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Park City Council Prefers 'Tiered Approach' To Old Town Traffic

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The Park City Council held a work session on traffic and circulation in Old Town at its meeting Thursday. 

Councilmember Lynn Ware Peek says there are basically two approaches to traffic in Old Town. The first is a broad assessment of every aspect of Main Street and the surrounding neighborhoods’ transportation problems, which could cost up to $280,000 to complete. Peek says council preferred a different strategy.

“The second approach would be to pay attention to what we think is broken and to listen to our residents and their anecdotal studies, and our merchants and our taxi drivers and Uber and Lyft, and all of these components that make up everything that goes on in Old Town," Peek said. "So I think what council really wanted to do is take the second approach, which is maybe a more phased, a more tiered approach.”

Park City senior transportation planner Alexis Verson acknowledged at Thursday’s meeting that there’s some study fatigue in the community, a sentiment that was echoed by councilmembers who said they would prefer to put money toward implementation and enforcement than studies and data collection. Peek says transportation studies can quickly become irrelevant to the issues they aim to understand.

"As we know, you do a study and then it seems like two or three years later that study is almost invalidated because things are changing so rapidly in our transportation world," Peek said. "So what we're trying is some low-hanging fruit, some simple and less costly solutions, and one of those is the drop-and-load zones."

The city has proposed a handful of drop-and-load zones and staging areas on Main Street and Swede Alley for lodging shuttles and for-hire transportation companies to pick up passengers, without double parking and causing further traffic congestion. But Main Street business owners wonder how it might affect business, while one Hillside Avenue resident worried that having the drop-and-load spots on the east side of the street would further encourage traffic coming down on Hillside. Peek says the city won’t know the effects until they try.

“It's going to be a series of maybe trial and effort, based on some really good data that we already have and some really expert opinion, and then also all of our stakeholders," Peek said. "We really thank them for being part of this process and also for being patient.”

The council instructed staff to talk with the Historic Park City Alliance, a Main Street businesses organization, before moving forward with implementation of the drop-and-load zones and associated permitting system for them.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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