UDOT idea for Park City criticized for more traffic, noise, dump trucks
Andy Facey, who has lived in Prospector for a decade and whose house backs up to S.R. 248, on Wednesday had a clear opinion in opposition of the Utah Department of Transportation’s idea to expand the state highway.
A road project like the one outlined by state transportation officials would lead to heavier traffic, he predicted. And the additional vehicles would cause broad problems on the S.R. 248 entryway, he said.
“Adding another lane in and out is asking for more people. I thought we were trying to cut out the traffic,” he said during an open house at Treasure Mountain Junior High that drew a large crowd to learn about the project. “The problems are going to be the whole way in.”
Facey and many others at the event appeared to be displeased with the idea as they spoke to members of the project team, pored over boards explaining the work and provided written comments. The event on Wednesday was the first time the ideas were presented to a large audience and was scheduled shortly after a UDOT presentation to Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council.
“More traffic. More noise. More dump trucks. More semitrailers. More everything,” Facey said as he predicted the effects of the project on S.R. 248.
The Department of Transportation recently outlined a preferred alternative for the S.R. 248 entryway that calls for the expansion of the state highway to five lanes between the U.S. 40 interchange and the intersection with S.R. 224, a 3.1-mile stretch of road that has long been one of the Park City’s area’s traffic chokepoints. The current configuration involves a range from three lanes to five lanes. The five-lane alternative calls for two lanes in each direction with a turning lane at most of the intersections. There would be two left-turn lanes at the intersections with S.R. 224 and Bonanza Drive.
The Department of Transportation has based the designs on the projected traffic increases along the entryway over coming decades, saying intersections will fail if there are not improvements to the road by 2040.
The open house was held as a draft environmental assessment was released and amid a 30-day public-comment period that ends at midnight on July 11. It had been expected that Parkites from various neighborhoods as well as commuters would closely follow the discussions since any changes to the design of S.R. 248 would have widespread impacts.
Approximately 140 people signed in at the open house, but the crowd appeared to be larger than that figure. There were residents of Prospector, the closest neighborhood to the section of S.R. 248 under discussion, alongside people from disparate other places in and around Park City.
The attendees moved between a series of poster boards explaining the project and studied a large map of the entryway. The project representatives spent time talking to individuals or small groups of people. Beerman and at least four members of the City Council were in attendance. The event did not serve as a formal public hearing, but many of the attendees were seen providing written comments that will be compiled as part of the process.
Some of the people were worried about the impact of the work on speed limits, the bus lines that would be designed for a redone road and the effects on wildlife of a widened road.
Chelsea Gibbs, another Prospector resident, questioned whether the project fits with City Hall’s overarching goals of transit and sustainability. She said the designs outlined by the Department of Transportation will “just move cars into town and force the bottlenecking problems” on S.R. 248 and S.R. 224 onto streets under the jurisdiction of City Hall. She said it is “pushing the problem off onto the city.”
“This problem will be pushed from the 248 corridor to streets such as Bonanza and Park Avenue,” she said, adding that there will also be impacts on parking. “We’re trying to solve the problem by allowing more cars in Park City. … We’re just going to have cars circling around.”
Gibbs offered an alternative that taps an existing park-and-ride lot along the S.R. 248 entryway and a requirement that workers use the lot.
“I think it’s going to hurt the citizens of Park City more than anything else,” Gibbs said about the alternative preferred by the Department of Transportation.
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