Crosswalk wanted spanning wide, fast, busy Park City street | ParkRecord.com

Crosswalk wanted spanning wide, fast, busy Park City street

Aerie residents press City Hall to create route across Deer Valley Drive

Aerie residents want a crosswalk to be built across Deer Valley Drive at the Aerie Drive intersection, saying it would be a safety upgrade. City Hall staffers have recommended against a crossing but plan to continue researching pedestrian and bicyclist routes connecting the Aerie and Main Street.

There is interest in creating a crosswalk that would stretch across one of Park City's widest, fastest and most heavily traveled streets, but it is not clear how far into the government process the idea will advance.

People in the Aerie, a neighborhood perched above Deer Valley Drive, have approached City Hall about the possibility of building a crosswalk spanning Deer Valley Drive at the Aerie Drive intersection. A crosswalk would put someone in the Aerie a short distance from Main Street and in a location where they could access pedestrian routes stretching outward from Old Town. Aerie residents made the request for a crosswalk through a City Hall program that allows neighborhoods to ask for improvements to the way traffic is managed.

Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer, said the Aerie residents want a crosswalk with a pedestrian-activated signal spanning Deer Valley Drive. The signal would be similar to the one at the Park Avenue crosswalk outside Holiday Village.

Paul Zane Pilzer, an Aerie resident, addressed the Park City Council at a recent meeting about the topic. He said he wants the intersection to be a priority based on safety concerns. In a later interview, Pilzer said there are units located on lower Aerie Drive that are available for rent on a nightly basis, adding to the pedestrian numbers walking between Main Street and Aerie Drive. He also said bicyclists cross Deer Valley Drive as they ride to and from the nearby Lost Prospector trail.

"We're talking about please make this safe," Pilzer said in an interview.

The elected officials discussed the topic, but more talks are expected later. City Councilor Becca Gerber noted people cross Deer Valley Drive headed to trails while Andy Beerman, another member of the City Council, acknowledged it will be difficult to put a crosswalk in the location. He wondered about the possibility of building a paved pathway in the vicinity.

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There would be greater detail if the idea advances someday. The talks at that point would also need to heavily involve Utah transportation officials since Deer Valley Drive is part of the state highway system. The state highway, S.R. 224, is signed Deer Valley Drive for a stretch in Park City. It is five lanes as it passes Aerie Drive – two northbound, two southbound and one turning.

The city engineer said the Utah Department of Transportation discourages crosswalks where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or faster. The posted speed limit at the location is 40 mph. Cassel also said the state officials study a location looking for at least 20 pedestrians crossing a street per hour, on average, before pursuing a crosswalk. He said Deer Valley Drive at Aerie Drive does not meet the pedestrian criteria.

Cassel, meanwhile, said pedestrians in the Aerie have the option of walking down Mellow Mountain Road to Deer Valley Drive and crossing at a crosswalk in the vicinity of the Old Town roundabout. A City Hall report prepared in anticipation of the recent City Council meeting detailed other alternatives like a pedestrian overpass or a pedestrian underpass. The report also said there would be issues with a crossing, however.

"It is difficult to justify a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Aerie Drive and Deer Valley Drive given the low pedestrian demand, high traffic volume, limited crash history, environmental and physical constraints, and associated costs," the report said, noting the Mellow Mountain Road alternative.

City Hall staffers recommended against a pedestrian crossing, citing a consultant study prepared in response to the request from the Aerie. Staffers, though, intend to continue researching pedestrian and bicyclist routes between the Aerie and Main Street. Cassel said a community meeting will be planned shortly.

Park City has for years developed pedestrian and bicyclist routes in an effort to discourage people from driving between destinations in the city. Trails, pathways and tunnels designed for pedestrians and bicyclists create a web that stretches to the edges of the city and into the Snyderville Basin.