Park City poised to drive home opposition to UDOT’s S.R. 248 proposal
Park City leaders on Thursday are expected to adopt a resolution regarding the future of S.R. 248 that maintains a Utah Department of Transportation concept for a major redo of the entryway does not jibe with community wishes, a step that would be taken amid widespread criticism of a concept crafted by state transportation officials to expand the state highway.
The Park City Council will consider the two-page resolution a week after a meeting that highlighted a deep rift between the community and the state Department of Transportation. Elected officials and Parkites at the recent meeting were critical of the concept offered by the state.
The resolution says the concept outlined by the Department of Transportation “is not in alignment with current City and County transportation related goals, policies, and objectives …” Park City’s transportation plans press transit options while critics say the concept from the Department of Transportation tilts toward individual vehicles rather than transit. The resolution asks that the state shift the emphasis toward the priorities of City Hall.
“Park City, in cooperation with Summit County, hereby formally requests a commitment from UDOT to work cooperatively to identify a scalable multi-modal project that addresses highway, bicycle, and transit modes that fit the local context and character of Park City’s natural and human environment as the mobility needs of all corridor users following the close of public comment and prior to project approval,” the resolution says.
The resolution covers the overarching points of the opposition to the UDOT concept for S.R. 248, which critics argue would be ruinous to the entryway. The opposition has raised concerns such as the possibility of increased traffic, speeds and the impact on PC Hill as the corridor is expanded.
The concept involves the expansion of the state highway to five lanes between the U.S. 40 interchange and the intersection with S.R. 224. The current road ranges from three lanes to five lanes along the stretch. The five-lane alternative would include two lanes in each direction with a turning lane at most of the intersections. There would be two left-turn lanes at the intersections with S.R. 224 and Bonanza Drive. The state Department of Transportation based the concept on the projected increases in traffic, saying intersections would fail if there is not work by 2040.
The recent meeting showcased the concerns of Park City’s elected officials as well as people who live or work in the city. Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council offered extensive comments and received approximately 45 minutes of testimony.
“This is not the alternative I can support,” City Councilor Tim Henney said, later describing what he sees as the importance of a transit-first policy.
City Councilor Becca Gerber noted the concept involves “a lot of asphalt” running through Park City while Nann Worel, another member of the City Council, said she has not heard a positive comment and said the concept “totally violates” the community’s small-town and alternative transportation values. The mayor said he has heard some commuters support the idea, but the people of Park City are in opposition.
Speakers at the meeting outlined the broad opposition as they raised a range of issues. The elected officials were told traffic would be shifted into neighborhoods, there is not enough parking in the Main Street core to accommodate the traffic and that a rail system should be considered.
Clive Bush, a Park City resident, called the concept a “Stone Age solution.” Rich Wyman, another Parkite, said there is little traffic on the S.R. 248 stretch signed as Kearns Boulevard outside the rush hours, contending the traffic does not merit a project like the concept presented by the state.
The City Council meeting on Thursday is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. A hearing is slated prior to the City Council casting a vote on the resolution.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.