Transportation open houses offer pie-in-the-sky ideas
November 13, 2015
If Main Street is considered the heart of Park City, then Kearns Boulevard (State Road 248) and Park Avenue (State Road 224) are the arteries that sustain it. And, frankly, they are becoming dangerously clogged.
Park City leaders are currently trying to figure out how to open up those arteries, with everything from noninvasive ways to trim down the town’s intake of high-volume traffic to potential major surgery.
Some of the possible remedies broached in a series of open houses recently included modest lifestyle changes like satellite parking, additional transit hubs and expanded public transit to a radical bypass operation along State Road 224.
Some of the top attention-grabbers were:
Each would dramatically alter the character of the surrounding neighborhoods and none was particularly popular among attendees at the open houses.
For example, the concept of airlifting skiers from Bonanza Park to the resort is intriguing but problematic. Unless supported by an extremely attractive and efficient satellite parking system, it would not reduce traffic on the already backed-up 224 and 248 corridors. Nor would it intercept drivers headed to Old Town and Deer Valley.
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Of even greater consequence, turning Bonanza Park into a ski-in, ski-out destination could turn what some in the community see as a spot for affordable housing and locally oriented businesses into another expensive tourist enclave.
As to rerouting traffic from S.R. 224 to the ski resort, forging a new road across the city’s popular golf course and Nordic skiing terrain would likely instigate an uproar. If the outcry over saving the library field is any indication, local residents are reluctant to displace even one blade of grass for pavement.
There is an issue of fairness here, too. Homeowners along the eastern edge of the golf course would be relegated to an island surrounded by busy thoroughfares. The only clear benefactor would be Park City resort.
Like any patient faced with the need to rein in an over-consumptive lifestyle, Parkites and their leaders are going to have to make some difficult decisions and as most doctors would likely advise, moderate lifestyle changes are preferable to major surgery.
Turning Bonanza Park into an extension of the ski resort and tearing up the golf course will not treat the whole patient. But exploring new mass-transit technologies that can be used on existing routes coupled with creating satellite parking areas to intercept drivers before they enter the city are better remedies. And that is a regimen that could begin right away.
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