Transit Hub, at Kimball Junction, given green light
Congested Kimball Junction will welcome another new development next year, but this one is designed to lessen, not add, to the junction’s traffic snarls.
Summit County plans to break ground on its much-awaited transit hub this fall, a step in trying to convince residents to ride buses instead of driving cars.
The center will lie just west of the county’s Sheldon Richins building on Ute Boulevard. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission this week gave the final OK to the $2.4 million project.
The hub should open at the earliest next spring, but probably closer to mid-year, said Derrick Radke, public works director. Radke spent part of last week making presentations to both the planning commission and the Summit County Council.
Next year’s construction represents the project’s first phase. The center should hold about 10 buses at once. The second building phase will showcase a parking lot, a place for community bicycles, a plaza and possible site for a farmers market.
The center’s parking lot will hold 20 cars. County officials and staff said the site is not meant as a park and ride. Many council members have said the answer to easing the congestion at Kimball Junction is intercepting drivers before they reach the area. Yet both council members and staff said they have yet to figure out that part of the transportation equation.
"I would like to emphasize that that facility is really to be able to facilitate a better transportation schedule," said Kim Carson, Summit County Council chair. "So it’ll be a receiving area for buses coming in from other the different neighborhoods and then hopefully provide more direct access, express access, between major transportation points."
Finding the sweet spot of park and ride coincides with building more parking spaces. However the new hub is designed as a transfer station between neighborhoods and an express route location to Park City and the ski resorts, Carson said.
A park-and-ride at the center is not the ultimate traffic solution. Summit County just hired a transportation planner, a newly created position. Part of the new planner’s job will be untying this knot.
"Is this the best location?" Carson asked. "People would have to come into the junction anyway to park there and get on the bus.
"We want to find another location and that’ll be one of the charges of our new transportation director to work with other agencies to trying to help locate a new area where you have an actual park-and-ride collector area."
As a corollary to the center, the county plans to conduct a marketing campaign to encourage residents to use more mass transit.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.