Guest opinion: Despite our problems, Park City remains a great place to live
Park City Councilman Tim Henney once told me that I should recognize some of the good things in Park City and be thankful — otherwise I’m just another old curmudgeon grumbling in my beer. Tim is usually the smartest guy in the room, if Chris Robinson is not there, so here it goes: Park City has a Northern Colorado Plateau, high desert-mountain climate with 300 inches of light-dry snow each year, cold-wet winters and cool-dry summers. We have two local world-class, destination ski resorts, with several others nearby and copious, public land backcountry that provide some of the best skiing in the USA. We have several beautiful lakes and forests nearby and the Uinta Mountains — Utah’s Yellowstone without Grizzly bears. We have over 500 miles of regional mountain bike trails, not to mention the paved bike trails and wide shoulder bike lanes. We have world class film festivals, art festivals and markets, and we host more special events and cultural happenings in this town than you can shake a stick at. We have great restaurants and bars, galleries and T-shirt stores, bike and ski shops, coffee bars and sushi-smoothie stands.
I’ve also been told that I should supply solutions to problems that I highlight, or else I am just complaining into my beard. So here are some of my transportation ideas, however personal or draconian: Day skiers should not drive past Kimball Junction. Parking at the ski resorts should be paid parking only with the profits going to regional transportation. Workers, locals and day skiers should use the bus and the park-and-ride lots or pay dearly for parking at the resorts. Rental cars should be verboten and overnight visitors should use the bus too. Workers should be paid for their bus commute time and skiers that ride the bus should get free coffee at the resorts. You need to use the stick and the carrot to get people on buses. Buses should have bus lanes so they go faster than traffic and major intersections should use all available lanes and shoulders for traffic flow. This town should be a “No-Park City Zone.” I don’t care what the Chamber/Bureau says. They put enough heads in beds.
No one should drive to Main Street for special events. Main street does not need any more big events since it is a strong enough attraction to stand on its own. It is our hometown, not Disneyland. Festivals should be held out at Kimball Junction or the new arts and culture district and not in a residential, dead-end, box canyon like Old Town. Commercial Main Street should be one-way up, with diagonal parking and a return towards more parking down a one-way Swede Alley. Main Street should be a pedestrian mall after 5 p.m. and for special occasions like it was during the Olympics. I don’t care what the Main Street merchants say — they sell enough T-shirts.
We are fortunate to have countless great, active citizens in Park City. We have new movers-and-shakers with fresh ideas as well as wise oldtimers who still set the friendly vibe for the town and smile and say “hello” or “on your left” when they pass. It is still more about people and lifestyle than money and stuff, recreation is still the metric, and free time is still the barometer here. Yes, we could stand a few improvements to resist money-grabbing, car-culture domination and keep up with our own success. Park City doesn’t suck — its people rock, and it is still a pretty great place to live or visit. Let us be thankful and work hard to keep it that way.
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