Park City's Effort to Calm Traffic in Prospector Balances Utility and Aesthetic Appeal
Park City's traffic calming project, called People-First Streets, allows residents to create ways to slow cars so pedestrians and bikers can safely navigate neighborhoods.
Late in June, about a dozen volunteers painted bright graphic designs on streets flanking crosswalks on Sidewinder Drive and Gold Dust Lane in Prospector. They also placed buckets of flowers inside stacks of tires painted white.
One resident of that neighborhood, Dana Perry, wants to slow traffic and improve safety but was not happy with the look of painted tires in the street.
“I think it's kind of funny how the sign says community first, and I was just like, what about residents first,” Perry said. “They never asked us our opinion. They just came in and said, oh yeah, we're doing this. That was it."
Perry said the tire planters seemed like a good idea in theory, but she was pleased that the city changed them out for whiskey barrels last weekend. She said speeding should be addressed with speed humps and more stop signs.
“It's better, but I think it's pointless,” Perry said. “I mean, it's supposed to be a traffic calming, and I haven't noticed the traffic slowing. Traffic did slow down at first when they had the tires in the Home Depot buckets because people were slowing down, going, ‘what the heck is this.’ I went away for the Fourth of July weekend and came back, and the whiskey barrels were out. And that was really nice because I was like, wow, they're actually listening to the community."
Park City Transportation Planner Austin Taylor is responsible for directing city resources toward the People-First Streets program. He said the city received complaints about the flower displays in the tires, which are often used in cities around the nation.
"Each one of these projects is trying to solve a problem,” Taylor said. “It's not just like an art installation for art’s sake. There's a transportation problem that the resident sees, and we're trying to implement a solution to that. So, the problem ... was that people were driving fast through the crosswalk, and people weren't feeling safe walking through the crosswalk."
Prospector Square Property Owners Association Executive Director Craig Dennis said he represents about 60 business and residential buildings in the area. He supports the effort to slow traffic down and make it safer for pedestrians.
"The organizers of this effort came to me about ten days before they were doing it to bring me up to speed, and I was fully supportive since it was a pilot project,” he said. “We know we want to see more traffic calming in Prospector, especially on Prospector and Sidewinder. To that end, the city has already installed one additional crosswalk this year in Prospector. And I view this as a nice test. Since it first went up, it looks like they already enhanced it a little bit with additional barrels instead of the Home Depot barrels."
Prospector, which includes residential areas, office parks and hospitality businesses, is regularly busy with cars and trucks as people use the neighborhood's streets to avoid backed-up traffic on Kearns Boulevard, one of the main entry and exit arteries of Park City.
“It is very mixed-use in this area, and unfortunately, I think some people think they can speed down Sidewinder to get to Kearns,” Dennis said. “So, I think a little calming will be good. My biggest concern moving forward is it doesn't impede us when it comes time to snow removal in the winter."
Park City installed radar devices to capture traffic and pedestrian data in the Sidewinder Drive and Gold Dust Lane area two weeks before installing the traffic calming measures. Next week, they'll collect more data about the impact the new installation is having on drivers.
If you live or work in Park City and you want to try to slow the pace of traffic in your neighborhood, visit the People-First Streets page on the city's website.