Transit talks to move Kamas Valley
With transportation issues front and center on both Park City and Summit County’s agendas, South Summit residents will have their chance to chime in on Monday.
As part of an ongoing series of brainstorming sessions, the two entities are hosting an open house for Kamas Valley residents at the South Summit Middle School, Monday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Topics include the possibility of expanding the existing Park City and Summit County transit system to include the East Side and overall plans for the next five to 10 years.
Like the three meetings that were held in Park City and Kimball Junction, attendees will be asked about their transportation needs and what services they would like to see, according to Caroline Ferris, Summit County regional transportation planning director.
"What we are doing right now is updating our short-range transit plan and we do that every five years. It will go from 2016-2021 and it dictates all of our planning for the immediate future for our public transportation," Ferris said. "We’ve already had a few listening sessions and now this next round will be in Kamas so we can sort of get to hear from some of our residents over there who we know are very interested in transportation, but we may not have been able to hear their voices yet."
The open house will include a short presentation from the consultants, KFH Group, followed by an open house and comment period.
"We will be asking our community members to give their opinions about what their needs are terms of transportation, such as the places they need to go, the times they need to go and are they being serviced," Ferris said.
More than 40 people attended each of the three hearings when they were held on the West Side of the county, Ferris said, adding that some of the feedback included the need for more services closer to the neighborhoods.
Summit County staff, Park City representatives and a Spanish translator are scheduled to attend the open house. Ferris said the county wants to reach out to the Latino community.
"One of the populations we would really love to hear from, but don’t, is our Spanish-speaking community," Ferris said. "It has been really hard to get input from that community. We are trying to reach out to people who we believe would be representatives of that community and can spread the word, but it’s been difficult."
Monday’s open house will be the fourth meeting the city and county have held to explore the existing transit system’s future during the next five to 10 years. The discussions have already included expanding the system into North and South Summit, creating more stops and more routes. As concepts for the short-range transit plan continue to evolve, another meeting will be held to address those, Ferris said.
Summit County and Park City officials have made it a priority to address their respective transportation issues while collaborating on several overlapping problems such as transit use. One goal is to encourage drivers to abandon their cars and use the fare-free bus system, which currently covers Park City and parts of the Snyderville Basin.
Park City Transit recently extended the hours of operation in the Snyderville Basin to match the times in the city. The early-morning resort employee route along the Kilby and Bitner roads began Nov. 20 and the other changes take effect Dec. 4.
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.