‘Bigger sidewalks, clear and clean’ desired in Prospector
Park City gathers feedback as planning for roadwork continues
Prospector Avenue, a street on the edge of the dense business district of Prospector and an important route toward the neighborhood of the same name, drew attention on Tuesday evening as City Hall described plans for major work on the road.
The municipal government in 2017 intends to redo the street and hosted an open house at the Park City Marriott to outline the plans. The event attracted a mixed crowd, but it appeared there was special interest from figures with businesses or property along Prospector Avenue.
City Hall intends to spend upward of $1.5 million on the project and will use a federal grant to offset approximately two-thirds of the overall cost. The project is expected to start by the end of May and be completed by Oct. 15.
There seemed to be widespread support at the event on Tuesday, and there is not organized opposition to the project. People at the open house predicted the work will provide numerous benefits along the heavily traveled street.
The Prospector Square Property Owners Association, a group that represents a patchwork of locations in the district, is monitoring the plans and was represented at the open house. Dean Berrett, the organization’s secretary and someone who has long had an ownership interest in properties in Prospector, said in an interview the City Hall work is expected to result in a more attractive road for people not driving vehicles.
“It’s really not a safe area,” Berrett said, adding, “We think it’s going to be slower. We think it’s going to be more pedestrian friendly.”
The project will involve a repaving of the street, replacing the curbs and gutters, replacing streetlights with ones that are environmentally friendly and expanding the width of sidewalks on both sides of the street. The workers will also construct five bus pull-outs that will be meant to ensure traffic flows better at bus stops. City Hall says pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders will benefit from the work. Prospector Avenue of today is dedicated to vehicles, Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer, has said.
Berrett noted the bus system will operate more efficiently along Prospector Avenue once the pull-outs are constructed.
The City Hall work on Prospector Avenue will likely be underway at the same time as a significant privately funded project in Prospector Square. Berrett said the association is readying work on parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and irrigation in Prospector Square. The work is meant to ensure Prospector Square remains competitive with commercial districts that have been developed in recent years as well as to guard against future competition.
The privately funded work could start in the spring, at about the same time City Hall launches the roadwork. The initial tasks would include sewer work and lighting in parking lots, he said. Berrett said the association wants to ensure the work on Prospector Avenue and the privately funded upgrades are complementary.
The people at the open house studied maps that highlighted the work, spoke to City Hall officials and other members of the project team and left comments in marker. One person left a note on a map asking that sidewalks be maintained, particularly in the winter. Someone else noted on the map there are backups in the morning and afternoon at the location of a school-bus stop.
Another person at the open house, commercial real estate agent Steve Hooker, was interested in the improvements planned for pedestrians. He studied the plans for sidewalks along Prospector Avenue. He acknowledged that many workers in the district commute in vehicles rather than walking, but he said the better sidewalks could influence some to walk to work.
“The wider sidewalks are great. That’s a huge asset. That way people don’t need their cars,” Hooker said, adding that people are more apt to walk if there are “bigger sidewalks, clear and clean.”
Hooker, meanwhile, said Prospector has not been updated over the years like other districts in Park City. He said it is a “dated neighborhood.”
“I walked these same sidewalks and streets in the ’70s,” Hooker said. “Main Street’s changed. Swede Alley’s changed. This hasn’t changed at all.”
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Park City is considering reinstating a controversial program along Main Street involving permit-only drop-and-load zones, something that debuted early last winter before it was suspended in March.