Guest editorial: It’s time to rethink the Arts and Culture District
Every time I pass the scraped Bonanza “triangle” I think two things: how nice the mountain view is now, and what a great spot for a transit center. It has never made much sense to have the transit center deep into town in Old Town. Instead of digging down and building up for the Arts and Culture District why not start from ground level and create the coolest transit center in the country! In the book “Better Buses Better Cities” transportation expert Steven Higashide points out that buses provide the most efficient and cost effective mode of public transportation. He describes ways to overcome people’s reluctance to take buses. We can do the same by creating a fun, exciting Bonanza Park Transit Center, nicknamed the Bo-Go. We could build a waiting room with monthly, rotating art exhibits. Visitors would exit the waiting room into a Canteen with communal tables and all kinds of craft beer, smoothies, and hot chocolate purveyors. Outside the Canteen there would be covered food truck docks. There would be an app to tell you which food trucks are visiting and when. Beyond the structure there could be a zero scape garden built entirely with re-cycled materials (eat your heart out Sunset Magazine). The garden would have various gathering places, there would be live music. Visitors would start having the Park City experience the minute they get to the Bo-Go. The Main Street transit center would be down-sized to a small indoor waiting room. The city could do a deal with the Kimball on the now excess land and the Kimball could build their museum in Old Town, where it belongs. Sundance is already across the street from the Bo-Go and I am sure their landlord would built them a new building.
This would be just part of the regional transit system. Besides running buses from the Bo-Go to the resorts, it would have a dial-up micro system for city residents to transport them to the Bo-Go. Buses would come in from the Junction and Richardson Flats could be developed as an award winning attainable housing community anchored by a fantastic Park and Ride. Think of multiple types of housing; youth hostel style for seasonal workers, single family homes, title restricted townhomes for seniors (sign me up for one of these). There could be a big plaza with gas fire pits and summer concerts. Buses would come here from SLC, Provo-Heber, Midway and connect to the Bo-Go buses every 10 minutes. The developer would partner with private bus companies to provide shuttles to SLC airport five times a day for $20 a person. People living in the area would literally have the world within footsteps, and without a car. One of the reasons there has been such a push for affordable housing in town is due to the difficulty of getting in and out of town. With this network of buses there could be so much more affordable housing built outside of town but with easy access to town.
This plan provides a solution to a big problem and creates some new vibrant areas. Compared to this the Arts and Culture District seems pretentious, outdated and kind of dead.
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“As we hear about multiple developments that propose growth in terms of thousands of units, it makes you wonder,” writes James Duebber.