County officials want roundabouts at Jeremy Ranch intersections
Several Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook-area residents attended an informal open house-style meeting Thursday where Summit County officials revealed plans to construct two roundabouts at the entrance of each neighborhood to relieve the stress at the intersections.
More than 40 attended the discussion Thursday night led by Derrick Radke, Summit County Public Works director, and Caroline Ferris, Summit County regional transportation coordinator.
Ferris explained how the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the county commissioned a study this year to explore design options for features to mitigate traffic and handle growth, including the proposed Ecker Hill School campus expansion, through 2040.
Out of those options, which included other roundabout configurations, the preferred design that would provide "acceptable service" through 2040 is a large, six-leg roundabout on the north and south side of Interstate 80, Ferris said.
The project is estimated to cost $6.75 million and will be paid for by both the county and UDOT. It could be phased if funding is not readily available, Ferris added.
"The next steps for us will be to continue funding discussions with UDOT to let them know we want money and we want it soon because we want to get it built," she said.
Gary Resnick, a Jeremy Ranch resident, said he is comfortable with the proposals and appreciative of the time that is being invested in solving the issue. However, he does have some reservations.
"I think it is a high-priority issue," Resnick said. "At the moment there is no signage and no traffic circle. There are yield signs. My only concern is I don’t have any experience with roundabouts where you have local traffic and people getting off of a high-speed highway. So I’m curious if there is historical data of the efficiency and safety of a roundabout in that situation."
The second part of the discussion surrounded the need to safely link the two neighborhoods and provide pedestrians and bikers an off-street path.
"We’ve heard a lot about pedestrian connectivity between Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook," Radke said. "Something else we’ve heard and have been thinking about as well is the need for under crossings or off-grade tunnels."
The final design work hasn’t been done, but a safe-crossing project is in its infancy, Radke said. Until then an elevated sidewalk as a temporary solution is something that can be done immediately, Radke said.
"It would provide a pedestrian or bike route, separated from the vehicles, and while certainly not a tunnel, it provides some separation and safety," Radke said.
Jennifer Terry, a Jeremy Ranch resident and administrator of the Facebook page "Park City Pedestrian Passage," was the only resident invited to speak at the meeting. For several years, Terry has advocated for a pedestrian crossing in the area. Terry has suggested underground tunnels and several roundabouts, citing an overwhelming fear amongst residents about navigating the area outside of a car.
"I and 485 people in this neighborhood want change and we want to be involved in the final decision and design," Terry testified. " My plan is to get cars off the road. Please be innovative. Be the solution by diversifying traffic flow and allow them to walk and to ride their bikes."
County officials say the pedestrian improvement/sidewalk elevation construction will begin immediately and the roundabout project is slated for late 2016 or early 2017.
Several residents stayed after the brief presentation to talk with Radke and Ferris about the proposals. Some said they don’t like roundabouts, while others said it looked confusing to navigate.
And some say they are generally unaffected by it, like Tate Jorgensen, a Jeremy Ranch resident.
Jorgensen said he isn’t as vested as others in this discussion because he works from home and his kids are out of school. But Jorgensen, who attended the meeting with his wife, admitted they avoid the four-way stop at the entrance to Jeremy Ranch at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
"I can understand why there is a lot of energy towards that and it needs to be addressed," Jorgensen said. "I’m more in the position of ‘do whatever it takes to get it right.’"
Anyone with questions, comments or concerns regarding the proposals is encouraged to contact Caroline Ferris, Summit County regional transportation director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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