Summit County seeking community input in future Rail Trail Corridor
New survey, due Dec. 1, follows up on community feedback
From accessibility and sustainability to economic vitality and cultural preservation, Summit County is seeking community input on several proposed improvements along the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail.
County officials are considering transforming nearly 30 miles of the pathway spanning from Park City to Echo as an arts, culture, recreation and tourism hub. Known as the Rail Trail Corridor, the project is entering its next community engagement phase and staffers are inviting the public to share their ideas for the future.
“The community’s vision is to embrace the Rail Trail Corridor as a meaningful connection through Summit County in order to enhance user experience, safeguard the natural environment, promote economic vitality, and enrich community character,” a 191-page draft plan, highlighting the main goals of the project, stated.
A new survey asks people to review the draft, which was compiled through public feedback, and provide insight that could be incorporated into the “polished version.” County staffers expect to present it to the Summit County Council in February with the hope that it will be revised, adopted, and eventually, implemented.
They received 478 survey responses, collaborated with 90 community members at two open-house events and hosted four focus groups with dozens of stakeholders between September 2021 and June in the first phase of community engagement.
The latest survey follows up on the input to help hone in on the details and ensure the Rail Trail Corridor benefits residents and visitors alike. The primary vision for the corridor is to connect Summit County to Park City while enriching the character of the community. They plan to do this by creating connections that support diverse local businesses, embracing places as “Trail Towns” and hosting cultural arts events while also being conscious of environmental stewardship and the impacts of economic enhancement, according to a one-page summary of the project plan.
Staffers similarly want to improve the experiences of people who use the Rail Trail for walking, biking, running, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. This includes promoting the trail as a mode of transportation, improving safety, connectivity and water quality, implementing Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and preserving natural wildlife.
The 21-question survey asks more specific questions to address these topics. Residents can rate how important regional connections along the Rail Trail are, if there are any portions along the trail that feel unsafe and possible improvements – such as painted or raised crosswalks as well as pedestrian or rapid crossing beacons – to help with road crossings.
Additional signage was a popular request among the community, with staffers seeking further input on what types should be utilized. Mile markers, wayfinding/navigation for community connections, maps, historic depictions, information about the natural environment, environmental and trail etiquette and arts and cultural information are among the options.
Public opposition to uncontrolled, sprawling development throughout the corridor led staffers to request more information about what would be appropriate at key points, such as trailheads and connections to neighboring communities, along the Rail Trail. Possible options include lighting, bike pumps and tools, seating and picnic tables, art, signage and wayfinding, water stations, restrooms, trash cans and dog waste bins. Respondents are also asked to choose if they want connections to restaurants or cafes, food trucks or pop-up shops, recreational amenities like tennis courts or bike rentals, housing and shuttle stops.
Future events, if wanted, could also be hosted along the Rail Trail. These may include concerts, educational tours, clean-up events, friendly competitions, themed walking groups and temporary exhibits. The survey also asks how important it is to include features that are locally made or highlight local culture and history.
Other topics include where development should be prioritized, if and where the Rail Trail should be paved, who should manage the Rail Trail and what the overall goals of the corridor project should be.
The survey must be completed by Dec. 1. For more information on the project or to find ways to get involved, visit railtrailsummit.weebly.com.
The first public hearing about tax increases is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sheldon Richins Building located at 1885 West Ute Blvd. The second hearing is set for Dec. 13 at the Summit County Courthouse. Both meetings will be live streamed.
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