Transit center could not have waited for another Olympics
Just a little more than a decade later, it is becoming difficult to recall how the Park City bus system functioned in the Main Street core prior to the construction of the Old Town transit center.
The bus stops were at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue, and the buses added traffic issues to the already busy intersection. The Old Town transit center, built largely with federal funds as the 2002 Winter Olympics approached, repositioned the routes to Swede Alley. The facility offers a far more pleasant experience for bus riders as well.
That is one of the reasons that Summit County, and Park City, should be commended for a decision this week to build a transit center close to the Sheldon Richins Building, which sits just off S.R. 224 close to Kimball Junction. It does not appear the project will be as ambitious as the one in Park City, but a transit center in the vicinity of Kimball Junction will greatly improve the overall bus system.
The location is crucial. The S.R. 224 entryway between Kimball Junction and the Park City limits remains the primary route to Park City even though it sometimes seems like the grumbling about the S.R. 248 corridor has become even worse.
Lines of vehicles are seen along S.R. 224 in the morning rush hour as commuters head to work and skiers drive toward the mountain resorts. In the afternoon, the outbound traffic is especially bad as skiers leave.
Transportation officials have encouraged people to ride the bus along the S.R. 224 corridor by expanding routes in the Snyderville Basin and creating a bus lane on the state highway. But the bus system in the Snyderville Basin lacks a hub to serve passengers like the Old Town transit center provides for the routes inside Park City. Officials estimate more than 600,000 people annually begin and complete their bus journeys in the Snyderville Basin, a number that reinforces the need for a facility like the one planned.
The transit center that Summit County intends to build will provide that hub, making it a nicer experience for riders and, as importantly, making it more probable that further expansions of the bus system will be successful.
The project could not have waited until another Winter Olympics approached.