Back to school means back to gridlock |

Back to school means back to gridlock

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Park City. No, not because it is snowing, but because, for the last month, traffic has been backed up at every intersection from Interstate 80 to Guardsman Pass, and from S.R. 224 to US 40.

Unfortunately, it is about to get worse.

Students throughout Summit County return to school this week which will inevitably lead to massive car pool and school bus congestion in and around each school zone every weekday morning and afternoon from now until next June.

Locations and times to avoid if at all possible include:

The McPolin Elementary, Treasure Mountain junior high and Park City High School entrances on S.R. 248 (Kearns Boulevard) from about 7:15 to 8:20 a.m. and from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.

The Parley’s Park Elementary School zone at the intersection of S.R. 224 and Silver Springs Drive from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

The Jeremy Ranch Elementary School entrance on East Rasmussen Road from 7:15 to 8:20 a.m. and from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.

The Ecker Hill Middle School zone on Landmark Drive from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

Since the morning school bells coincide with most commuter schedules, prepare for an epidemic of overheated engines and tempers on both highway corridors in and out of the city.

We are not kidding. Based on the level of traffic already saturating Kearns Boulevard from Bonanza Drive to U.S. 40, and all of Kimball Junction, the addition school-related traffic is likely to light up the phone lines at the city and county engineers’ offices. There is no sugar coating it. There will be lots of tardies and docked timecards next week until parents, bus drivers and commuters readjust their schedules to accommodate for the kind of bumper-to-bumper traffic many residents moved here to avoid.

At this point, it would be nice to conclude with a list of suggestions to help drivers avoid the above mentioned traffic jams, but frankly, there aren’t any quick fixes. We can only urge drivers to remember that next Wednesday morning’s exhaust-belching snarl of cars can’t be blamed on the fourth grader bent over to tie his shoe in the middle of the crosswalk.

Park City’s traffic crisis has been in the making for over a decade and neither developers nor taxpayers have had the political will to make the necessary sacrifices to avert it. Now perhaps, with bottlenecks tightening and traffic loads increasing on both S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, officials and citizens will acknowledge the urgency of building alternative routes, using public transportation and exercising more cautious and courteous driving habits. At least, we will all have plenty of time to brainstorm about transportation solutions as we sit in our cars on school days.

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