Neighbors press for better trails
May 10, 2006
Carolyn Frankenburg for a year has collected signatures, trying to influence Park City leaders to make streets safer for people, especially kids, walking or bicycling on the side of the road.
Frankenburg, who lives on the 2600 block of Holiday Ranch Loop Road, says lots of parents in her Park Meadows neighborhood drive their kids to school because they insist it is too dangerous for the youngsters to walk.
"What brought us together is our concern and fear," Frankenburg explained in an interview, saying that she leads a group called the Coalition for Safe Streets.
Between 50 and 100 people are involved in the coalition and the petition has 287 signatures, she said. Some are planning to press Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council later this month to earmark money for a study, Frankenburg said.
Frankenburg, a Parkite for almost 20 years, hopes that the bloc of neighbors, perhaps 100, will attend a May 18 budget hearing. They want the City Council to spend $100,000 to update a trails plan, including generating a schedule to complete the work.
She acknowledges that the $100,000 is needed just for the study and, if the City Council likes the findings, much more money, perhaps millions, will be required for the work.
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Frankenburg envisions the trails connecting neighborhoods, fields and shopping centers. Now, for instance, Frankenburg says that Park Meadows is not connected through trails with the North of Main district and that her neighborhood does not link with trails to the schools campus on Kearns Boulevard.
"You can’t get from Point A to Point B without mixing with traffic in a dangerous way," she said.
Gary Hill, who manages City Hall’s budget, said on Monday City Manager Tom Bakaly has recommended that the $100,000 be approved in the budget. Hill said the money, however, was not included in the government’s two-year budget plan, which was approved in June 2005, meaning that the City Council would have to add the money in the current round of budget talks.
The government tends to not make significant changes to the budget in the second year of the plan but sometimes will support individual earmarks.
Hill said City Hall has been discussing improvements in Park Meadows for a year so he is not surprised that the neighbors plan to appear at a budget hearing. He said the study could research possibilities like widening sidewalks and new sidewalk connections.
Candy Erickson, a City Councilwoman who lives in Park Meadows, said she supports the $100,000 request and expects the study to consider citywide connections, not those exclusively in Park Meadows.
"Is it a valid concern? Yeah, it is," Erickson said.
She admitted, however, that she is worried about the price tag of the wanted improvements and said she is not willing to abandon other projects, like upgrading Old Town streets, to put money toward making Park City easier to walk.
The City Council is scheduled to discuss the budget and hold hearings through June 15, when they plan to adopt the spending plan.
Although the elected officials normally do not like to make major changes in the second year of the budget, they are facing several significant decisions this year, including the $100,000 for the study. They are also considering whether to significantly increase business-license fees to send more money to the fare-free bus system and special events like the Sundance Film Festival.
The Park Meadows group rallied even as City Hall has displayed a longstanding desire to upgrade the trails system, building miles of trails that have proven popular. But people all over Park City have for years been unhappy with the number of drivers they say speed through their neighborhoods and some argue that better trails will offer them an alternative to driving or walking on the sides of roads.
"They’ve done all the things you’re supposed to do to try to manage the safety issue," Frankenburg said. "They’re still flying by us."
She predicts that Parkites, if provided with an improved trails system, will leave their cars at home.
"It’s going to make it so people are out of their cars," she said. "Look at the congestion."