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Picking back up

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF
Traffic on Landmark Drive is flowing better than in past weeks and local businesses are satisfied, awarding the contractor a B grade for its responsiveness to complaints. Photo by Scott Sine/Park Record
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It’s safe to come back.

That’s what Landmark businesses are trying to communicate to customers now that changes have been made to control the flow of traffic on Landmark Drive.

It’s still bad during certain times of day, especially lunch time, but overall the situation has improved.

For the past few weeks shoppers have been through a traffic meat grinder near McDonalds and Wal Mart, at times getting stuck for nearly an hour.

Monica Swindel of Park City pulled into Wal Mart a little after 4 p.m. on Monday and saw a gridlock unlike anything she’d ever seen before. Not only was Landmark backed up with people trying to get into the parking lot or away from Tanger Outlets, the parking lot was bumper to bumper all the way back to the retail stores and through every single lane of the lot.

She and another lady made half a dozen calls trying to find someone to come direct traffic before it began to loosen up on its own towards the end of the hour.

"It was just gridlock with nothing being done," she said.

After numerous complaints, additional workers were put on site to direct traffic and most businesses say things are better.

Brandon Judd, a therapist with Physical Therapy at Kimball Junction, said his office has had two or three doctor-referred clients who have cancelled their appointments after learning their address. Some senior patients also rescheduled or found another patient because their rides could not accommodate them.

John Troilo, one of the owners of Davanza’s Pizza, said he had to cancel their delivery service a major portion of his business while traffic was at its worst. It was unreasonable to expect drivers with hot food to wait 15 to 20 minutes before even leaving the parking lot. When drivers had multiple deliveries to make, it wasn’t fair to customers, he said.

The Bark City Pet Emporium has seen about a 15 percent decrease in business since last year, said owner Pam Rapplean. People still make regular visits to buy their pet food, but she gets far fewer walk-ins and other spill-over foot traffic from the larger retail areas.

Sean Liston, general manager of World Market on the other side of Highway 224, said he’s also seen fewer customers since it’s harder to get to his area and those coming for another reason are less interested in spending more time in the complex.

But with the exception of Liston, all of the other businesses said they are seeing gradual improvement. More workers directing traffic have improved the flow. Judd said he’d be surprised if customers had trouble getting to his office now. Davanza’s said they’re looking at starting delivery service again, and Rapplean said she hasn’t seen any of the same gridlocks as was common a few days ago.

A committee of interested parties that evaluates the contractor Staker and Parson’s eligibility for a $100,000 performance bonus agreed.

The 12-member Community Coordination Team is comprised of representatives from local businesses such as McDonalds and Wal Mart as well as other groups such as the county library.

On Tuesday, the committee scored the contractor with an 81 out of possible 100 points for the previous month.

"The grade reflects the comments heard by the committee," said Derrick Radke, Summit County engineer. "Things have certainly not been perfect, but they recognized the challenges and the efforts (Staker and Parson) put into getting traffic to move through."

Shoppers are still warned to stay away during certain times of day, such as the lunch hour, and the rush before and after 5 p.m. when people congregate trying to beat traffic, or run errands after they get home from work.

Davanza’s is still seeing a decent number of people come to the store, and Troilo said the construction workers are adding to their lunch business.

All wish the trouble could end sooner, but also agree that the changes to Landmark are desperately needed and look forward to a complete return to normalcy in October.

The Community Coordination Team will grade contractor Staker and Parson on their performance again in mid September. The criteria are as follows:

The Project Newsletter, 24 hour hotline and construction notices

15 pts possible.

Responding to the public

15 pts possible

Access to property, driveways, signage and for pedestrians

15 pts possible.

Business impact mitigation and access signage

15 pts. possible

Property restoration

10 pts possible.

Project safety procedures

15 pts possible.

Following construction schedule

15 pts. possible.

Total score possible: 100


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