Park City and Summit County leaders are wise in placing regional transportation toward the top of their to-do lists. In a joint meeting of the Park City and Summit County councils this week, elected leaders acknowledged their concerns about the area's increasing population and accompanying traffic congestion.
Both entities have made strides over the last few years toward expanding mass transit and encouraging alternate forms of transportation, but the number of cars on the road is still outpacing the number of people using buses and bike paths. If left unresolved, traffic congestion will take a toll, not only on the environment but on businesses and residents' overall quality of life, too.
In a refreshing contrast to the contentious atmosphere in Washington, D.C., Monday's meeting of local politicos was marked by cooperation, optimism and imagination. The discussion bounced back and forth between practical details like bus stops and parking fees but also touched on more ambitious and aesthetic ideas like light rail and electromagnetic induction vehicles.
The discussions come at an opportune time as Salt Lake and Wasatch counties grapple with the same issues. And, in a remarkably cooperative effort, all have pledged to combine research and planning resources through the Mountain Accord initiative.
The comprehensive Mountain Accord effort brings together experts and interest groups from Save Our Canyons to Ski Utah, from the U.S. Forest Service to the Salt Lake Chamber. It is an ambitious constituency but its diversity also promises to offer the best solutions.
The Utah Transit Authority was an early supporter of many discussions among local officials and has continued to offer its expertise to Park City and Summit County. Their regional outlook, urban experience and willingness to consider a wide variety of options has been key to moving toward innovative solutions.
Of course, the final implementation of any new effort will be up to local residents and visitors and their willingness to be early adopters. It's something to think about next time you are stuck in traffic on State Road 224, or find yourself circling for parking at Kimball Junction or in Old Town.
For more information about the Mountain Accord regional planning initiative go to: mountainaccord.com