Letters, Dec. 1-3: Approving development proposal is not the way to deal with climate change
Not the way to deal with climate change
The County Council has indicated that sustainability and climate change are major factors regarding the Dakota Pacific proposal. 1,100 residential units and a hotel would involve 3,000-4,000 people. These people would be there 24/7 using showers, washing machines, dishwashers, heat or air conditioners. They would need schools for the children and they would have huge numbers of cars. Dakota Pacific’s original agreement with only office buildings would have fewer people with fewer cars, and they would not be open 24/7 using showers, washing machines, dishwashers, heat or air conditioners. They would not have children needing schools. The water usage and electricity with this proposal is not sustainable, and the cars would contribute to more pollution and congestion. This is certainly not the way to deal with climate change.
The developer gambled that he would be able to complete his project with tech and other companies. At this point he has lost that gamble, although he still may be able to gain it back over time. It was his choice to gamble and it should not be our problem to resolve if he lost.
Now the council seems to also be willing to gamble that they will get HTZR approval and then UDOT priority to build the tunnel, which would not happen for many years. Neither of these are guaranteed, but we would still end up with at least 3,000 more cars in Kimball Junction. Even with a tunnel, more people and more cars would be a losing situation for us. Only the developer wins. This is not Las Vegas, and the council should not be gambling on these approvals to happen. That is not why the council members were elected, and it would be a true betrayal of our residents to approve Dakota Pacific’s proposal.
A new solution
Local planning is humorous. Everyone is doing it, i.e., U.S. government, state of UTAH, UDOT, counties, cities, towns and HOAs. Unfortunately, their plans often oppose each other. There is no organized central planning for our area. I think this reflects a lack of leadership by our state elected officials.
A planning idea that has been discussed is making Park City a pedestrian city. This is not an unusual idea as there are many similar mountain cities around the world that are pedestrian only or limited driving to residents only.
The reason “pedestrian only” works is a rail, often cog, connection to the main roads and rail. A rail connection to Park City solves a lot of problems, e.g., reduce/eliminate traffic, positive for the environment and increases tourism. It could also address other regional problems like the Cottonwood Canyon problem.
Consider a rail line starting in the Midvale/Murray area at the FrontRunner with a trolley connection running up Little Cottonwood Canyon serving all the resorts. Then over the hill to Deer Valley and PCMR, through the city and out Park Ave./S.R. 224 to terminate at Kimball Junction. Perhaps, even loop around along “80” to “40” and back into PC on “248.”
I can hear the cries about how expensive this project would be. However, the current situation is not free and continues to damage the environment. This is a transportation project that would pay for itself, be self-sustaining and provide significant positives for the environment! It would be great for the next Olympics.
Additional information needed
Road users accessing old Park City and Kimball Junction commercial locations make their decisions on where and when to travel based on convenience and time. If Dakota Pacific is permitted to change the land use to residential from Tech Center business, the current and projected poor level of service, shown in their own studies, will result in businesses having fewer customers and the public more traffic congestion.
Traffic in the Kimball Junction area is currently at a low level of service as shown in Dakota studies. The level of service at many locations have severe congestion and travel time delays are at failed or near-failed conditions. The adding of traffic by the new proposal will further deteriorate travel time and add frustration for road users. Currently during peak travel periods, delays and stop-and-go traffic have been significant.
The Dakota Pacific request to change land use from the original Tech Center approval requires additional information to determine if the request is in the public interest. Transportation studies done over the years for this project do not support the proposed change in land use from tech to residential, as such a change in land use would result in significant negative mobility impacts for the public.
No decision should be made on changes to the Dakota Pacific parcel until independent travel studies are done by transportation professionals not employed by Dakota and improvements can be made by responsible public agencies.
Cracking down on China
Sen. Romney deserves credit for pointing out the best strategy to crack down on China’s carbon pollution: Charge imports for their emissions. This is “one way to get China to have its mind concentrated” on cutting emissions, as he put it at a recent event.
We all know that China is flooding our market with cheap goods made with high emissions. What’s less appreciated is just how much cleaner American industry is by comparison: Our manufacturers generate only a third of the emissions of Chinese producers and they are far cleaner than most of our trading partners.
U.S. manufacturers are doing the right thing, and yet we keep swinging the door wide open for high-polluting competitors to enter our market. With a border carbon tax in place, “if China is exporting into the U.S. products that have a very high quotient of emissions, that’s going to come at a very high price,” Sen. Romney points out.
On day one of a border carbon tax, our manufacturers will gain an edge over their high-polluting foreign competition. And China will start rethinking its polluting ways. As Romney pointed out, “We can negotiate with the Chinese — or we can simply have a border adjustment tax that recognizes that they put a lot more pollution in the air.” It seems to me that the latter is more likely to work.
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