PCMR Base Development Saga Continues, Transit and Circulation Key Issues This Week
The Park City Planning Commission held more discussions about the proposed base development project at Park City Mountain Resort at their meeting Wednesday night.
Transit and circulation were the topics of Wednesday night’s marathon planning commission meeting. In particular, addressing the pedestrian and public transit experience at the future site.
The developer, PEG Companies, presented a plan in January titled “2b” that would provide exclusive bus lanes, additional stops, pedestrian crossings, and an enhanced bus drop-off zone with a turnaround loop at the site of the current base area stop. PEG maintains this is their preferred option.
City staff and their consultants disagree and want to see the transit hub moved to the north of the lot, freeing up space for pedestrians at the heart of the base area.
Senior Planner Alexandra Ananth said the developer’s current proposal is too tight at the current site and the city’s recommendation would help modernize transit at the base area.
“Transit is gonna be the future way to get to the resort,” said Ananth. “Having a 21st century bus station transit center mobility hub that really celebrates Park City’s transit experience was what we were looking for in this site plan and the reason to move it was primarily because the existing area is just constrained by the applicants site plan.”
Moving the transit hub to the north of the parcels would require a significant redesign of the current plans, something PEG is not wanting to do, said Vice President of Development Robert Schmidt.
He countered by saying PEGs current plan addresses many, if not all, of the city’s concerns.
“We have been told that we should plan on increasing bus service from 24 busses an hour to 34 to 36 busses an hour as a future condition and providing seven stops, which we’ve done,” Schmidt said. “We’ve been told to plan for electric busses, which we’ve done. When we talk about design for future growth, we’ve done that, that’s where we are today. We feel strongly that we’ve done everything asked of us and more and we’re excited about it. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve proposed, we feel it’s an excellent solution.”
Apprehension about relocating the transit hub to a different location was shared by several members of the planning commission and members of the public.
Questions were raised about negatively impacting businesses at the base area. If the number of people walking past each day was reduced because there was no longer a bus stop nearby, businesses could be hurt.
Questions were also raised about whether people would be incentivised to ride the bus at all if the dropoff was further away from the ski lifts than it already is.
Commissioner Douglas Thimm noted that his professional experience as an architect and planner tells him the busses should stop where the development is, which is where the current location is now.
“I’ve been master planning TOD, transit oriented development, for over 20 years and one of the things that I’ve been telling property owners and planning commissions and city councils for all those years is you put density where your transit center is,” Thimm said. “Well, we have the density already and the transit center belongs where the density is, not at the north end where the north side is rather low density. It belongs where it is.”
Disagreements over the placement of bus stops and transit hubs are not the only pressure points related to the project. PEG is also requesting exemptions to the original 1998 master plan for building heights and setback requirements, something many in the community have raised serious concerns about.
No decisions were made by the planning commission on Wednesday about the fate of the project. The next planning commission meeting relating to the PCMR base development project is currently scheduled for April 21st, where building architecture and construction plans will be discussed.