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Summit County Council Has More Public Comment To Ponder On Silver Creek Connector

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Summit County Council 2019
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Following a lengthy public hearing last week, about choosing a second access route to the Silver Creek neighborhood, Summit County Council Member Kim Carson says she and her colleagues and county staff will take several weeks to consider the input and the debate they heard.   KPCW talked to  Carson after the hearing on November 6th.

Kim Carson told us they’re busy right now with next year’s budget, so it will likely be a couple of months before they decide about  another access to Silver Creek

The county is seeking a connector to the Bitner Frontage Road, which  can serve as an emergency access for safety purposes, and a road that can improve transit  to Silver Creek

The county has narrowed down the choices to either a lower Frontage Road alignment, parallel to Interstate 80; or a so-called “Church Street” alternative further uphill to the north.

Carson, who is a Silver Creek resident herself,  said she would like the Council to take a walking tour of the area.

She said the issue has created a division between neighborhoods, who don’t want to see more traffic channeled past their residences.     She noted the concerns from East Creek Ranch, which will be impacted by the Frontage Road.         

“Some of the other people that live up higher in the neighborhood said, “Well, you’ve already got I-80 there, so what difference does it make if you have a Frontage Road next to your house?”    And you know, there’s quite a big difference.  And then, the people up higher, I think their concern is just driving—y’know, we tend to be still a fairly rural neighborhood.   People are still out riding horses, walking dogs.   We don’t have the best roads in the neighborhood.  They tend to be very narrow.   And some, like where I live, it’s still unpaved.”

Another concern is how the additional traffic will impact child safety—especially near Silver Creek’s bus stop, which is also by the neighborhood’s mailboxes.        

“Now this road, even the Church Street doesn’t come up that much higher in the neighborhood.   But it does come up past the mailbox area, what they call their civic center, where people stop to get their mail, and then where the bus stop is for schoolchildren.  So they’re concerned just about that additional traffic through the neighborhood and how that would change just the personality and livability of the neighborhood.”

She added another concern has been the impacts on wildlife.

At the recent hearing, residents also asked if the Park City area’s First Responders have a preference between the two routes.    Carson reviewed what she has heard from the Park City Fire District.         

“With the original Church Street option, the road went up higher on Bitner, and came into Silver Creek Road a little bit higher.  The input we got from the Fire District at that point was that the Frontage Road would definitely be faster.   It was longer, straighter, y’know they could go faster then.    And so they really felt very strongly at that point that the Frontage Road was the better option from an access for emergency personnel.  I spoke with Chief Hewitt yesterday, and talked to him about the current two options, and sent him the map.   And he said, any connector’s going to be better.  They still would probably be able to go faster on the Frontage Road.   But he said overall, depending on where you live in the neighborhood, the response times wouldn’t change.”

Carson added that after their last Silver Creek meeting, on September 11th, they gave the residents some time to look at other routes.   She noted that in the end, they found there’s wasn’t a good third option.

Carson did add that some useful polling data was produced from residents Annette Velarde and Kayla Pelegrin—who worked together well, she noted, in spite of having different personal opinions on the routes.

She said if the Council settles on a route, they will be working on right-of-way acquisition and road design in 2020.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.