Summit County awarded $500,000 for bike-share program
Traveling between Kimball Junction and Park City without encountering bumper to bumper traffic could soon be possible.
Earlier this month, the Utah Transit Authority announced it would be awarding $20 million to six counties along the Wasatch Back and Front, including Summit, to improve sidewalk, trail, bike and transit access throughout more than 20 cities in UTA’s system. Summit County is expected to receive $500,000 from the grant.
Caroline Ferris, Summit County’s regional transportation director, said Summit County’s share of the grant will be used to establish an electric bike share program with stations located between Park City and the Snyderville Basin.
Summit County revealed its plans to launch the program in April and recently selected Bewegen Technologies Inc. to administer it. Last week, representatives with the company, which has established systems in Baltimore, Md., Richmond, Va., Germany and Portugal, held several demonstrations around the county.
“They’ve been on site for a week and were looking at different locations and have been working with Park City as well,” Ferris said. “They did bike demonstrations at the fair and were at Newpark.
“A lot of people really bought into the idea and, honestly, when they really get excited is when they try the bike,” Ferris said. “That is when we really have conversations and people begin to realize that this is going to make a big difference in our system.”
Ferris said Bewegen Technologies Inc. was initially skeptical about installing a bike-share system in a location like Summit County “where you wouldn’t traditionally put one.”
“They said the system made more sense within the municipal boundaries of Park City and where we were wanting to place stations is not typically where they would put them,” Ferris said. “But when I took them out and showed them what we were working with, even they are really excited. They said, ‘Now I get what you are telling me. This will be like any other one the way your community works and this is going to work.’”
Officials hope to launch the program in May with nearly 100 bikes placed at approximately 10 stations along State Road 224 near Park City Mountain Resort, Kimball Junction, the Tanger Outlet Center, Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook. Ferris estimated it would cost nearly $500,000 to start the program.
“It does require big capital to start that program and I am awaiting the completion of a feasibility study, but I estimate it will be right around there,” Ferris said. “But once the program is in place, our reoccurring costs are relatively low and eventually it will start to pay for itself.
“Our County Council is also considering these two ballot measures and with that increased revenue, we would be able to continue supporting this program,” she said.
Today, council members are scheduled to consider whether to adopt two resolutions to include two tax proposals to raise revenue for transportation projects on the November ballot. An additional Mass Transit Tax and county-wide option would each add .25 percent, or one cent for every $4 spent, to the countywide sales and use tax. Each tax is expected to generate more than $4 million annually.
“With this grant and all of these projects, someone could travel from their neighborhood in Ogden to Park City without getting in a car,” Ferris said.
The money is part of a larger partnership between the Utah Department of Transportation, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Mountainland Association of Governments and several cities in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Toole, Utah and Summit counties. It was awarded under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
The TIGER program supports projects that encourage residents to abandon their cars, such as bike sharing programs, which allow people to rent traditional and electric bicycles and return them to stations within a connected system, according to the UTA.
For more information about the projects approved under the grant, go to https://www.rideuta.com/About-UTA/UTA-Publications/Grant-Documents.