The Park Record editorial, July 14-16, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, July 14-16, 2010

Summer traffic: Cars, bikes and construction, oh my!

If you were looking for some traffic relief after a winter of dodging snowstorms, you will likely be disappointed. With the exception of a week or two in the early spring, Summit County driving hazards are just as plentiful in July as they are in January. They are just a different color.

Nearly every major thoroughfare in and around Park City has become an obstacle course of orange cones, construction equipment and a variety of recreational vehicles including campers, horse trailers and bicycles.

It is enough to induce an outbreak of road rage.

But wait. Before you cock that middle finger, think about the potential victims of your venom.

We have already written about the short-term pain and long-term gain of road construction. Potholes, droopy shoulders and lack of turning lanes all require road closures and heavy equipment to fix. But the results are almost always worth the wait. So don’t blame the flagman and when you are finally waved through. Keep your speed down and eyes open.

As for those unwieldy campers those are some of the tourists we have worked hard to attract to the community. They probably weren’t warned, when they searched Google maps for a restaurant, that Park City’s Old Town streets are steep and narrow and driving a motor home up Swede Alley probably isn’t a great idea. But they are our guests and one sure way to drive them away is to scream obscenities while they are trying to find a place to park. A better idea would be to guide them to a satellite parking lot and to tell them about the free shuttle system.

Finally, about those pesky cyclists: Just when you have broken out of the last traffic jam and hit the open road, there they are. Four abreast, swerving while drinking out of their water bottles and monopolizing a whole lane like they were in the Tour de France.

On closer inspection, though, you will discover that many of those helmeted aliens are actually your neighbors, your physician, your lawyer or your realtor.

If you haven’t noticed, Park City is experiencing a resurgence of road cycling. For a while mountain biking was all the rage and there were fewer bikes on the road, but they have returned to the pavement in force this season.

To the consternation of some drivers, bicycles have every right to be on the road and drivers are legally obligated to maintain a safe margin when passing them. Park City and Summit County bill themselves as destination resorts for healthy recreation and that includes rolling out the welcome mat for cyclists. But, by the same token, cyclists must heed the rules of the road and not impede traffic.

July and August promise to be busy in terms of traffic, construction projects and recreation. It will take extra vigilance on everyone’s part to ensure a safe summer for all.

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