More Dogs on Main Street
I have a suggestion to make. Instead of building the proposed IHC hospital at Quinn s Junction as a general medical facility, let s build a mental hospital. It s obvious that anybody who believes the IHC traffic study should be committed. Apparently, most of City Hall has drunk the Kool-Aid and seems to believe that 200,000 square feet of hospital and office space (in just the first phase; nobody seems to know what happens as the whole 150-acre site gets built out) will have no traffic impact on S.R. 248. Get the butterfly nets. Last week s paper reported that the traffic study found that the hospital campus will generate an additional 3,157 car trips per day on 248. And nobody is going to notice because the hospital traffic has stealth technology. It appears that the traffic study was written by the deranged Dick Cheney, who says we are in the last throes of the traffic jams, and that the 3,157 cars going to the hospital each day will be greeted as liberators. That count doesn t include the new park-and-ride lot the Montage Hotel people are required to build — just off 248. That should reduce the number of cars on the road once you get people in and out of the park-and-ride lot. But except for the Montage employees who will live in their cars at the shuttle lot, they still have to get there some way. So there will be two new intersections on 248 with left-turn problems added to the mix. The solution seems to be the same as with the hospital traffic: The traffic fairy will come by and sprinkle pixie dust. Some backup is inevitable. You have two highways dumping 65 mph traffic out onto 248 just as it begins feeding into city traffic with lower speeds and multiple stop lights. Add in the school crossings at 20 mph, and the steady dribble of kids crossing to the seminary building all day, and 248 is going to be congested. This is where I always hear the voice of Nora Shepard, who was the city s planner in the 1980s, telling the planning commission that the seminary building should not be located across 248 from the schools because there would be traffic and safety problems caused by kids crossing the street all day. Nobody believed her because at that time, there were still more potguts than cars on 248. The hospital folks claim they can mitigate the traffic by installing yet another light with a left-turn cycle that further impedes the inbound flow on 248, and by adjusting their work schedules for off-peak times. The schools changed the start time in part to deal with the traffic problems a couple of years back. It made a significant difference, for a while. But as long as Park City continues to approve big, employee-intensive projects, while outsourcing its employee housing to Kamas and Heber, the traffic problem will keep growing. We are deliberately building traffic problems. I guess if the hospital workday starts at 3 a.m., it could work. I m not convinced that we need a hospital at all. But I m absolutely certain that we don t need another building permit for anything at Quinn s Junction until 248 is widened to four lanes, a pedestrian underpass is built at the schools, and the bus system expands to serve Heber and Kamas. Then we can talk about how an additional 3,157 cars a day will have absolutely no impact on an already failed road system. In addition to the hospital traffic study, which is up for a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, we are fortunate enough to have other delusional people in town to spread their message. Temple Har Shalom has a speaker s program that brings in a lot of interesting people, either by video or in person. This week they have neo-con, puzzle master William Kristol. Kristol is one of the intellectual fathers of the discredited U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The Iraq war was his idea, and it worked so well that he wants to bomb Iran. He appears to have a lot of time on his hands these days on account of being dead wrong about everything for the last four years. So he s in town, speaking about the IHC traffic study and the need to bomb Health South. Or something like that. I thought about going to hear him, purely for the comedic value of listening to his ongoing justifications for expanding a mistake. But people are dying every day because of his bad ideas. It s hard to find a lot of humor in it. Every now and then, a community is lucky enough to have a resident who bundles a unique set of skills, talent, leadership and resources in a way that really makes a lasting difference. For the last decade, we have had the benefit of Fr. Bob Bussen. Though his day job is at St. Mary s Catholic Church, his ministry reaches all of us, even if you ve never met him. Largely through his efforts, the relations between the white and Hispanic communities have gone from suspicion, indifference and hostility to inclusion, respect and caring. Whether it s the philosophy in the police department, the volunteer doctors and nurses at the People s Health Clinic, or several hundred kids who have learned to ski through the years, through Bob s leadership, we are a pretty united community. My skepticism runs as deep as Fr. Bob s faith. We approach the world very differently, though often arrive at the same place. As a non-Catholic, the current tension within the parish is not something I understand, nor is it any of my business. As a community, we have been fortunate to share in Bob s greater ministry of social justice and mutual respect. We re a vastly better place because of it. On a personal level, whether trying to perfect our telemark technique in the moguls, or solving all the problems of the world in philosophical discussions on the lifts, I m privileged to have Bob as a friend. Soldier on.
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