Summit County Council endorses Snyderville Basin road improvement projects
The Summit County Council gave county staffers the go ahead on Wednesday to pursue three major road projects to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in the Snyderville Basin.
Staffers went before the Council to discuss the critical upgrades that are scheduled to begin this summer under the transportation and transit sales tax initiatives Summit County voters approved in 2016. A similar presentation was given to the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission on March 14.
Summit County Public Works Director Derrick Radke said the purpose of the discussion was to inform the Council and public about the improvements that are planned for Kilby Road and the Jeremy Ranch interchange. He said it was an opportunity to address any lingering concerns and answer questions Council members had about pursuing these particular projects.
“I was hoping for a nod to go or not go and I think we got the nod to go ahead,” he said.
One of the first projects the county has planned would turn the Ecker View Area on Kilby Road across from Ecker Hill Middle school into a park-and-ride lot. It is intended to capture commuters coming into Park City from Interstate 80 and connect them to the county’s transit system. The lot would have space for about 450 cars, including 200 parking spots for employees at the Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Village Management Association.
County staffers recently met with representatives of Park City Transit, Park City Mountain Resort, Canyons Village Management Association and TCFC, the development company that owns the land on which Vail Resorts operates the Canyons Village side of PCMR. The county is exploring whether to implement an express route from the park-and-ride lot through Park City Transit or provide a dedicated shuttle that travels to the Canyons Village for employees.
Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County’s regional transportation planning director, said everyone at the meeting was in agreement that, to make the park-and-ride lot viable, the transportation alternatives it includes need to compete with the car.
“What it really comes down to, and this is similar with all transit users, is whether this adds 30 minutes to my commute?” she said. “We talked about some strategies that can make it competitive with the vehicle and that includes extending a very quick transit service.”
Rodriguez said bus service at the park-and-ride lot would provide an additional link to the overall transit system for residents who live in the Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook neighborhoods.
“Now at their peak times there will be a 10-minute link to either the resorts or the Kimball Junction transit center,” she said. “This also offers us a chance to explore extending a link to Summit Park citizens, who have said loud and clear, ‘We wonder why transit service has not been extended to us.’ There are other opportunities that present itself for this location.”
County Council members have been on the fence about whether to pursue the Ecker View area as a park-and-ride lot because of the significant improvements that will be required for Kilby Road. The Park City Tech Center and Richardson Flat were also identified as possible sites.
Commuters would access the lot using Kilby Road, which is slated to remain one lane in each direction, with the addition of turning lanes and bike/shoulder lanes.
“I have bounced around on this thing several times,” said Doug Clyde, County Council member. “None of the solutions we have in front of us are perfect. The $3.9 million upgrade to Kilby Road gives me pause along with the fact that it is one of several imperfect solutions. What might make me feel more comfortable is if we could slip into this in an impartial way and didn’t have to make the improvements.” County Council Chair Kim Carson defended the upgrades to Kilby Road. She said several Pinebrook-area residents have contacted her complaining of congestion and safety concerns.
“So to me that’s a bad thing to have and I think those are needed improvements,” she said. “People have a lot of concerns about safety and flow. I think having those turn lanes will really improve it for those that are trying to travel either in a car, on foot or on a bike.”
Both of the projects will support the installation of roundabouts at the Jeremy Ranch interchange. Construction of the roundabouts was supposed to start this spring, but has been delayed due to wetland mitigation requirements. It is scheduled to commence in the fall.
Radke said he didn’t hear any negative comments at the two open houses that were held this month and the public appears to overall be in support of the projects. He said some people have raised concerns about the construction impact and whether transit connections will require more than one bus.
“Most of the people who showed up were just curious about what was going and were happy with the changes we are going to make,” he said.
The three projects will kick off a series of improvements that are anticipated as part of the county’s long-range transportation plans.
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Do you support botanical organizations? Confusing ballot question aside, Proposition 21 is actually asking about the RAP tax, a 0.1% sales tax that has raised more than $25 million for recreation, arts and parks in Summit County since it was first put in place in 2000.