Summit County and Park City Councils approve short-range transit plan
September 6, 2016
Summit County and Park City are accelerating their plans to resolve the traffic woes.
Last week, Summit County and Park City announced that they will continue investing in mass transportation. Staff, along with a joint transportation advisory board, have been working for the past year to create a short-range transit development plan to serve as a guide for the next five-to-seven years. Both councils approved the document last week.
"The intent of the plan is to provide a five-to seven-year planning horizon through an implementation plan that lays out these broader goals and policies," said Alfred Knotts, Park City transportation planning manager. "It puts heavy emphasis on mass transportation as opposed to increasing capacity and road building.
"What we are doing is we are really focusing on more direct routes to serve our local population because we already do a good job of serving the visitors," Knotts said.
“The intent of the plan is to provide a five-to seven-year planning horizon through an implementation plan that lays out these broader goals and policies. It puts heavy emphasis on mass transportation as opposed to increasing capacity and road building."
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In the short term, officials want to focus more on the primary corridors into Park City, while also increasing direct service routes to the Snyderville Basin and Kamas. The Kimball Junction Transit Center, currently under construction, will help facilitate that, Knotts said.
"The overarching strategy with the whole Kimball Junction Transit Center is to help serve our nodes," Knotts said. "Where the east and west spine routes come in, someone could transfer and get on a bus there and not everything has to go to Silver Springs or the Canyons. We want to cut down on a lot of those trips."
The pilot programs that were implemented last winter, including expanded hours through midnight, will continue under the new plan. Additional services could include a Kimball Junction shuttle, service to Summit Park and on-call buses.
"That is what we want to do: put the resources where we will get more bang for your buck," Knotts said. "This is really an implementation plan over those broader general plan documents. It really gives us the blueprint to prioritize our resources and be able to also demonstrate to our state and federal funding partners when we have additional requests and where we would prioritize them."
According to the short-range transit plan, Park City and Summit County are going to invest nearly $500,000 over the next year to continue providing expanded services throughout the winter. In 2017-2018, approximately $6.6 million will be needed to begin implementing new services, such as extended routes to Kimball Junction and a Kimball Junction circulator, commuter service to the Kamas Valley, a Richardson Flats shuttle and a Silver Creek call-a-bus service.
The services outlined under the plan are expected to be funded through the two tax initiatives County Council members recently agreed to place on the November ballot. The Mass Transit Tax and the county-wide tax option would each add .25 percent, or one cent for every $4 spent, to the countywide sales and use tax to fund these projects over the next six years.
"Services would be funded by that additional revenue if it is approved," Knotts said. "If not, we would have to readjust our priorities. We are looking to be more strategic and focusing our resources on increasing levels of service. We want to be good stewards of the public's money."
County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said the plan validates and supports the strategy that was developed as part of comprehensive transit efforts through the advisory board.
"I think that the public wants to be able to maneuver around the Basin with less congestion," Armstrong said. "They have substantial concerns with traffic congestion and the suggestions in that plan reflect not only strategies to deal with that, but are also the product of discussions with the public."
To view the short-range transit plan, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/3727.
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