Pedestrian crossing near Bear Hollow Drive put on hold
September 29, 2015
Naomi Doyle says she wishes her family could cross State Road 224 at the intersection of Bear Hollow Drive and Silver Springs Road.
Doyle, a Sun Peak resident, said she and her son won’t use the crosswalk after her husband was hit by a car four years ago while using it. Doyle said her husband, T.C., sustained serious injuries and had to undergo two major surgeries as a result of the accident.
"My husband was almost killed in the intersection. He was hit in broad daylight and it scares me to see anyone cross there anymore," Doyle said. "People should not be able to cross there."
For several months, Summit County officials have been discussing the possibility of constructing a pedestrian crossing in the area. Basin Rec has allocated $3 million toward the project. At the Aug. 26 County Council meeting, officials tentatively agreed to meet again in October to continue the discussion.
However, a couple weeks ago, Summit County leaders and officials with the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District agreed to put the project on hold until further information can be gathered. The decision has not been formally announced.
"I’m very disappointed," Doyle said of the decision. "It is something that is needed."
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Basin Recreation District Director Rena Jordan said putting the project on hold will allow her organization to gather more information and work a little more closely with county staff.
"We are just having a timeout so we can study some more," Jordan said. "We are trying to be organized more than anything. It was a perfect time to pause to make sure that everyone is aligned in this. We don’t want to do anything that might interfere with the long-range transportation plan."
Jordan said she is "totally on board" with the idea of working more closely with county staff to understand how a crossing may or may not fit into the county’s transportation vision, the reason cited for the delay.
"Obviously it is the major artery and we don’t want to build something that might impede that artery," Jordan said. "We were just two or three steps ahead."
When asked if the project could be dropped completely, Jordan said it would be "absolutely premature to make that conclusion."
The decision to table the discussion mirrors the tone of the conversation when the issue was before the council last month. At the meeting, councilors expressed serious reservations about the need for a crossing and the mechanisms to fund it.
County Council member Roger Armstrong said he supports the delay, adding it is consistent with his comments he made during the meeting.
"I’m not sure the intersection is the best place or a crossing is the best solution for the issues raised," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he is committed to having conversations to mitigate the problem as long as transportation staff is included.
"I think it makes all the sense in the world for our transportation people to be talking with our recreation people when we are talking about trails and major projects spending $3 to $4 million on things such as crossings of major highways to ensure it is warranted and positioned in the right place," he said.
Some residents who have attended the meetings about the crossing say they are frustrated with the pace of the project.
Basin Rec seems to always provide the information that the County Council requests and then "it’s never good enough," says Erin Ruzek, a Sun Peak resident.
"It’s frustrating because they do have the money in the bond to make this crossing happen," Ruzek said. "I’m just not sure why it’s so hard to keep Park City residents safe. This was voted in the 2010 and 2014 bond and was voted on by the Basin residents and that to me seems like a bait and switch."
Ruzek said she isn’t worried that the project will be dropped because she won’t let that happen.
"I have invested too much time to let it drop," Ruzek said. "I feel like as a resident, these County Council elected officials are supposed to be representing the residents and they know that this crossing was very specific in the bond that the residents voted on."
Abi Grissom, a Bear Hollow resident, said she is infuriated that the discussion has been on hold. Grissom has lived in Sun Peak since 2002 and has three kids.
"The policy we have in our house is the kids can’t use the intersection until they have their driver’s license," Grissom said. "I would never let them cross at that intersection. The fact that car accidents are happening is a huge danger in and of itself."
Like Ruzek, Grissom was under the impression that the Basin Rec district is bound to put in a crossing because it was mentioned in the 2014 bond information pamphlet distributed to Basin residents for the election.
"It really feels like we had been lied to," Grissom said. "I’m an attorney and I’m concerned that the voter information that went out to the citizens before they voted specifically mentioned a crossing. Don’t the people who put that out have some obligation to uphold it?"
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