Bus shelters needed at dangerous stops in the Basin
December 24, 2007
Getting to work at The Canyons requires Snyderville Basin resident Renee Whitehead to ride the bus.
She waits nervously in the dark on State Road 224 as some cars whiz by faster than 60 mph.
"The other night, two of our boys nearly got wiped out by a bus," Whitehead explained while standing at a bus stop on the highway Saturday. "It’s really muddy. It’s like slush."
But to justify spending $20,000 to install a bus shelter, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said at least 20 people must use the stop per day.
"There is a little bit more to it than just going out there and popping one up," Callahan said, adding that agreements must be reached with property owners and utility lines avoided. "We’re getting there; the numbers are building all the time."
Needed shelters are expected to be built on Ute Boulevard and at Redstone Towne Center in 2008, he said.
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Today about 10 bus shelters exist in the Snyderville Basin, Callahan said.
"Definitely, given our winter weather, the more high-occupancy stops, where we get 15 or 20 people a day, that’s really where we need to have the shelters," he said. "I would love to make sure that everybody has a good, safe place to wait for the bus."
Still, installing shelters at bus stops on State Road 224 and Highland Drive is challenging, Callahan said.
But three bus shelters are slated along the east side of S.R. 224 next year, he added.
Recently, county officials built shelters at the Powderwood condominiums, a new park-and-ride lot in Jeremy Ranch and near Ecker Hill International Middle School.
Bus shelters are also slated for installation near Wal-Mart and the Sheldon Richins Building, Callahan said.
Meanwhile, Whitehead complained that snow often piles up in front of shelters when plows pass by.
"That’s another area that we’re working on to figure out how we can keep all of these sidewalks cleaned up," Callahan said. "They’re not cleaning up around the shelters."
He said he hopes solar-powered lights inside the shelters make them appeal to more riders.
"The transit system doesn’t like to put shelters in unless there is a signalized intersection where there is a safe crossing for the highway," Callahan said. "We don’t want to endanger people crossing the road trying to get to the bus."
Driving the need for more bus shelters in the Basin is a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of passengers this year.
"First they ask for bus stops, and then, if people have had to wait outside in the winter, they’ll ask, why don’t we have a shelter?" Callahan said.