Follow the new ‘runway lights’ to land on Park City’s Main Street
September 15, 2015
Park City has lighted the way to Main Street.
Officials recently turned on lights that are installed in the walkway along an important route between Main Street and Swede Alley. They snake between the Swede Alley side of a walkway and the Main Street sidewalk, leading a pedestrian to Main Street or toward the Swede Alley crossing at the Old Town transit center. The walkway is seen as the critical access from the transit center to Main Street and is known for a bronze sculpture of a bear on a bench.
The lights are a noticeable addition to Main Street’s nighttime scene. City Hall tightly controls lighting across Park City, and it is rare for an individual lighting installation to be so unique.
Matt Twombly, the senior project manager at City Hall and the staffer who oversaw the walkway project, said the color of the lights will vary. They have the capability of shining in blue, yellow, green and red. They are able to remain one color or the color rotation can be sped up or slowed down. The lights early in the week were set to change colors on a "fairly slow" rotation, Twombly said.
"We wanted to give a visual between the transit center and Main Street," Twombly said, adding, "It’s probably the most important connection between the transit center and Main Street."
Twombly said officials intended to install and illuminate the lights in 2014. The lights, which were made in China, did not meet specifications regarding the length between each bulb and the curve of the route, he said. They were returned to the manufacturer, which redid the lights to the proper specifications without cost to City Hall, Twombly said.
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City Hall has invested heavily on public improvements along Main Street in recent years, using a voter-approved funding mechanism to pursue an aggressive timeline of upgrades. The improvements to the walkway with the new lights were part of the overall work plan.
Park City officials and Main Street leaders see the improvements as critical as the shopping, dining and entertainment strip competes with outlying districts that have been developed over the past decade or so. The improvements have involved sidewalk upgrades and other work on the streetscape. The redo of the walkway with the lights was one of the notable projects of the overall work plan thus far. Brickwork and the installation of an arch-like feature were part of the walkway project.
The transit center anchors the local bus system, and large crowds of people headed to Main Street disembark there. The walkway is designed as the preferred pedestrian route between the transit center and Main Street. Wayward pedestrians, though, are often seen searching for another way to get to Main Street.
Main Street leadership supported the installation of the lights along the walkway. Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said people had difficulty understanding the route between the transit center and Main Street. The Historic Park City Alliance, which represents the interests of businesses on Main Street or nearby, wanted greater visibility along the route, she said. They are "acting like runway lights," Butz said.
"The light will guide them," she said, adding, "The goal is really to show the visitors where to go."
City Hall and Park City’s influential preservation community have attempted to ensure the historic fabric of Main Street over the years as development pressure increased. Butz said the lights do not distract from the historic nature of Main Street.
"It’s not a physical structure. It’s more of an application of lighting," Butz said.
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