Record editorial: Summit County’s new transit system should steer beyond the Park City area
A new era is rapidly approaching for public transportation in the Park City area.
Summit County, frustrated with playing a secondary role within Park City Transit, has created its own, independent transit system to service the Snyderville Basin and other areas of the county. The new system, named High Valley Transit, is slated to be up and running in July.
In addition to expanding levels of service in the Basin and ensuring the experience for riders heading to and from Park City proper is not disjointed, the county must also grapple with another challenge as it sets out on its own: meeting the ever-growing demand from commuters living in outlying areas like the Kamas Valley and Wasatch County.
It’s long been apparent that the boundaries between Wasatch Back communities are becoming more blurred as people who are drawn to the Park City area but can’t afford real estate in town move instead to places like Kamas and Heber, then commute into Park City for work or to hit the slopes. If we are ever going to solve the traffic problems that plague our two main entryways, we need transit solutions that reflect that reality and allow people who don’t live particularly close to 84060 to leave their cars at home.
Currently, there is just a single bus line, the 11 Black, that goes beyond Park City or the Basin, servicing Kamas six times a day. The route was a big step forward when Park City Transit introduced it in 2017, but High Valley Transit has an opportunity to go even farther, both literally and figuratively.
For one, county officials have discussed increasing the frequency of the 11 Black line, in addition to expanding service into Francis. Those would be welcome changes that would allow even more people to hitch a ride into Park City and avoid contributing to the congestion that plagues S.R. 248.
Perhaps even more importantly, High Valley Transit officials are also looking across the county line, a process that recently began with Summit and Wasatch counties signing an agreement to work together to explore transit solutions. The concept of a bus line to and from Heber has been talked about for years, and it’s past time for officials to make it a reality. There is more than enough current demand to justify it, and ridership would only increase as developments around the Jordanelle Reservoir are built out and the stunning growth in the Heber Valley continues.
In splitting off from Park City Transit, county officials have talked about the need for a regional transit system that will eventually serve the entire Wasatch Back. They’re right, and they have lofty ambitions for High Valley Transit to lead those efforts.
Starting July 1, the county will have its opportunity. Expanding service to the Kamas Valley and Wasatch County would be a common-sense place to start.
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