Kimball Junction Transit Center: One piece of a complicated puzzle
This week, the Summit County Council approved plans for a transit center on the west side of State Road 224, near the Richins Building at Kimball Junction. With any luck, it will be up and running next summer and, if the Old Town transit center is any indication, the county’s facility will quickly become an integral part of the region’s public transportation system.
But there are still some key questions about the project, chief among them: whether to include parking at the site.
Those who argue against providing parking on site say it would defeat the purpose of the project, which is to reduce the number of vehicles traveling through that busy area. Instead, they hope to find a way to get travelers out of their cars before they can add to Kimball Junction’s already clogged intersections. But, so far, that solution has been elusive.
Those in favor of adjacent parking believe it would encourage bus ridership. They envision people ditching their cars at the transit center and taking buses into Park City, which could go a long way toward alleviating the ever-increasing bottleneck of traffic during the ski season.
The county’s current plan includes 20 parking spaces at the new Kimball Junction transit center. But that seems like a halfhearted compromise that would send mixed messages to potential users, most of whom would be turned away because of the short supply.
In lieu of an alternate park-and-ride location, it seems counterproductive to build a bus station without parking. Skiers lugging awkward armloads of equipment will not use a bus if it entails hiking long distances from their lodging, or transferring from satellite buses to the express line into town. Wouldn’t it be wise to include parking adjacent to the transit center? Instead the current design calls for a public plaza a parking structure would be much more useful, especially in the winter
There are already several examples of poorly conceived traffic mitigation and parking projects around town. There is the park and ride on Landmark Drive, which (unlike its well-used twin on the westbound side of Interstate 80 at the base of Jeremy Ranch) is always empty. And there is the gigantic parking tarmac on the west side of S.R. 248 near Quinn’s Junction, which is also hauntingly vacant — probably because neither offers bus service into town.
But there are also some good examples, too, like the Old Town transit center and the nearby China Bridge garage. The two have been lifesavers for Park City’s downtown business district even though each was controversial when first approved.
The county is traveling in the right direction, but it got off the bus one stop too soon