Guest editorial: Traffic is Park City’s real problem, and here’s how we can fix it
Back in the ’80s we used to think that water would be the limiting factor of unimpeded growth in Park City, but we did too good a job of getting plenty of water here. Water flows towards money. Now it turns out that traffic is the real problem, the barometer of our quality of life, but you can’t buy your way out of traffic. Traffic is relative, depending on your acceptable level of service, and we are spoiled. We don’t know what real traffic is. Traffic in Utah means taking it out of cruise control. Like everyone out there I too have some personal, professional and practical solutions on what we can do to mitigate our town’s traffic:
Park City should become No Park City. Sorry for this inconvenient truth but paid parking at the resorts, events and Main Street will get everyone in the buses and satellite parking lots, no matter where they hide them, and get us out of our individual cars. Use the parking revenues to cover costs for more buses and parking lots. No day-user or employee cars past Kimball or Quinn’s Junction. Make it like Zion National Park with everyone on the bus or a bike. Encourage e-bikes for all. Run free or cheap buses to Salt Lake City, Kamas and Heber. Connect the Richardson Flat Parking to S.R. 248.
Use the existing roads we have. Making roads bigger does not solve much, it encourages more traffic. Get UDOT up here every day to connect, time, actuate and make the traffic lights state-of-the art, operating according to the ever-changing, real-time traffic patterns. Use the wide shoulders at Kimball’s and Quinn’s Junction for through traffic and turning movements, buses and emergencies. Stripe two exit lanes on the off-ramp from East I-80 to South U.S. 40. It was all striped that way during the Olympics and should continue because that is the traffic load we have now. We can’t afford the luxury of huge blank shoulders and empty middle turning dividers anymore. Use them for buses and/or cars. Ride your bike on the bike paths — it’s safer. Get rid of the empty sidewalks and planter boxes in the middle of the highways. Use moveable directional dividers. It’s a road. If you want flowers, go to the park.
If S.R. 248 is going to be four lanes, so be it. Make it four lanes the entire length, but not five or seven lanes. Pinching it down to two lanes for short distances does nothing but clog up the four lanes we already have. Be consistent. When UDOT offered us a fly-over intersection at Kimball Junction years ago we said “we were not fly over people” and now are stuck with a bad two dimensional solution. Denying the need to streamline S.R. 248 is like sticking our head in the same sand. Be real.
Make Main Street one-way uphill with diagonal parking and Swede Alley downhill. Keep traffic out of the residential areas. Listen more to the residents. We live here too. Only allow one event per week in town. Including Sundance. Consider the locals.
Respect the civil, social contract we have with each other while driving in our cars. Have patience with the tourists, they don’t know the roads and the roundabouts. No yelling. Pay attention everyone; no phones, no booze, no pets. Focus.
Green means go. Red means stop. Yellow means slow. Hang up and drive. Practice 10 seconds of kindness, road rage is about power, not time. Take your time.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
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A reader from Oakley says Parkites need to understand that the worst of the potential environmental problems brought on by climate change will not be happening in Park City.