Walking survey starts | ParkRecord.com

Walking survey starts

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Telephone surveyors expect to be calling Parkites this week to ask them questions about walkways and trails.

Carol Potter says she knows what people will tell them.

Potter, who leads Mountain Trails Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to advancing trails issues, says Parkites will say that they want the trails and walkways expanded.

"They are going to want more," she says. "We can certainly do more."

Potter argues, for instance, that Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard are difficult to cross for walkers and bicyclists and says that a connection is needed in the North of Main district, oftentimes called NoMa.

"Can I get from the Rail Trail over to Albertsons on a safe walking path," she says.

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The telephone surveyors are scheduled to start calling people on Wednesday or Thursday and the survey begins what is planned as a monthlong campaign by City Hall to gather input from Parkites about walking and bicycling in Park City.

"We want to hear what the expectations of the community are about being a first-class walkable community," says Mark Vlasic, a consultant City Hall hired to help craft a strategy for walking and biking.

The survey and a series of neighborhood workshops scheduled in early December are planned about six months after walking and bicycling were widely discussed during budget hearings in the spring.

Lots of Parkites at that time pressed Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council for money to study walking and bicycling improvements as a means to make people safer and reduce the number of people driving cars in the city. Some held a well-publicized bicycle ride to City Hall during the budget talks to testify for funding for a study.

The City Council, in a concession to the bloc of supporters, set aside up to $150,000 over two years to study walking, bicycling and traffic. The Vlasic study is priced at $122,270.

Vlasic says the surveyors will ask people about their walking habits, such as where they walk and their opinion of the conditions of the roads and trails. Vlasic wants to learn how far people would walk, whether they walk at night and whether they would walk more often if conditions were different.

The survey is planned to be scientific and Vlasic wants to base the results on 400 responses. Vlasic hopes that preliminary results are compiled by early December and the final numbers are determined by mid-December.

He acknowledges that Park City’s reputation is that it is a good place for walkers and bicyclists but he wonders whether there are enough improvements in the city to warrant the reputation.

Jon Weidenhamer, a City Hall planner assigned to the project, says the survey is needed to gather opinions from people who normally do not attend meetings and to provide statistical data to complement the anecdotal discussions that have occurred.

"We want to make sure it’s not City Hall telling a consultant what a walkable community is," he says, adding that the city is considering an online questionnaire separate from the scientific survey.

In December, a series of public workshops is scheduled. In those, the government and the consultant want to talk to people about their opinions and ideas. A Dec. 4 workshop at the Racquet Club is designed for people who live in Prospector and Park Meadows, a Dec. 5 event at City Hall is expected to draw people from Old Town and Deer Valley and a Dec. 6 meeting at City Hall is arranged for people from Thaynes Canyon and Resort Center areas. The meetings are scheduled from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, meetings are being planned to gather opinions from Latinos and students in middle school. The student meeting will be held either Dec. 11 or Dec. 12 at Treasure Mountain International Middle School.

Two more meetings, designed for all the neighborhoods, are scheduled in January and February. The recommendations will then be crafted and submitted to the Planning Commission and the City Council.