Editorial: Parkites must play role in the fight against Carmageddon
November 19, 2017
If you've ever been late to an important meeting or missed out on the day's first ski run because you were idling in a traffic jam along S.R. 224 or S.R. 248, you might, to modify Jeff Foxworthy's famous punchline, be a Parkite.
But the congestion along Park City's two main entryways is far from a laughing matter to those who live, work and recreate here. That's why local officials and the Utah Department of Transportation are examining ways to improve transit along both corridors.
Both efforts are still in the early stages, as officials are still evaluating the scope of the problem and have not yet begun proposing formal solutions. Which means that the time is now for residents to get involved and influence the process.
According to both UDOT and local officials, that part is critical.
Improving transit to and from Park City is one of the biggest issues facing our town, along with growth and affordable housing. And residents and visitors alike will have to live for a long time with whatever options are eventually chosen to alleviate congestion along both corridors. But the only way officials can know what considerations are important to the community is if we tell them.
For example, UDOT has said one option may be to widen S.R. 248 to allow for more traffic flow. Many residents, however, believe that solution would simply invite more congestion and would instead prefer an alternative that focuses on public transportation or encouraging high-occupancy vehicles.
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Concerns like that are critical for traffic officials to hear, and UDOT has seemingly listened so far. Officials have pledged to craft solutions that best meets the needs of Park City.
So don't be shy about speaking up.
It was reassuring to see more than 100 people attend a recent open house regarding the S.R. 248 project. Whether they came to propose solutions or to fight against utilizing the popular Rail Trail recreation path as a transit corridor — only to discover that UDOT had already all but ruled out that possibility — we need them to stay engaged as the planning continues.
Likewise, it was a positive sign that residents complaining they hadn't been aware of the opportunity to provide feedback before an Oct. 31 deadline forced UDOT officials to extend the public comment period on the S.R. 224 project.
Keep it up. Make your voices heard.
If we're going to holler and wail next time Carmageddon strikes Park City — and we certainly will — we can't stay silent when it actually matters.
An online survey about the S.R. 224 project is available through Dec. 12 at http://valleytomountainstudy.com/. UDOT is seeking feedback about S.R. 248 through December. Residents can contact call 435-602-7440 or email email@example.com. More information is also available at udot.utah.gov/sr248improved.
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