Pedestrian talks continue
February 26, 2008
With time dwindling for a City Hall committee considering pedestrian and bicyclist upgrades, the panel recently endorsed a range of work that, the members say, will make Park City easier to navigate for people not driving cars.
The committee, which is scheduled to formally recommend the upgrades in late March, indicated it wants money set aside for work in Park Meadows and along the S.R. 224 entryway. The recent endorsements are of lesser priority to many Parkites than some of the committee’s earlier choices, but they illustrate how wide-ranging the wishes of the committee are.
Key earmarks the committee recently indicated it wants City Hall to make include:
$75,800 to slow traffic down on Monitor Drive, probably between Little Kate Road and Lucky John Drive, a heavily trafficked stretch of road in Park Meadows. That section of Monitor Drive is frequently used by people in Park Meadows heading toward Kearns Boulevard and neighborhoods like Prospector and Old Town. Monitor Drive is one of the key ways in and out of Park Meadows.
According to Jon Weidenhamer, a City Hall staffer working closely with the committee, the upgrades could include repainting the road with narrower travel lanes and wider shoulders. The widened shoulders would be designed for bicyclists, but Weidenhamer says they would not be turned into formal bike lanes. He also says City Hall could install bicycle-safety signs.
$2,500 for signs to direct people between Park Meadows and the Rail Trail. The signs would also help people find other major trails, including some in the McLeod Creek area, Old Town and Round Valley.
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City officials and trails advocates have long touted the trails system as a way to get around Park City without a car. The route between Park Meadows and the Rail Trail is likely especially enticing for the committee, as the Rail Trail links to a key trail connecting the North of Main district with Main Street and surrounding Old Town.
$5,000 for safety measures at the S.R. 224 crossing linking Holiday Ranch Loop Road in Park Meadows and Payday Drive in Thaynes Canyon. Weidenhamer says the money could pay for repainting the crossing and putting pedestrian flags there, which people carry as they cross the street as a way to alert drivers.
The committee talked about installing a timer that shows how many seconds a person has to cross the street, but members delayed that decision.
The discussion about the S.R. 224 crossing is especially noteworthy, coming less than one month after a bus struck a pedestrian at the intersection. In that accident, a bus turned left from Holiday Ranch Loop Road onto southbound S.R. 224, striking a 63-year-old woman who was crossing in a crosswalk. An ambulance took her to the hospital.
The endorsements continue the committee’s tight schedule to deliver its recommendations to City Hall’s budget team, which Weidenhamer expects to happen on March 28. The city staffers will then review the committee’s work and offer the recommendations to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council. The elected officials will likely spend significant time in the spring considering the options before deciding which ones to fund.
Park City voters approved $15 million in bond money to make the pedestrian and bicyclist improvements, hoping that the money could make the city safer. Bond backers say the upgrades could also reduce traffic and air pollution. City Hall officials and advocates have long been happy with the trails in the mountains and open spaces around Park City, but the city wants to use the bond money to better link neighborhoods and business districts.
Weidenhamer says the committee has recommended almost $5.3 million in upgrades so far. Previously, members said they want big-ticket work, including a pedestrian-bicyclist underpass on Kearns Boulevard, priced at just more than $3 million, and a tunnel underneath Bonanza Drive, which is expected to cost a little more than $1.1 million.
Many Parkites lobbied for the work on Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive, saying those streets are among the most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The committee also previously said it wants $673,000 spent on making routes to schools safer. Weidenhamer says more sidewalks could be installed on Little Kate Road and Lucky John Drive with the money. Weidenhamer says most of the committee’s recommendations have been unanimous.
"We’re balancing safety, connectivity and efficiency — cost benefits, bang for the buck," he says, calling the committee "incredibly meticulous with their decision."