Park City inquires about segregating various uses on Rail Trail
Officials post wide-ranging survey about future of popular route
Park City officials want to learn if the Rail Trail would be more comfortable to use, or more safe, if it were segregated in some fashion between the various categories of activities that draw people to the popular route.
City Hall as it continues to gather opinions about the future of the Rail Trail has posted an online survey covering a range of issues regarding the sorts of uses and possible amenities that could be added.
One of the questions inquires about design features that could improve the comfort and safety of Rail Trail users. The list of answers includes “Segregating/Separating trails/use areas.” The survey does not provide details, but the concept of segregating or separating the trail between sorts of uses could draw attention from a wide range of Parkites.
The Rail Trail is popular with bicyclists and hikers in the warm-weather months while snowshoers and cross-country skiers are drawn to the trail during the winter. It seems that a concept of segregating or separating the Rail Trail could involve setting aside space, perhaps via new lanes, for the different categories of users. A discussion about segregation or separation potentially could address time or day restrictions on the uses as well.
It seems arguments in favor of a concept of separation or segregation of uses could center on safety. Slow-moving hikers could desire greater distance between themselves and fast-moving bicyclists. Snowshoers plodding along the Rail Trail may want to be further apart from cross-country skiers as they glide forward.
Opposition could key on the relatively narrow space available on the Rail Trail to accommodate segregation or separation. Critics could also question whether such a program is necessary with space usually being plentiful for the different users even with the trail’s popularity.
Other design features listed as answers to the the survey question include:
• trail lighting
• striping and signs
• pedestrian signals located at crossings
• overcrossings such as bridges or skywalks
• speed bumps
Some of the other options would also almost certainly draw attention if they were pursued, particularly the possibility of skywalks. Many would likely see skywalks as introducing highly visible manmade objects to the Rail Trail corridor.
Another question in the City Hall survey asks about Rail Trail amenities that are desired. One of the answers is “separated paths for walking, bicycling, e-biking.” Other answers cover an exceptionally diverse list of possible amenities.
• a bicycle playground for all ages
• fix-it stations for bicycles
• charging stations for e-bikes
• exercise stations
• trail lighting
• exhibits highlighting the ecology and culture
The survey continues the municipal government’s efforts to gather opinions about the Rail Trail with the possibility that City Hall could eventually become the government entity that oversees an important section of the route. The Rail Trail is a state park that runs 28 miles between Park City and Echo. It follows the route of a historic Union Pacific Railroad line. The state park was created in 1992, three years after Union Pacific abandoned the line.
City Hall, though, owns an approximately 1,000-foot section stretching eastward from the western terminus at the intersection with Bonanza Drive. Park City officials say there is a possibility of negotiating an agreement with the state to manage and maintain an extended section of the Rail Trail — the portion to the point where the trail crosses S.R. 248 close to Quinn’s Junction.
City Hall wants rank-and-file Parkites to provide input with the possibility the municipal government will reach an agreement with the state for management and maintenance. The survey follows after Park City officials in November held an open house seeking opinions about the Rail Trail. People in an exercise at the November event placed circular stickers on a list of amenities that are possible for the Rail Trail. The exercise included similarities in the amenities as those on the list in the online survey.
The crowd at the open house in November indicated it was especially interested in amenities like watershed and stream improvements, historical or natural signs and seating. There was less interest at the open house in fix-it stations for bicyclists, bicycle racks, an interactive music exhibit and a trailside market.
The survey is available at: surveymonkey.com/r/railtrail and is scheduled to close Feb. 14. More information about the municipal government’s efforts regarding the Rail Trail is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link to the Rail Trail information is: engageparkcity.org/rail-trail. City Hall says in the online information the ideas for the Rail Trail will be refined in the spring with additional public opinions expected to be gathered in the middle of the spring. Projects could be started in the early summer.
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Park City Council members have directed staffers to continue working on a plan to develop affordable housing on a site 1 ½ miles south of City Hall on Marsac Avenue. Staffers are recommending the city release a request for proposals (RFP) to find interested entities to participate in a public-private partnership to build the project.