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Park City tweaks bus line, prompting displeasure

Officials rethink route between Prospector and PCMR

A Yellow line Park City bus moves along Sidewinder Drive on Friday morning in the snow. City Hall recently modified two bus routes, the Yellow and Red lines, prompting criticism and then another reworking of the system.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Park City in recent weeks tweaked a bus line that travels through the populous Prospector neighborhood, prompting displeasure and a round of talks with City Hall officials that resulted in another reworking of the route.

City Hall transit officials studied the route of the Red line, which links Prospector, the Old Town transit center and Park City Mountain Resort. Blake Fonnesbeck, the transit and public works director, said the Red line over time became problematic as buses ran later than scheduled. He said a left turn from Wyatt Earp Way onto Kearns Boulevard caused delays for buses on the Red line and created safety concerns.

Officials altered two lines in response, the Red and the Yellow. The Yellow line largely replaced the Red one in a swath of Prospector. The Yellow line, though, does not include PCMR, as the Red one does. It is one of the primary stops on the transit system as skiers and snowboarders head to the slopes. Someone on the Yellow line must transfer buses to reach PCMR, likely at Park City High School or another transfer stop such as the transit center.

Fonnesbeck said the transfer lengthens the trip between Prospector and PCMR by upward of 15 minutes as compared to the direct Red line. Some in the neighborhood were unhappy with the need to transfer lines and the longer route to PCMR. City Hall officials and people in the neighborhood held talks about the change, including a Tuesday event at the Prospector house of Sally Elliott that drew four members of the Park City Council and the public. Elliott is a longtime Park City resident who has served in elected office at City Hall and the County Courthouse.

As a result of the discussions, the Red line was changed to ply a route that now includes a stretch from Sidewinder Drive to Annie Oakley Drive and then back to Sidewinder Drive. The route is approximately three minutes longer than it was. The change eliminates the need to transfer lines for people headed to PCMR. The Red line’s route along Sidewinder Drive, though, ends at 6 p.m. Fonnesbeck said the change is considered a pilot program. It will be reviewed after the ski season.

It was a rare change in a bus line inside the city limits. While new routes have been added, including those that link Park City and the Snyderville Basin, the lines in Park City have largely remained as they have been over the years.

“The locals do ride, and they’re very passionate about transit,” Fonnesbeck said.

In an interview, Elliott said there has been a bus line linking Prospector and PCMR for three decades that did not require a transfer in the Main Street core. She said people “like getting on the bus and getting straight to the resort.” Transferring buses, she said, could lengthen the route by approximately 30 minutes, particularly when a family with youngsters is riding.

“It’s too hard to go to the transit center and then get another bus to PCMR,” she said.

There are questions in the Prospector neighborhood about the change. Adam Strachan said the route now includes a “previously unused residential street,” referring to his street of Annie Oakley Drive. He said not enough research was conducted prior to the change.

“Making route decisions without studying the impacts first is a bad idea,” Strachan said.

He described a preferred Red line route that would involve the Prospector streets of Sidewinder Drive, Buffalo Bill Drive, Kearns Boulevard, Wyatt Earp Way and Comstock Drive. He said such a route would ensure the buses primarily make right turns rather than the more difficult left ones. He said the only left turn would be onto Kearns Boulevard at an intersection with a stoplight.


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