More Dogs on Main Street |

More Dogs on Main Street

Tom Clyde, Record columnist

I went in to vote on Super-duper Tuesday. It was kind of overwhelming. Among the top contenders we had a woman, an African-American, a Mormon, and a really old person. So many barriers there to be broken, but I only had one choice. After some confusion, I think I did the right thing. I wrote in Gladys Knight, and got all four at once.

My vote for Gladys Knight wasn’t just based on "Midnight Train to Georgia," though that may be reason enough. I have personal assurances from Gladys that, if elected, several of the retired Pips will be replaced with Hispanics. And she promised to do something about the traffic jam on State Route 248 every morning. One would think that the City officials might do something to address the problem, but, having assessed the situation and concluded that anybody commuting in on 248 in the morning isn’t a City resident and can’t vote for council members, well screw ’em.

The traffic backs up from the light at Comstock all the way out to the Rail Trail crossing. If it’s even partly cloudy, it will back up to the Wasatch County line. On U.S. 40, it backs up from the off ramps in both directions, so somebody is parked out there in a lane with traffic coming up behind them at 65 mph.

There are no easy fixes, but one thing we might do is fix the light at Comstock. Whoever programmed it assumed that the traffic volume on Comstock was equal to the traffic volume on 248, so each gets an equal slice of green-light time. I suspect that some allowance was made for the school crossing. The Comstock traffic has the green light for the length of time it takes a fifth grader to drag a heavy band instrument, say a tuba in a case the size of an employee housing unit, across the street.

That’s all well and good when there are actual kids crossing the street. But by 8:30, they are all in class. Stopping 248 for 3 minutes to allow the traffic that isn’t there on Comstock to go through the intersection, then allowing for left turns that aren’t being made, and finally, letting three cars and one dump truck through on 248 is just unreasonable. You feel like a darn fool sitting there at a dead stop, waiting for the light to change, when there isn’t another vehicle, pedestrian, or stray dog in any direction, except for 7 miles of bumper-to-bumper behind you. Once you get through the light at Comstock, traffic moves at the posted speed limit.

So anyway, I voted for Gladys Knight because she seemed to think there was a solution to the timing on the light at Comstock. But if she isn’t the nominee, I may have to back McCain as the person most likely to take it out militarily.

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We’re supposed to get a little break in the weather. It’s hard to whine about too much snow, especially in a ski town, but it’s reaching that point. The gray sky is a big part of it. I was in the clinic the other day, and patients were backed up all the way to Quinn’s Junction. Everybody was being treated for rickets. Muslim women in Taliban strongholds are getting more sun exposure than me these days.

The powder skiing has been incredible. But it doesn’t last like it used to. The local line is that nobody skis Deer Valley on a powder day, so we all go there. The story is that their regular clientele would be huddled inside the condos on stormy days. A lifetime of privilege doesn’t include actual exposure to weather. But it isn’t working that way. By 10 o’clock, you’re forced into the trees to find it, and by noon, it’s done. Something is different this year.

I think I figured it out. Unlikely as it seems, when the canyons (Big and Little Cottonwood, not The CanyonsÒ) are closed for avalanche control, the second choice resort of Alta skiers is Deer Valley. That really seems odd. The serious powder addicts who inhabit Alta in their wooly hats and duct tape pants end up at Deer Valley when the road is closed. They pay retail. I’ve got to admit that I didn’t figure it out all by myself. A guy with an Alta season pass explained it to me on the lift. Why Deer Valley when there are some less expensive options out there for people who seem pretty thrifty in most respects? Snowboards. Alta skiers come to Deer Valley on the road-closure days because there are no snowboards at Deer Valley.

While the general graciousness of the parking lot attendants, marble restrooms, and gourmet meals may be completely foreign to the average gorp-eating Alta skier, they feel right at home on the snowboard-free mountain on a powder day. So the local secrets are becoming well known, and on a road closure day, the powder doesn’t last until lunch.

We really need to do something about that. Maybe we could move the Comstock stop light to Parley’s Summit, and have it stop traffic in the canyon for a few hours.

The other theory is that Deer Valley is generally fully open by 9:00, while Park City and The Canyons (with the Ò, not Big and Little Cottonwood) tend to delay opening the good stuff on powder days for avalanche control. I’m not sure of the logistics of that at each resort, and Deer Valley doesn’t seem to be shy about throwing bombs around Empire Bowl while people are skiing there. But if you are breaking out with the shakes at the prospect of fresh powder and first tracks, you are pretty sure that it’s available at DV at 9:00.

On the other hand, having Puma Bowl quietly open after being on safety hold for a couple of days was a delightful surprise. A day of fresh powder several days after the storm. I’ll vote for that.

Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for nearly 20 years.