Take back our streets
May 9 will be forever remembered as the day Park City officially lost the War on Cars. The victory of the automobile over humans came not with a bang but with a whimper as the City Council declared that the glorious experiment in a car-free Main Street would not become a permanent reality.
Streets used to be a shared space where pedestrians mixed with other forms of transportation in chaotic harmony, but autos viewed this as an attack on their hegemony. In response, the auto lobby successfully created the “crime” of jaywalking out of whole cloth and placed the burden of not getting hit by a car on the pedestrian, not the operators of the two-ton metal boxes. Since then, cars entrenched themselves in all aspects of our lives: the built environment was shaped to meet the desires of the automobile with parking minimums becoming de rigueur in most planning codes, causing car ownership in the United States to become more or less mandatory; highways not only sprawled out through the countryside but were plowed right through the hearts of our cities, destroying communities and displacing residents; and cars played a crucial role in weakening our Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted search and seizures. It was not until the pandemic, when our eyes were opened to a new way of being, that people finally clawed back public space that had been heretofore surrendered to auto dominance.
It’s a disgrace that the City Council shamelessly bent the knee at the altar of the car by reversing their decision on car-free Main Street. I know Main Street businesses were asked their preference on this issue, but were any pedestrians surveyed before the council made their decision? Does anyone honestly think the sidewalks along Main Street are wide enough to accommodate walkers? It’s hard to believe that any member of the council has actually walked Main Street given their position on this issue.
Do they have any interest in creating an environment where people have primacy over the car, or would they prefer to let cars run roughshod over their constituents? The pandemic created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the balance of power between the car and pedestrian — and it’s apparent which side of that battle the City Council is on.
I have owned a unit at Lakeside condos for almost 40 years. Over that time there has been continued growth and development of lodging and amenities in the valley.
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