Park City Council delays Quinn’s Junction park and ride project “indefinitely”
After a lengthy work session and more debate Thursday night, the Park City Council voted to not break ground on a 465-space park and ride project at Quinn’s Junction.
Although the project isn’t technically dead, there will be no new park and ride at the eastern edge of Park City ready for next winter’s resort traffic. The city council voted to delay the project indefinitely on Thursday.
Instead, the city will explore a pilot program at the seldom-used park and ride at Richardson Flat while lingering questions about regional cooperation and future negotiations with Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley are resolved.
The city had been offered nearly $4 million in transportation grants to help pay for the project, and Thursday’s decision puts that money into jeopardy; it could be reallocated to projects elsewhere in Utah.
The construction bid the city had secured for the project also expires on May 17, meaning that process would also have to start over.
The council came to its decision despite positive input from the Utah Department of Transportation, city staff, and outside traffic consultants.
UDOT Regional Director Robert Stewart told the council that UDOT strongly supports park and ride projects and added that future issues with traffic at the SR 248 and Highway 40 interchange would be UDOT’s problem to solve.
“If this park and ride lot is wildly successful and it’s jam-packed with cars, we see that as a success, and if that happens to create issues for the intersections on 248, that’s where we step in to try to solve the transportation problem, not address closing down a park and ride lot,” Stewart said.
Summit County Councilor Doug Clyde also spoke at the meeting and asked why Park City hadn’t asked what he and the rest of the county council think of the project.
The need for more collaboration with the county was a central sticking point for Councilors Tana Toly, Jeremy Rubell, and Ryan Dickey. Rubell also said he was worried about the safety and configuration of the SR 248 intersection with Old Highway 40, which would be the road used to access the parking lot.
A visibly frustrated Councilor Max Doilney added his thoughts just before the council voted to further delay the project.
“So I just want to get this straight," he said. "So we’re gonna continue an item that would potentially solve a little bit of traffic problems in Park City, and we’re gonna wait for the Summit County Council’s thumbs up, we’re gonna wait for High Valley Transit’s thumbs up; both governments that don’t necessarily serve our community? And we’re gonna pilot a program on a parking lot that has never worked, ever, and was rated, by far, the lowest quality park and ride option that our experts saw? That’s the decision that this action-focused council is gonna make? I’m freaking blown away. Great solutions, guys. Let’s do some more studying.”
Doilney was joined by Councilor Becca Gerber in favor of moving forward with the project now, but were outnumbered by Dickey, Rubell and Toly.
Along with more cooperation with Summit County, Toly said she also wants Deer Valley and PCMR at the table. Although traffic is a growing year-round issue in the Park City area, it’s particularly bad in the winter with thousands of people driving to the resorts each day.
The project would cost the city roughly $100,000 in annual maintenance, and an additional $1.8 to $2.5 million a year for transit services to the parking lot. Toly told KPCW she wants the resorts to have a stake in the project.
“This is our opportunity right now to negotiate with the ski resorts." Toly said. "A lot of the people using this [park and ride] are going to be the guests of the ski resorts. What I said last night was ‘right now is our opportunity to say it’s going to be $2 million to run this every year for our transportation cost, where are you in helping us fund this?’ Really bring both resorts to the table and say ‘what can we do to make this a partnership?’ versus the entire public, our residents, and the taxpayers being responsible for this and the resorts don’t have any money in it.”
The city and county are scheduled to hold a joint meeting in June. Early July was suggested as a future time to revisit the project.