Park City issues report highly critical of Provo developer’s PCMR transportation concept
City Hall staffers cannot recommend an approval for key element of the overall plan
UPDATE: The Park City Planning Commission will not discuss the PEG Companies proposal as scheduled Wednesday evening. The Planning Commission indicated it would continue the agenda item to a later date.
City Hall staffers have issued a report criticizing a Provo developer’s transportation concepts for a major project at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, making a series of especially strong statements that will likely embolden the opposition with another important meeting of the Park City Planning Commission scheduled this week.
The municipal government released the report as the Wednesday meeting approached. The report, written by three City Hall staffers and a consulting firm, covers a broad range of issues related to transportation and includes numerous concerns from the municipal government. Transportation is a crucial issue for the staffers, the Planning Commission and people who live or have properties in the area of the PCMR base. The opposition to the development proposal sees the related topics of traffic and parking as some of the major issues they consider to be untenable and unresolved.
One of the sections of the report essentially summarizes the position of City Hall. It says “… staff can not recommend the Planning Commission approve the current site plan with respect to transportation at the present time.” The report was co-written by Alexandra Ananth, the City Hall planner assigned to the project, City Engineer John Robertson and Julia Collins, a transportation planner at City Hall. The involvement of the city engineer as a co-author adds weight to a report that covers such a difficult issue. A City Hall-retained transportation consultant, called AECOM, is also listed as a co-author.
The developer, PEG Companies, earlier reached an agreement to acquire the PCMR parking lots from resort owner Vail Resorts. The deal is not expected to be finalized until after a decision regarding the project.
“To date, the applicant has not presented a substantive modal shift analysis or provided a concrete operations plans for how they and Vail Park City Mountain intend to address, reduce and mitigate traffic to and from the base area,” the report says, adding that the goals include reducing the amount of congestion and reducing the impacts of the traffic on intersections that are described as “failing.”
Some of the points, as written in the report, include:
• the PEG Companies “preferred transportation alternative … does not adequately integrate increased and prioritized transit, active transit use and connections into the proposed site plan for the base area.” The design “effectively makes transit to the Resort look like an afterthought or add on to the design.”
• the “design lacks adequate pedestrian, bike, and trail connectivity for the anticipated volumes the site will experience during normal and peak conditions.”
• “Although the applicant is now proposing a new 1,100 square foot transit station at the existing base area, which would be an improvement from the current bus stop, the proposed transit station has limited amenities and does not meet the City’s expressed recommendations which Transit determined as necessary to encourage, enhance and efficiently expand existing bus service.”
• “The applicant has not considered reducing parking on site or made alternative parking locations and off-site parking part of their strategy to improve traffic and circulation at the base area.”
• “Additionally, the application does not include any commitments to improve multimodal connections between the Resort and Main Street, Deer Valley and the Bonanza Park areas.”
The report, meanwhile, says City Hall itself tapped two consultants to craft an “alternative vision that is scalable over the long term and provides the amenities critical to making transit work, and prioritizes the customer experience on transit at the base area.” The concept “brings the user directly to the skier services and indoor commercial amenities programmed within the hotel already, further enhancing the transit rider experience,” the report says.
The PEG proposal involves residences, a hotel, retailers and restaurants. It is based on a 1990s-era overall development approval that included the land currently under consideration as well as ground at the base area where Marriott’s MountainSide and the Legacy Lodge were ultimately built.
PEG Companies provided a prepared statement attributed to Robert Schmidt, the president of PEG Development, about the issue at the request of The Park Record.
“We are continuing to work on our preferred option to enhance the current transit center. The plan includes pedestrian-friendly access to the Resort Center and the slopes; covered bus drop-offs and efficient bus access; day and season lockers; restrooms; bike storage; food and beverage offerings — all to encourage increased bus ridership and less car congestion,” the comment said.
The Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. A hearing is slated. The meeting will be held virtually. More information is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link is: https://www.parkcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/38059/15.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.