Letters, April 24-27: Why is the county stripping bus access from a neighborhood that uses it?
It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it
Oh, the irony! Our mayor expects an incredibly busy summer. Basin Rec struggles with parking capacity at popular trailheads. More cars! More people! What to do? I know what: On July 1, let’s discontinue the 7 Pink bus going through Silver Springs, a highly popular fixed bus route used regularly by residents for many, many years. As pointed out by Sarah Altshuler in her April 7 letter to the editor, the “microtransit” option is not an equivalent substitute for our 7 Pink fixed route through Silver Springs.
We Pink bus riders rejoiced when we won this battle in September 2020 after Park City Transit asked for input regarding the elimination of the Pink route through Silver Springs. Why did High Valley Transit completely disregard the wishes of the people, despite overwhelming support for continuing the route through Silver Springs? They need to tell us.
While I totally support the minivans being dispatched to areas of the county where a fixed route is not feasible due to existing infrastructure, density and road conditions, it is beyond reason to implement this system in an area where the fixed route is already established, efficient and economical.
We have ridden the Pink bus many times when there was standing room only, shoulder to shoulder, to get to a special event. Everyone in good cheer and excited for the concert, fireworks, sporting event, Park Silly Sunday Market or Sundance. To try and use minivans to get that number of folks to the nearest stop would take dozens of trips. Aren’t we trying to minimize tailpipe emissions and the use of cars?
Enough said, I propose a compromise. Since there are no bus stops on S.R. 224 between the entrance and exit of Silver Springs, why can’t the new 6 Lime route include a swing through Silver Springs every 30 minutes? It takes all of 5 minutes to do just that.
Please don’t let this be one more thing we miss about “how Park City used to be.” As the saying goes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
A model we can follow
We traveled to Sedona, Arizona, last month, and truly enjoyed visiting Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art. It is a first-class gallery offering a variety of art from 100 artists! It is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has been named one of the 25 best galleries in America!
We also enjoyed visiting one of the most distinctive arts, crafts and shopping villages in the Southwest known as: Tlaquepaque (pronounced: Ta*la*ka*pa*kee). It means: “The Best of Everything!” Tlaquepaque does not have affordable housing! It does not have a bus transit center! Park City has a transit facility in Swede Alley! There could be a bus stop or our trolley can easily run between both, “connecting” Main Street to the new, multi-million-dollar development. Walking or biking are options since a pathway is already available.
The village began construction by Abe R. Miller in 1971. He was a private, visionary businessman. For more info, go to: tlaq.com. Tlaquepaque is a complex of gallery owners where artists can create/sell their work, quaint shopkeepers, cafes, restaurants/eateries, patios, courtyards, boutiques, tiled water fountains, trees, benches, flowers, gardens, live music, performers, cobble-stoned streets, art, lots of sculptures, decorative lighting and limited free parking. It is absolutely beautiful! Many festive, annual events are held there. It even has its own “Discover” magazine! With such expensive real estate, Park City should focus on maximizing its return on investment — depending less on taxpayers! The Sundance Institute, Kimball Art Center and the city of Park City should consider incorporating some aspects of those two highly successful destinations located in the heart of Sedona. We have a real opportunity to look at, and be inspired by what was done there. We could use that opportunity to create our own unique arts and culture district!
Karen and Bill Tafuri
City eager to flip the switch
On Earth Day next year, Park City Municipal, Summit County, Salt Lake City, our two ski resorts and Utah Valley University will all be poised to “flip the switch” from coal-fired to 100% renewable electricity. These six organizations, acting in concert, persuaded Rocky Mountain Power and the Utah Legislature to help us to accelerate our transition away from dirty energy. As we speak, construction is underway on an 80MW Elektron solar farm, one of the largest solar arrays in Rocky Mountain Power’s grid. This is the first giant step on our path to becoming a net-zero community by 2030, especially given that Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort — the two biggest power consumers in the city — were willing to pioneer this effort with us.
So while it was a little premature to celebrate the switch during this year’s Earth Day, we were still able to celebrate the 20 other Utah communities — over a quarter of Utah’s population — emboldened by our example, which also resolved to achieve net zero by 2030. We also celebrated the fact that this project was strategically located on SITLA land, providing ongoing revenue to fund schools across the state. Education, powered by the sun!
Not only is our red state “going green,” but other states, cities and utilities are looking to copy and scale the program across the West. So, this for this year’s Earth Day, I was inclined to celebrate our community’s huge heart and fearlessness, its willingness to be the change it wants to see.
Park City mayor
Live and give like locals
My heart was warmed Thursday at the sight of so many locals, including students, collecting trash from our streets on Earth Day. It reminded me of the three T’s: Time, Talent and Treasure. While this community we live in is diverse, it is exceptionally giving. The amount of time certain locals volunteer at our cherished nonprofits is unbelievable. The talent, whether it’s sewing masks during COVID or donating art for silent auctions, is inspiring. And lastly, the treasure that is donated to this community through dollars, product and services is at times inconceivable. Live PC Give PC raised almost $3.5 million with over 6,000 donors in essentially one day last fall. I feel proud to be a part of a community where we not only live like locals, but we also give like locals.
A drastic decision
The Silver Springs neighborhood is currently up in arms over Summit County’s proposed bus route changes that will remove the 7 Pink line bus from the Silver Springs neighborhood. My wife and I bought our house in Silver Springs in 2013 in large part because of the convenient access to the Pink line which provides: a) the ability for us to take the bus into town instead of driving, b) the ability to take the bus to Canyons Village to ski instead of driving, and c) the freedom it will allow our three children (currently ages 8, 6, and 3) to commute around town as they get older. My concern is not only the loss of the public transportation access benefits described above, but also that this change will impact our long-term home values, as any Park City Realtor will tell you that the Pink line has always been a big selling feature for the Silver Springs neighborhood.
Prior to COVID, my family used the Pink line on a weekly basis. However, we curtailed that usage during the COVID pandemic (as I’m sure many Silver Springs families did). At a minimum, I would encourage the county to study the usage patterns of the buses that pass through Silver Springs once COVID has passed before making the rash decision to remove our direct bus access. Frankly, I have not seen any studies or analysis that directly justifies the removal of our bus access, and I would think an objective analysis would be required before making such a drastic decision. Not to mention that replacing the bus line with a poorly thought out micro-van service will cause many Silver Spring homeowners to just drive themselves, which does not strike me as a particularly smart option for a community striving to become carbon neutral.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, we have seen our county property taxes nearly double over the past eight years as property values have risen all over Summit County. It is deeply disturbing to find out that the county is stripping us of our access to one of our most important community benefits while we are paying so much more in taxes. The more taxes we pay, the more benefits we should receive, but the opposite is clearly happening in this case.
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“Proponents should be honest about what they plan to put in a landfill,” writes Thomas Jacobson, “and everyone should understand the consequences if the geology and hydrology have not been properly studied.”