Summit County is creating a new transportation plan | ParkRecord.com

Summit County is creating a new transportation plan

Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County's regional transportation planning director, writes down suggestions from those in attendance at the unveiling of the county's new active transportation plan.

Summit County has begun the process of creating an active transportation plan as part of its ongoing effort to "up its game" when it comes to offering residents and visitors alternative ways to travel, according to Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County's regional transportation planning director.

The county kicked off the process with stakeholders on Jan. 11 during an event at the Park City Hospital's Blair Education Center. Nearly 20 people attended, with many providing suggestions for destinations and opportunities to create better travel networks throughout the community.

"That will help guide our goals and objectives for the plan," Rodriguez said. "It is an initial identification for how the plan will go, including what the needs and barriers are and what people are thinking."

The county has been dedicating more resources to identifying alternative modes of transportation over the last couple of years, including a study focused on the S.R. 224 corridor. But, the new plan will be specifically focused on travel methods such as biking and walking rather than automotive transit.

The vision of the plan states the county will "develop a network of comfortable bicycling and walking routes that facilitate transportation and recreation for residents and visitors alike."

"Summit County will improve quality of life and collective health by creating and promoting an integrated bikeway, sidewalk and trail system for transportation and recreation that will connect neighborhoods, places of work and commercial centers," the plan states.

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County staffers explored potential destinations for travelers and barriers the county may face in trying to establish a more robust network of trails and bikes paths with those who attended the kick-off event on Thursday.

Some of the destinations that were identified as needing better connections or trails were in the Kamas Valley, and along S.R. 248 and S.R. 224. One of the barriers identified for the S.R. 248 and Jordanelle Parkway area is the fact the site is located in Wasatch County.

Those in attendance were also asked to help identify the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities the county may face as it moves forward with an active transportation plan.

The strengths that were outlined included the county already having an existing transportation network, opportunity corridors and dedicated funding.

Some of the weaknesses that could affect implementation of a plan were: geography, climate, safety, lack of infrastructure, overbuilding of roads and the auto-oriented mindset of the community.

More input from the public will be solicited over the next year as the plan is crafted. Rodriguez said the plan is being created, in part, because the Utah Department of Transportation notified the county it needed to create a locally developed plan before any funding would be earmarked for a project.

"The county has sort of had the financial burden for providing that sort of infrastructure, including bike lanes," Rodriguez said. "UDOT would include it when they could, but that has not been their mission or focus. But, they are evolving and understanding it is not all about cars and pavement. So we have sort of progressed together in our partnership and that is where we are at today."

For more information about upcoming events regarding the county's active transportation plan, email Caroline Rodriguez at crodriguez@summitcounty.org.