Public comment period still open for S.R. 224 study | ParkRecord.com

Public comment period still open for S.R. 224 study

Summit County and Park City transportation officials, along with the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City Corporation and the Wasatch Front Regional Council, want to know how the community would prefer to combat traffic congestion along one of Park City's main entry corridors.

A current study — the Valley to Mountain Alternative Analysis — aims to identify ways to increase mobility and capacity on S.R. 224, from Interstate 80 to Kearns Boulevard, without widening the road or adding more cars.

An online survey will be available to the public through Tuesday, Dec. 12, and can be accessed at http://valleytomountainstudy.com/. The public comment period was originally scheduled to close on Oct. 31, but Park City Municipal received complaints from people who said they were unaware of the survey, according to Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County's regional transportation director.

"We decided to extend the online open house and conduct an in-person open house in December to encourage more participation, even though we already had quite a few responses to the survey already," she said.

Bus-rapid transit and a rapid streetcar/light-rail transit are the two options that are being evaluated through the study for feasibility, cost and preference for S.R. 224. The two modes of transportation were identified as the preferred options through an online survey conducted earlier this year. The choices that were eliminated included an aerial transit, automated guideway transit, monorail and high-speed rail.

"The criteria we are evaluating is whether the mass-transit alternative fits into the local character of the community," Rodriguez said. "As part of that, we want the community's feedback of what they would prefer, in a broad sense. We are not getting down to telling them the number of dollars it is going to cost. But, we are giving them a ballpark of what something could cost and what it could look like."

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Public comment will help identify the favored footprint for the transit option's alignment on S.R. 224, which will either be down the center, adjacent to or running on both sides of the road.

The intent of the online open house is to encourage participation from a wide set of stakeholders across a large geographic area, according to a county staff report. Approximately 646 people have participated in the study, with 186 leaving open-ended comments, the report states. Sixty percent of respondents were younger than 35, with a third of them residing in the county. A community open house is scheduled to be held on Dec. 5, between 5 and 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Park City Library.

Based on the responses that have been received so far, the preferred option is bus-rapid transit running on both sides of the road within dedicated transit lanes. Bus-rapid transit or rapid streetcar/light-rail transit running down the center within dedicated lanes was the least preferred.

Once the preferred transportation connection is identified, the consultants who are in charge of the study will take that information, along with the data, to identify the locally preferred alternative.

"The goal of the study is to identify the locally preferred alternative," Rodriguez said. "What happens from there will be up to the City and County Councils to take the next steps to figure out the actual environmental analysis, funding and designs."

The S.R. 224 corridor study was one of the main reasons the Summit County Council agreed to stay involved with the regional transportation plan known as the Mountain Accord — which has transformed into the Central Wasatch Commission — through the second phase. The Mountain Accord provided funding for the study.

"People are seeing a lot of changes and upgrades when it comes to transportation and this is another large step in the process," Rodriguez said. "If you care at all, check out the website and come to the open house and let us know what you think."

Public comment will be accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 12. The study can be accessed at http://valleytomountainstudy.com/.