If I had a nickel for every person who complained about parking and traffic in Park City, I’d be about 10 cents richer a week. And while I consent to the fact that there has been an obvious increase in cars over the years, I am also still grateful to be living here as opposed to dealing with the traffic of Los Angeles, where I endured commutes of up to 90 minutes each way to work. I’m pleased that many of our local leaders relocated to Park City from larger cities and understand that if we don’t have a plan in place to prevent further traffic issues, they will be more difficult and expensive to solve.
We haven’t become “No Park” City yet. And I’m glad for initiatives like the ones below to help us stay on top of our transportation needs. Transportation is a very important issue for our community.
Summit County Propositions 9 & 10
On August 17th, the Summit County Regional Transportation Initiative was presented to the Summit County Council.
The presentation outlined the need for a comprehensive approach to transportation in the area and explained funding. The initiative was approved by the Summit County Council & is scheduled to be voted upon as two separate transportation initiatives on the November ballot: Summit County Proposition 9 – Transit Enhancements and Summit County Proposition 10 – Road Enhancements.
Editor’s Note: The propositions were originally named 2 and 3 in this article, but those numbers have changed to 9 and 10. Per the County’s email: “the two propositions are designed to work together to make road improvements to enhance traffic flow and more transit options (basically, to move more people on the roads we already have).”
A central concern is growth in Park City and the surrounding areas like Summit County, Wasatch County and Salt Lake County. While growth in Park City has been comparatively low between 2000 and 2013 (the city grew 8%), other areas have seen accelerated growth at 20% in Salt Lake County and up to 74% in Wasatch County.
Looking forward, growth is a central concern. Population growth in Park City is projected to increase from 7,900 in 2015 to 10,000 by 2040 (26%). Wasatch County is projected to go from 26,000 to 59,000 within the same timeframe, a 123% increase.
Studies show that there are 35,000 trips per day within Summit County simply by calculating inbound commuters, outbound commuters and residents who work within the county. Note that these numbers only calculate employees, they don’t count school drop offs, running errands or tourist traffic.
The Transportation Initiative proposes a regional approach. The approach is three-prong and includes: 1) service enhancements, 2) infrastructure and transportation demand management and 3) active transportation.
In the proposal, transportation improvements would be made over five years from 2017 to 2022 and include:
- Expanded Transit Service: Increased use of current transit routes plus addition of neighborhoods like Summit Park and Silver Creek. Commuter busses to Kamas, Heber and Coalville. Expanded transit service to Salt Lake City. Better Transit centers, increased transit personnel and support.
- Alternative Transportation: Bike shares and Electric bike stations, trail and sidewalk improvement/maintenance. Better signage and navigation and expanded Park and Rides throughout Park City, Kamas and Coalville.
- Increased Road Capacity: Connecting neighborhood roads Bitner/Silver Creek Road and extending Landmark Drive to Bear Hollow. Widen Kilby Road between Ecker Hill and Pinebrook and creating bypasses and interchanges for more efficient traffic flow.
These implementations would bring an estimated 570,000 “Cars off the Road” per year.
Short Term Improvements:
Improvements would begin in 2017. Small Park and Ride lots would be designated and improvements to existing roads and trails would be implemented like HOV lanes and trail maintenance. Ride share programs and an e-bike share could start throughout the region. Grants would be available for small towns to improve local transportation.
The Small Municipality Transportation Improvement Fund Grant Program (TIFGP) is grant money designated for small towns to improve transportation within their city limits. Funding could go towards construction of roadways or other transportation improvements. Funding can be up to $250,000 annually through sales tax proceeds.
The funding for the transportation resolution would come from sales tax within the city and county. Additionally, transient room tax and parking fees would also be used. The benefits of this funding structure are that visitors generate most of the funds and that revenue will grow with the economy.
Editor’s Note: Per the county, we removed the original statement that said this would be a mix of sales and property tax. Per the county: “Each proposition represents a one-quarter of one percent (.25%) sales tax increase. So the combined taxes result in an additional two pennies for every four dollars spent. But the tax is not applicable to groceries or gasoline. The tax does not affect property tax in any way.”
There have been a number of presentations throughout Park City and the surrounding towns and other areas. There have been over 500 live and phone interviews throughout Summit County. Proponents of Proposition 3 like the transit based approach because it reduces the carbon foot print and takes cars off the of road. Simply expanding and maintaining roads allows for more cars, traffic and pollution.
No one likes to sit in traffic. Let’s keep Park City a great place to live. Please consider the Summit County Regional Transportation Initiative as a timely solution to a serious challenge that we all face. What are your thoughts?