The Park Record editorial, May 7-10, 2011 |

The Park Record editorial, May 7-10, 2011

Bonanza pedestrian tunnel reconnects community

In the rush to get from here to there, we sometimes forget that while multi-lane highways are great for cars, they create huge obstacles for other kinds of travel. State Road 224 is a perfect example. Remember when cows were regularly herded back and forth when it was a two-lane road? These days pedestrians take their lives in their hands scurrying across that four-lane autobahn.

The same has been true, albeit to a lesser extent, of Bonanza Drive which has seen a steady increase in traffic over the years. That fast-moving stream of cars and trucks created an intimidating barrier between neighborhoods in Prospector and around Park Avenue.

But that has changed. The long-awaited pedestrian/bicycle tunnel beneath Bonanza Drive is finally open, providing a safe passage that makes it possible for residents to travel from the top of Main Street to the Park City School District campus without crossing a major street. It means that kids can ride their bikes from Park Meadows to City Park without racing to beat a yellow light and that hikers can walk their dogs from Old Town to the Rail Trail without dodging dump trucks.

The tunnel was expensive, but it is an integral piece of a larger effort to make Park City a more walkable community an effort that started as a grassroots movement among local residents and makes a strong statement about the community’s healthy lifestyle priorities.

The Bonanza tunnel has only been open a couple of weeks, and the hiking and biking season has barely begun, but pedestrians and cyclists are already using the stress-free crossing while drivers above go on their way.

Summit County is now beginning a similar effort to facilitate pedestrian movement back and forth across S.R. 224 at Kimball Junction. There are plans to link commercial hubs on the east and west sides of the highway with a similar kind of tunnel, which would make it possible to walk or ride a bike from the Walmart side to Redstone. Work on that tunnel could begin this summer.

These pedestrian tunnels, along with the county’s growing network of biking and hiking trails, will go a long way toward knitting our neighborhoods together and will continue to cement Park City’s reputation as a forward-thinking community that values its residents’ quality of life.

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