. An important meeting between the Sweeneys and the Planning Commission had been slated for late June but was delayed until July 22.

Pat Sweeney, who represents his family, said in an interview his side will present the plan for the sidewalk during the upcoming meeting. According to Sweeney, the new stretch of sidewalk will ensure a "convenient, safe" route for pedestrians close to Treasure.

Under the revised plans, the Sweeneys would build the sidewalk on the downhill side of Empire Avenue and then loop it to the uphill side of Lowell Avenue. The sidewalk would run between the Treasure site and the Resort Center. Sweeney calls it a "circular pedestrian system." There are generally not sidewalks at the location now.

"That way people can walk up or down the street," he said.

The project would be built on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort just off the Empire Avenue-Lowell Avenue turnaround.

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There have been widespread concerns among people who live along the nearby roads and Planning Commissioners about whether pedestrians can be kept safe once Treasure is built. The critics contend that the traffic heading to and from Treasure will endanger people walking on the roads.

The Sweeneys have thus far been unsuccessful in their efforts to convince the critics that the roads can be kept safe for pedestrians. People who live on streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue have shown wintertime pictures of cramped streets with little roadway available for two vehicles traveling in opposite directions to pass each other.

With the alterations that the Sweeneys expect to present to the Planning Commission, the family says it is confident as it prepares for the upcoming discussion with the panel.

"I feel good about what we’re doing. I think it’s an improvement on what we’ve proposed in the past," Sweeney said.

Meanwhile, the Sweeneys in recent weeks have emphasized the idea that Lowell Avenue should be the primary access to Treasure. In a document put on Treasure’s Web site, the Sweeneys say Lowell Avenue is a "modern street" with houses required to have off-street parking. It says the former owner of the Treasure land helped finance the construction of Lowell Avenue years ago through assessments.

Other road upgrades outlined on the Web site include putting in more landscaping, limiting the width of travel lanes and enforcing lower speed limits on Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue.

The Sweeneys hold longstanding rights for the Treasure development as part of an overall plan that dates to the 1980s and included nearby projects that have since been built.

The family is seeking an approval that allows a hotel with approximately 200 rooms and approximately 100 condominiums. They are also asking for 19,000 square feet of commercial space. Work force housing would also be built at the site.

The project, though, has perplexed the Planning Commission through the more than five years that the talks have been ongoing. The panel remains concerned that the project will have wide-ranging impacts on the neighborhood, with much of the discussions focused on traffic.

An agenda for the July 22 meeting had not been released by midweek. If Treasure is put on the agenda, it will likely be a well-attended meeting. Opponents have dominated recent hearings about Treasure.

The Sweeneys have made information available on the Treasure Web site in anticipation of the July 22 meeting. The address is http://www.treasureparkcity.com. Once at the site, select ‘Presentations’ and then select ‘Traffic Presentation 7.22.2009 (Draft 1)" on the bottom of the left side of the page.

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