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Local News

Traffic, Pedestrian Safety Concerns Arise Around Woodside Park Phase II Project

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In anticipation of the second phase of the Woodside Park affordable housing development, the Park City Planning Commission undertook an hour-long work session on the project. 

Park City Planner Hannah Tyler, along with Housing Development Manager Jason Glidden and representatives from the project’s design team, Method Studios, presented the Master Planned Development for Woodside Park Phase II to the Planning Commission Wednesday. The current design features 52 affordable or attainable units and six market-rate ones; off-street parking; and a public access easement connecting Park Avenue to Empire Avenue, by way of Woodside Park Phase I. The project also requests reductions to setbacks and open space. Tyler says the work session was scheduled so the Planning Commission could advise on any adjustments or clarifications to be made to the project before coming back for action on the Master Planned Development application.

The work session also provided an opportunity for the public to speak to the project. As a former Woodside resident and the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, Michael Barille says Main Street businesses are in dire need of housing that’s accessible to their employees.

“We actually issued a position statement about a year and a half ago on affordable housing and the need for smaller units and some that were focused more towards rental pool or first purchases within historical town—and walkable to our downtown businesses," Barille said. "So, I would be very supportive of the project from that standpoint as well.”

Doug Lee has owned a house on Empire Avenue since 1981, and when Woodside Phase II is constructed, he’ll be its neighbor. He and his lawyers have sent two letters to the Planning Department detailing his concerns about the project. His main concern is that, as the applicant, the city is cramming a project into a space where it doesn’t fit. Lee says that will be particularly apparent with traffic on Empire Avenue, which he says, on its best days, is already dangerous—and on snow days, is extremely hazardous.

“Every morning and every night when I’m coming out of my house, I see these families with little kids, where everybody is carrying their own equipment," Lee said. "You know the look—there's a pole coming out in every different direction, skis coming out in different directions, and these families are walking up from Park and from 14th and 15th and Woodside, and they're facing this gauntlet of traffic both directions on Empire.”

While she appreciated the intention of the public access through the Woodside projects to the Park City Mountain Resort Base, Planning Commissioner Laura Suesser echoed Lee’s worry about safety on Empire Avenue. 

“I’m concerned about those people crossing Empire and going into the upper parking lot of the base resort, and how they get from your beautiful development here to the base resort," Suesser said. "Because we do have a pedestrian problem.”

In response to those safety concerns, Tyler says staff and the city as applicant will continue to work with the streets and engineering departments on future solutions within the right-of-way. The Planning Commission voted to continue consideration of the Woodside Park Phase II Master Planned Development agreement to its April 24 meeting.