Summit County officials displeased with transportation results
December 30, 2014
Summit County Council members aren’t pleased with the recommendations they received from the officials with LSC Transportation Consultants and Fehr&Peers for the Snyderville Basin’s long-range transportation plan study earlier this month.
The recommendations for the transportation plan included two options for the council to consider to address traffic congestion and the expected growth during the next 25 years, neither of which accomplished the county’s traffic goals, council member Roger Armstrong said.
The county paid approximately $135,000 for the results.
"Rather than bring us something that didn’t work, I would have loved to see some creativity," Armstrong said at the County Council meeting on Dec. 17. "Like what you really have to do is think outside of the box and here are some things you can do to dwindle traffic down.
"I think that is what I was expecting and what I thought we were paying for," he added. "But it’s not what we got and I was disappointed. I didn’t feel like it was creative. We need to take a step back and start to think of transit issues differently."
The consultants provided the council with two options to consider.
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The first was a $371 million plan for extensive improvements in the areas of roadways, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian paths, would essentially hold the volume of vehicles in the Snyderville Basin at the current levels.
The other option would cost $138.5 million and would include additional busses throughout the Snyderville Basin and busses traveling to Kamas, Oakley, Coalville and Heber in Wasatch County.
In the county, an 85-percent increase in population is predicted, in effect nearly doubling the daily trips throughout the Snyderville Basin and surrounding areas.
Both options sought to increase public transportation use to reduce the amount of cars on the road.
But council members felt neither option did either.
"I was very disappointed," Council member Claudia McMullin said. "I felt like it was largely regurgitated from the 2009 transportation study and I think it was almost stupid to give us two options that did nothing.
"If the premise of not adding another car is stupid, then tell us that," she added.
The recommendations proved the county’s traffic goals are either unrealistic or there is a solution out there that was not provided, McMullin said.
Community Development Director Pat Putt said the responsibility to solve the county’s traffic problem now falls back on the county.
"If we are going to it the way we want it, we need to do it ourselves, based on our own set of dynamics," Putt said. "We have to grow it on our own. At this point right now, we are getting best practices of repeat information from somewhere else.
"We need to spend more time, more effort, and more creativity on our own terms," he said.
The two main traffic problems that are created in the county stem from the way locals move, in relation to the tourists, Putt said.
"Some of these will overlap, but they are two separate problems," he said. "And it will be a difficult discussion. In essence, what I do think is we need to be creative and do it ourselves. We keep looking for someone else to give us the answer and we get to write the solutions.
"We need to give ourselves credit," he added. "And this includes the city, too.
County engineer Leslie Crawford agreed officials need to be more creative when considering solutions to the county’s traffic problems.
"We were promised innovative solutions and I don’t think we got that," Crawford said. "I definitely have my job cut out for me to come up with some innovative solutions and the stuff we need to explore. And I think it will help us succeed in the long run."
The final recommendations for the long-range transportation plan are available at http://summitcounty.org/documentcenter/view/996.
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