Letters: Summit County Councilor says regional leadership needed on issues like S.R. 248
Disclaimer: This opinion piece is strictly my opinion and not official policy of the Summit County Council.
In the past few weeks, Tom Clyde has written two particularly insightful pieces on transportation planning.
In his first offering he opined on the need to think regionally. The Wasatch Back is rapidly becoming a medium-sized city, but one with planning, road construction and maintenance, and mass transit currently regulated by as many as 12 entities.
The recent S.R. 248 proposal from UDOT points out the fallacies of a myopic approach to planning. Concentrating solely on a 3-mile stretch of highway, without addressing the source of the traffic or its ultimate destination, guarantees temporary solutions that will likely fail in the longer term and ignores the environmental effects of increased numbers of internal combustion vehicles.
In July, I was fortunate to attend a four-day conference held by NACO (National Association of Counties) in Las Vegas. One seminar was hosted by the Clark County RTC (Regional Transportation Commission). This body includes the local transit authority, Nevada DOT, as well as road and general planning authorities from Clark County and surrounding cities.
Imagine a unified response to transportation planning that, instead of proposing road expansion for every traffic increase, developed a plan that included regional transit, dispersed park-and-rides, a U.S. 40/S.R. 248 interchange realignment that provided easy access to parking and transit, reversible bus/HOV lanes and a destination parking plan that encouraged remote parking and bus/carpooling usage.
Tom rightly pointed out, in his second piece, that the joint city/county resolution was a vague response to a specific engineering solution, but I view it as an opening salvo in future negotiations.
The question before all of us in the Wasatch Back is, can we put aside parochialism and the preservation of fiefdoms and power centers to work cooperatively on these issues? Do we have the collective leadership to do so?
There are municipal elections this year. Voters in Park City, Heber City and Midway should ask their candidates about these issues, as should the voters in next year’s county elections.
Summit County Council
Forced to leave
This is an open letter to Park City and Summit County officials. I am an 85-year-old senior citizen of Summit County. I have been a resident for 28 years. I am moving to Taylorsville to Summit Vista, a continuum care senior living facility. I have been working with a group in Park City for about 12 years trying to establish a similar facility here — it’s not happening! You, as two government agencies, have fought hard and established programs for affordable housing (which I applaud) and spent many dollars on land preservation (which I also applaud), but what have you done for seniors? Nothing! So we’re forced to leave. As I say goodbye, I would like to thank the MARC and its staff. They have gone out of their way to help, appreciate and accommodate us.
A priority for Park City should be the safety of all trail users. With an increase in trail traffic, conflicts between trail users are going to get worse if we do nothing. Fortunately, solutions are possible so everyone including mountain bikers, dogs, hikers, runners, equestrians and children are safe and happy on the trails.
As an avid trail user, I use less crowded trails early in the morning and am respectful to other trail users yet still do not feel safe on many of our trails. When I am running, I step off the trail for approaching bikers, say hi and we continue. Unfortunately, sometimes the trail is too narrow for me to step off or I cannot get out of the way soon enough. Many bikers believe they have the right of way, assuming I will immediately jump out of their way and if I cannot, will plow into me. When I politely say pedestrians have the right of way, bikers often curse at me telling me I’m wrong. Sadly, many other hikers and runners have similar stories. If more trail users knew and followed proper trail etiquette rules, our trails would be safer and more enjoyable.
A simple, effective solution is more trail etiquette education and signs to encourage users to follow the rules. The International Mountain Bike Association ‘Rules of the Trail’ states “mountain bikers should yield to all other trail users” both on uphills and downhills. Basin Recreation writes, “mountain bikers should always yield to all other users.” Mountain Trails Foundation writes, “bikes, even if traveling uphill, NEVER have the right of way to pedestrians or equestrians.” Bikers are also supposed to slow down and let others know they are approaching.
Being respectful and courteous is helpful but not enough to keep trail users safe. Additionally, we all need to know and follow the rules so we can enjoy the trails together.
Look in the mirror
Charlie Sturgis’s letter to the editor regarding RUDE Riders is disappointing and ironic as he only has to look in the mirror to see the primary cause for the trail issues he complains about. Many trail users and advocates in the community have been attempting to discuss the trail congestion and etiquette issues with Mountain Trails Foundation (MTF) the last 10 years, and have been told by Sturgis that MTF gets its direction from the city and to contact them. But when the city is contacted they say go back to MTF. End result was that MTF ignored comments if they did not fit their agenda at the time. Other trail issues that have been ignored and the trails are facing include: congestion, uninformed and too many shuttle riders, sustainability, erosion, and environmental watershed issues stemming from poor management. As a nonprofit MTF tax returns are public domain: the returns show this is not a hobby for Sturgis and he is not a volunteer, he is paid VERY well. I would hope that at this salary and tax return stated 40 hour work week, MTF could be a bit more proactive and work with actual trail users from each group instead of making divisive and misguided comments publicly and on social media. Targeting specific groups in a divisive manner is RUDE Mr. Sturgis, especially for the one individual that has had the power to prevent this type of issue for many years and done nothing.
I would urge the city and county to create a trail advisory committee made up of actual trail users and advocates, not made up of those that profit from trails. The goal of the committee would be to come up with a Trail Master Plan that would be used for guidance in an honest attempt to fix some of the issues we have and stop some before they start.
Facing the facts
I am greatly pleased to see that The Park Record, long an established member of the progressive legacy media, has published Michael Smith’s rebuttal to the Record’s pejorative description of conservative views. It is of paramount importance that we be able to face facts that challenge established views. The Park Record does its entire readership a huge service — and raises its stature — by publishing such rebuttal.
Applause for the arts fest
I applaud the Kimball Art Center’s decision and ability to make the 50th anniversary of the Park City Kimball Art Festival FREE for full-time Summit County residents!
I have been a volunteer during the festival for many years, and always at the concessions stand. The number one seller has ALWAYS been bottled water!
I applaud their decision to sell souvenir, logo water bottles (made in the USA) and offer free water refills during the festival.
I am also excited and appreciative of aspects that festival attendees won’t notice: the greening of the festival.
They are committed to implementing sustainable practices like: NOT selling bottled water, using portable, solar panels to power their on-site electrical needs,
ramping up recycling, minimizing trash, partnering with Cole Sport for a free bike valet and of course encouraging the use of Park City’s free transit system.
In doing ALL this (and more), they are aligning with two of the city’s critical priorities: sustainability and transit.
Like Sundance and the Park Silly Market, this is a large draw for both tourists and locals. Those events have led by example in their use of sustainability.
Congratulations on making it to 50 (successful) years!
Thank you for looking to our future with this year’s sustainability plans.
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A Park City resident who is moving away says the community is lucky to have Recycle Utah and should not take the nonprofit for granted.