Guest editorial: Traffic fixes may be painful
If you haven’t heard, Mountain Accord has published their proposed blueprint.
The most interesting/disturbing thing to me is the transportation blueprint, which shows a possible train coming up the Cottonwood Canyon through a tunnel, into Park City and ending at Kimball Junction. Their solution for I-80 is a bus.
While I understand, that the reason behind this is because the I-80 corridor functions well, and is at nowhere near capacity, I have long believed that the best way to get visitors out of their vehicles in town starts by getting them out of their vehicles at the airport. Once a guest has a car, it is just so much easier for them to use it when they arrive in town.
UDOT, with heavy lobbying from the Wasatch Back, has identified S.R. 224 and S.R. 228 as corridors which are in need of solutions. Obviously, that is the case, but in order to get state and federal help, we are likely to have to "give" a little in the form of having transportation options that will not be popular in this community.
I applaud everyone who is involved in Mountain Accord both for getting all parties to the table and for the huge amount of time that has been spent on putting this information together and finding potential solutions, but I would like to remind Parkites that these problems are ours, and the solutions can be ours as well. If we stand back, throw our hands up in the air and ask others to do something for us, they will, but we might not like what we get.
Per some information that I got at a recent meeting: 45 percent of the traffic comes from bottle necks that occur at the same time, in the same place, every day and between 60-65 percent of that traffic is generated by locals (or commuters) in single-passenger vehicles.
Showing up and sounding off is great, but we need to do more. If all we can do is complain and ask our elected officials and government employees to "fix it," without providing input and being part of the solution, we give up the power to help steer the outcome.
Federal funding for our traffic problems would be welcome, but not if we have to give up local control to get it done. We can fix these problems ourselves, but it is going to take vision and some unpopular moves. Things like paid parking, working with property management companies and hotels in order to incentivize them to dissuade their guests from renting cars; offering alternative options to make getting to and from the airport as inexpensive and as simple as renting a car; better transportation for workers and a lot more work-force housing in town.
Other incentives include: plentiful and inexpensive lockers at the ski resorts so locals can just hop on the bus without having to worry about parking or lugging gear for themselves and their children and requiring new developments and large hotels to provide much more than is currently required for their workforce housing and having it on site. These are a just a few ideas and I bet all of you have a lot more.
Some of the fixes might be painful, but the problems are being addressed and we have to ask ourselves, do we want to be part of the solution and choose our poisons, or have them foisted upon us while we shake our fists from the sidelines?
I sometimes feel that the perception in our community is that things are going to happen whether we like it or not, but we do have the choice to say stand up and say "no."
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.