Public provides S.R. 248 feedback at UDOT open house | ParkRecord.com

Public provides S.R. 248 feedback at UDOT open house

Tim Govin remembers when he could ride a bicycle along S.R. 248, or when it was possible to roller blade safely with his children on nearby Sidewinder Drive.

He said it's been years since he's done either, due to increased congestion along S.R. 248, one of two primary entryways into Park City, and traffic that spills onto surrounding roads.

"On busy days, it's hard to get out of your driveways sometimes," said Govin, who has lived on Sidewinder Drive in Prospector for more than 20 years.

That's why Govin is participating in an effort between the Utah Department of Transportation and Park City to evaluate options for improving transit on S.R. 248 between U.S. 40 and S.R. 224. The stretch of road is often jammed with traffic in the busy season, particularly during the morning rush hour and when large events take place in town.

Tuesday evening, City Hall and UDOT held an open house about the project. Alfred Knotts, Park City's transportation planning manager, said the purpose of the event was to provide the public an opportunity to identify priorities and critical objectives officials must take into account as they consider fixes for the corridor.

Officials don't expect to choose a solution until the late spring or summer, and they have not begun formally evaluating the possibilities, said Steve Quinn, the project manager for UDOT. But options may include widening the road, utilizing reversible lanes depending on the flow of traffic, or installing lanes for high-occupancy vehicles and buses. Officials could also choose to do nothing, which is called a no-build option.

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Govin, who is a member of the project's stakeholder committee, said he and others who live near S.R. 248 desire a solution that is not simply widening the road. That would invite more traffic and likely cause additional congestion problems in other parts of the city, he said.

"We'd like it solved in a way that increases the use of public transit and reduces the use of private or passenger traffic," he said. "That's very important to us. You could solve the problem by pouring a lot of cement, but I don't think that's necessarily best for Park City and not best for us."

Quinn said more than 100 residents attended Tuesday's open house. Much of the feedback touched on issues similar to Govin's concerns and also broached possibilities like replacing certain intersections with roundabouts. A handful of people told officials congestion is not a major problem on S.R. 248.

The S.R. 248 project gained widespread attention this summer when it was publicized that transportation officials were exploring the possibility of pursuing a transit corridor along the Rail Trail route, which runs parallel to the roadway entering Park City. The Rail Trail is a popular path for recreation, and many residents were displeased with the prospect of it being included in any potential project.

Last week, Quinn said UDOT "pretty much" ruled out utilizing the Rail Trail after officials identified a number of issues, including conservation protections on part of the land and the existence of threatened or endangered plants along the trail.

Quinn said many residents Tuesday expressed relief that the Rail Trail is off the table. He added that UDOT hopes to keep those people engaged through the rest of the process.

"Hopefully people don't become complacent and stop being involved and don't want to provide comment anymore," he said. "We still want to make sure people understand we need their comments throughout the whole process."

UDOT is seeking additional feedback from Park City residents through late December. For more information, call 435-602-7440 or email sr248improved@utah.gov. More information is also available at: udot.utah.gov/sr248improved.