Expanding Park City Transit service to Kamas will help break logjam on S.R. 248
The Park Record editorial, March 15-17, 2017
Residents in the small towns on the east side of Summit County used to share juicy tidbits of news at the post office, or while shopping at the local cash store or standing in line at the at the movie theater — but these days those chance encounters have been replaced with solitary computer sessions scanning email, shopping online and binging on Netflix. And along the way our sense of community has become significantly diminished.
But those communities may soon discover a new way to re-engage with their neighbors. Summit County and Park City are teaming up to offer a new public transit route between Kamas and Park City. The service is set to begin this summer.
But, as you may imagine, there are still a number of details to work out, and local transportation officials are looking for suggestions.
In order to make the route successful, the schedule and stops have to coincide with local commuters’ work and recreation schedules. To figure out where people need to go and when, the county has placed a survey online.
Data from the survey, for instance, will be used to prioritize destinations. Are more people headed to Kimball Junction or to downtown Park City? Is there enough interest from riders to merit stops along State Road 248? Do riders need to be at work before 9 a.m. or are their hours flexible? And how many people are interested in weekend versus weekday service?
While ridership is likely to build slowly, regional bus service has tremendous potential to reduce traffic congestion on State Road 248. As many workers who live in South Summit or in Wasatch County know, when the ski areas are open and school is in session, State Road 248 is often backed to the US 40 interchange where commuters from Heber City merge with those from Kamas. The situation is just as bad at the end of the workday as cars crawl along Kearns Boulevard trying to leave town.
One possibility might be to create a transit center at the existing Richardson Flat parking lot which has been used a couple of times during special events. Summit County could run buses between Kamas and Richardson Flat and from there, offer connections to multiple destinations including Quinn’s Junction, Old Town, Prospector and Kimball Junction. In time, hopefully, a route would also be established between Richardson Flat and Heber.
In many ways, the success of Park City’s service-based economy is dependent on ensuring both visitors and employees can move smoothly in and out of town. The new Kamas transit route should be hailed as an important cog in that engine.
As an added benefit, riders just might find that it is a great way to make a few new friends and rekindle their sense of community.
To participate in the county transportation survey go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/kamascommute
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