Letters, Jan. 5-7: Time is running out to solve the problems plaguing Park City
Time is running thin to solve problems
Tick … tock … another year and the Park City community has taken zero steps forward in addressing what the future of the community will be — and moreover, how we will get there.
Developments and discussions about developments continue. Meanwhile traffic congestion, lack of parking, increasingly disappointed visitors and residents continue to appropriately shine a light of genuine concern on what Park City will be in the future. Stories of two-hour drives from Snow Park Lodge to Prospector. Lines of cars waiting for the chance to park at PCHS, only to then wait 30 minutes for a bus, were a common sight this week. And guess what, it is no longer just at Christmas or during Sundance. The timelines for this kind of angst are becoming more frequent and their duration much longer.
We need a short-, mid- and long-term plan now. We cannot wait. And we need solutions in place BEFORE we engage in more development.
At the end of the day, it is all about access. And access to Park City, including PCMR and Deer Valley has become and will continue to get increasingly difficult. There really is only one solution. We need a major development of a high-quality, high-capacity delivery system that gets people swiftly and efficiently into and out of town. Imagine using the open space on the southwest corner of U.S. 40 and S.R. 248 … the place where overflow Sundance parking often resides. Imagine a large, multi-level parking structure there that is the access point for Park City. And imagine a system of elevated trains that whisk visitors to PCMR or Deer Valley.
In my 15 years living here, all we have seen is the same narrow-focused approach — one development, one traffic circle, one Band-Aid fix after another.
We must call a cease to any significant development, develop and align on a plan to address the future with a long-term, sustainable, expandable way or this community will simply collapse under its own weight. Tick … tock … tick … tock.
Masks work, so require them in schools
We are 100% against Summit County’s Dec. 15 decision to terminate the mask mandate trigger in Summit County schools. The decision to terminate was terrible two weeks ago, given the then-looming threat of omicron. Such a decision is absolutely ludicrous and willfully negligent in today’s context of surging COVID numbers locally and across the globe.
It is time for Summit County to demonstrate some leadership and institute a mask requirement in schools, if not more broadly in the community. Without masking and more serious attention to safety protocols, many parents are forced to seriously consider remote learning after the holiday break. The voluntary “test to start” program is an OK idea, but inadequate. Testing should be mandatory for all students returning to school and strict protocols should be put in place to address positive cases. Vaccines should be available at all school locations on demand. Significant incentives should be provided to students and families who decide to get vaccinated.
The mask mandates in schools worked — after fully implemented, they reduced spread quickly. Why eliminate such a useful tool during the worst phase of the pandemic to date?
Disturbingly, our children are safer at the resort campuses, which have indoor masking requirements, than our school campuses. The Sundance Film Festival will require full vaccination, a booster and masking. Folks attending the festival are safer too.
No one will regret a decision to require masking in schools during the worst of the pandemic. It is a simple inconvenience that can do a lot of good.
Matt Slonaker and Cynthia Trillo
Solutions to traffic congestion are possible
I’ve lived in Park City for 20 years. Just last year I moved from Snyderville into Old Town. A few nights ago I drove to a friend’s house in Kamas for dinner. At 6:30, it took me an hour to get from Old Town to U.S. 40. Crazy. We need to reduce traffic into town. We have thousands of cars idling away as they drive out of town at 2 mph — for an hour or more! We need to fix this if not for the congestion for the carbon imprint we’re creating.
I’ve been listening to some of the creative ideas to solve our traffic issues. A gondola system, widening roads, moving the MARC, the high school, the arts and culture district. All these ideas seem very complex and expensive.
Why don’t we follow the lead of other cities with traffic and congestion issues? Singapore led the way with congestion pricing in 1975. They charge passenger cars for entering the city center. London, Stockholm, San Diego and Milan followed suit.
I think we can leverage technology and financial disincentives to reduce congestion in town. I’m certain there are existing tech solutions we can use. We could meter S.R. 248 around the new traffic light for Park City Heights and meter S.R. 224 around the white barn. Residents inside these “gates” buy an annual pass and non-residents pay by the hour. We can even increase the gate fee for rush-hour times. The beautiful thing is that we already have a transit system. Let’s use it.
A much-needed helping hand
We hear “No friends on a powder day,” and “What happened to nice people?” Well, here is a lovely incident: On the most recent big dump day, both my ski friend and I buried our skis, boots and entire legs in unconsolidated and seemingly bottomless powder. 45 minutes later we were still trying to erect our bodies. You all know the excitement and hustle of all the skiers on such a day, but one guy stopped his jump into Pink Slip Bowl, and gave us the assistance we needed to reconnect our boots to skis. Wanted to say thank you to Jack Campbell, nice people.
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