Letters to the Editor, January 27-29, 2010
Winter finally arrived last week in Park City and it’s become obvious that we’ve been ignoring a huge source of pain and suffering in the transportation strategy of our town. The main roads into town are a mess on a good summer day and horrible on a snow-filled winter day. I’m no transportation engineer or consultant, but as a long-time Park City resident and one who believes strongly in walking and public transit, I think I have some insight as to how our system is broken and what we can do to fix it.
Despite the "best efforts" of our political leaders, the community, our conscientious developers and the three local ski areas, a majority of Park City’s working population cannot afford to live in town and are living in the county or surrounding communities, namely Heber, Midway and Kamas. This means they have to drive into town to jobs that require them to be at work on a specific day at a specific time, whereas those who can actually afford to live in Park Town have more flexible schedules and can often delay the morning commute or even skip work in favor of first tracks on a powder day.
Park City’s working class, many of whom are from Mexico or other Latin American countries, have little or no experience driving in the snow. Their low-pay service-industry jobs don’t afford the luxury of owning Range Rovers, BMW X-series wagons or other reliable four-wheel-drive vehicles, never mind a decent set of snow tires.
So what happens when it snows? We have a lot of hard-working people with little experience driving in the snow making their way into town, hazards flashing, in less-than-ideal vehicles. While in town we have a slew of late-model sport-utility vehicles racing through Old Town to the roundabout and onto Deer Valley or PCMR for first tracks. I would hazard a guess that the occupants of said vehicles have never had a ride on our beautiful town buses. Meanwhile, our very reliable and somewhat empty bus system (Sundance excluded) that is focused on in-town transportation only adds to the traffic mess.
What to do? Cut out some of the in-town routes and offer reliable morning and evening bus service to Heber, Midway, and Kamas. Our city government might even request a partnership or subsidies from the ski resorts and developments, as it is their employees who are trying to get into town on time.
We should offer incentives for those skiers who take buses to the resorts and discourage locals parking at the resorts. True locals, if they really cared about our environment or lifestyle, should walk or ride the bus anyway, but if they need a nudge to leave the SUV at home a few short blocks from the lift, maybe taking parking meters off Main and putting them at the resort would be worth a try (use the income to subsidize rural buses).
I’m sure our police department would also save a ton of time and effort if the arteries in our town were occupied by a few more buses and lot less cars every morning.
Strand is a heroDeer Valley is on road to Vancouver mid-afternoon, my heat was fully functioning and I was charged only half the labor rate charged by similar businesses. That is Roger — honest, dependable and fair.
This is not the first time that he has come to my rescue. The most noteworthy event was when I awoke to no heat a few years ago. In an effort to save me valuable time and money, Roger told me to put on my "snow bunny outfit." He stayed on the phone with me while I clambered outside in the early morning darkness and dug out the heat exhaust that was buried in snow. No charge, and my heat was working before my kids were even out of bed. This is only one example of why I will always be loyal to Roger Strand for as long as he is willing to repair my furnace.
Thanks, Roger, for never letting me down and always being willing to help no matter what time of the day.
Towing charges are outrageous
I just want to voice my opinion on the outrageous rates that Park City Towing charges. My daughter got towed out of Albertsons parking lot today. Any other time it would have been fine to park there and ski, but since Sundance is here, all the businesses are making a special effort to tow anyone who they think has parked there too long. Park City towing charges $120.00 for the tow, plus up to another $80.00 for storage and other outrageous fees. Keep in mind they only accept cash, and their ATM charges $6.00 to access cash. I think it’s a crime, but what can we do? I suggest that anytime you are in need of a tow and you have a choice, choose any other towing company other than Park City Towing. Oh, and be VERY careful where you park it town. Calling the towing company seems to be a lot of businesses’ favorite pastime.
Troy and Barb Coyle
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The Park City Planning Commission held a lengthy meeting about a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort, centering the discussion on traffic and transportation.