Summit County officials on board with new transit center
The Summit County Council is moving forward on plans for a transit center that it hopes will serve as a county-based bookend for Park City’s Old Town Transit Center.
As proposed, the Kimball Junction hub will be located on a three-acre site just west of the Sheldon Richins Building on West Ute Blvd. The facility, projected to cost $2.4 million, would include space for up to 10 buses, a 2,500-square-foot transit building and approximately 20 park-and-ride spaces.
The site was identified as part of the development agreement surrounding the Park City Tech Center. As part of the agreement, Boyer Company was required to donate a three-acre parcel specifically for a transit center.
Sally Tauber, a member of the Kimball Junction Business Association, said it would be "great to have another transit center at the junction," but it would be more beneficial to the area’s restaurants and retailers if the transit center was on the west side of State Road 224.
"It sure would be nice to have a transit center if it was on the shopping side because I think all the restaurants and shopping would benefit more," she said.
Jim Doilney, one of the co-developers of Newpark, said the chosen site is "really wrong."
"You don’t put a site in the middle of where the people don’t have anything to do while they are waiting," Doilney said. "Someplace in the southeastern side of Kimball Junction would make a lot more sense. That would be a perfect location in the interim. It would be a place where people could walk to and maybe shop while they are waiting.
"Between now and then, they are going to have to build around that location," he said. "It’s the wrong location for the next 10 years. This will not promote ridership and they are going to have to bus people over there."
County officials say the Newpark and Redstone commercial centers were platted and developed prior to the discussions for expanding the transit service out into the county.
"There were no parcels available, that I know of, that were suitable, which is why they negotiated with Boyer for a parcel," Summit County Public Works Director Derrick Radke said. "And the proposed site is kind of a central location. It’s a good spot to move buses in and out and the roundabouts provide flexibility. I don’t know what benefit the Newpark side has over the suggested site."
David Allen, project manager with Boyer Company, said the west side of S.R. 224 is "a better fit and probably has less congestion."
"The county asked us about the site and as part of our traffic analysis and part of our marketing and long-range plan, we realized we had to be part of the solution to the traffic at Kimball Junction," Allen said. "I still think the location is a good one and it has a lot of different routes the busses can take.
"But long-term, the real question surrounds parking for people to ultimately use the transit," Allen said. "That’s a question I hear a lot from people."
Brooks Robinson, a senior transportation planner with Park City Transit, said the location is "central to the Snyderville Basin and the core commercial areas."
While Newpark Hotel has what Robinson described as a "glorified bus stop," the area isn’t conducive to a transit center, he said.
"What you really want to do for transit operations is be able to move in and out of the area quickly and the chosen site does that," he said.
According to officials, the transit center is not intended to encourage a park-and-ride system in the Kimball Junction area. Instead, it is meant to offer quicker travel times into Park City.
Another benefit of the chosen site, Radke said, is it would allow for future expansions of the facility, including additional park-and-ride spaces.
"This is the right spot should we also have parking here," he said. "As time goes on, we’ll figure out if park-and-ride spots are necessary. As we go down the road and see how it functions, we may have to change our mind."
Leah Kolb, president of the Kimball Junction Business Association, said regardless of the specific location, the transit center will be a "great addition to the area."
"Traffic in this area has been a concern and is continuing to become more of an issue and
having a centralized location in town and here will help alleviate some of that," Kolb said. "As far as location, there is more space in that area for people to park. But I think this project is inevitable and needs to happen.
"I think it’s good that it is starting now and kicking off the implementation of new solutions," Kolb said.
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Summit County officials declared their potential conflicts of interest, with Councilors Doug Clyde and Chris Robinson offering the most extensive lists on the County Council.