Park City buses: any new routes wanted?
Park City and Summit County are scheduled to jointly host three open houses next week to gather opinions about bus service, a function each of the governments see as critical to cutting traffic as well as local environmental efforts.
The events will address the future of bus service in the area over the next five to 10 years. They are not designed, though, to delve into alternate transportation options that have been mentioned. Those have included aerial or rail connections.
Darren Davis, the transit administrator for Park City, said there could be discussion about the possibility of creating new bus routes, modifying routes or increasing the frequency buses run on certain routes.
Transportation planners and representatives of the transit system will be in attendance. Davis said Park City and Summit County staffers are anticipated to attend each of the events. Short presentations are planned, according to an advertisement for the events.
The open houses run from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. each night.
Caroline Ferris, who directs Summit County’s regional transportation planning efforts, estimates perhaps up to 50 people will attend each of the events. She said she would like to learn how to encourage people to make decisions like commuting at off-peak times or riding bicycles instead of driving. Ferris said she anticipates worries about traffic in the winter.
"I’m sure they’re going to express concern for the upcoming season," she said.
Officials have long made transportation a priority, and there has been increased urgency recently in Park City especially. The free bus system runs from Park City, along the S.R. 224 corridor and into neighborhoods in the Snyderville Basin. There is also a route to Salt Lake City.
The bus system had traditionally run inside Park City only and was expanded to the Snyderville Basin as growth there outpaced Park City. The free bus system has long been seen as an important carrot as leaders nudge residents and visitors toward the transit system.
It is possible the idea of bus lines to the East Side of Summit County or Wasatch County could be broached at the open houses. There has been talk over the years about routes linking Park City to Kamas and Heber, but the ideas did not advance as officials focused on the Snyderville Basin and Salt Lake City lines.
The discussions about transit are intensifying as Park City continues to enjoy a strong exit from the depths of the recession. But the rebound has also led to widened complaints as drivers find themselves stuck in traffic jams in Park City and along the entryways. The population of the greater Park City area, stretching from the Snyderville Basin, through Park City and to Wasatch County, is expected to continue to grow, leading to long-range concerns about worsening traffic problems.