As we’ve reported, Summit County has settled on the transit mode they want for the 224 corridor into Park City. The county’s Transportation Manager, Caroline Rodriguez, said they’re hoping for a process that saves money and moves ahead quickly.
Rodriguez said an Alternatives Analysis declared that they want to establish bus rapid transit lanes, on both sides of 224.
“We did that now, so that when we move into environmental we did not have to do an analysis on every single potential mode. So that saves us a lot of money in the long run. The alternatives analysis was fully funded by the Mountain Accord Process.”
She said they’re hoping they can move aggressively to the next step in the process, environmental review.
“According to our FTA region contact, he believes that we can get it done in less than a year. Which is a really aggressive timeline and will be good for this project.” Rodriguez continues “If we could get the environmental done in under a year, we could potentially start construction in late 2020. Now that’s assuming everything goes according to plan, and there’s no big impacts we have to mitigate. But that just gives people a snap-shot of when that could happen.”
They expect the design plan will call for widening the highway, to still allow for emergency breakdown lanes. Rodriguez said it hasn’t been decided what will happen to the center lane. The plan doesn’t include HOV lanes—though those could happen.
When the analysis was presented, County council member Roger Armstrong also asked to see some numbers on ridership. But Rodriguez said she feels confident there.
“Based on the success of the electric express we know that people will ride. One of the things we liked about this alternative is that it’s basically legitimizing a service that is already successful. Because UDOT has allowed the electric express to operate in the breakdown lanes, this just gives the bus that dedicated lane. We’re also going to allow school buses to use that lane. So that will help in other areas (…) they have a start time issue and by allowing the school buses in that bus lane (that) may help the school district as well. The same could be true for hotel shuttles during certain times of day. So, with both side running dedicated lanes there’s a lot of flexibility. It really addresses a host of issues we have.”