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Park City Council will consider - and possibly approve - the Rail Trail master plan on Thursday

Looking east on the historic Union Pacific Rail Trail
Leslie Thatcher
Looking east on the historic Union Pacific Rail Trail

After taking off the month of August, the Park City Council will meet on Thursday and has a long agenda to get through

Park City Manager Matt Dias and his staff spent the month getting caught up on their busy workload. He says they’re now ready to hit the ground running.

“I think the goals are really threefold. I think first, it's to give us an opportunity to catch up and catch our breath. You know, we're often doing three, sometimes four council meetings a month. Sometimes those meetings are six or eight hours long. And there's 20 or so items on the agenda. And that's a big lift internally, we're doing all of our analysis, staff reports and legal scrutiny. But then many of us also take this opportunity to do some professional training and development. So, myself and others, you know, make sure that we're meeting our professional obligations. And then we're setting work plans for next year and schedules and we just have that opportunity to because we're to catch our breath.”

After discussing the proposed winter transportation operations and new parking plan, the council will consider and possibly approve the Rail Trail master plan.

Dias says the city has spent the last year compiling that plan to make people walking on the trail feel safer given the volume of users and prevalence of e-bikes. And he says they’re trying to collect as much public information they can.

“It’s a 10-15 year master plan and one of the things, one of the elements in the plan, among many others is this contemplation of adding an eight foot gravel strip next to the paved section,” Dias said. “So, to be really clear, it's not to extend the pavement or widen the pavement, it's really to try to separate the users.”

The masterplan also shows development nodes at the intersections with Comstock Ave. and Wyatt Earp, where restrooms, shade structures, picnic tables and even exercise equipment could be built.

Before any work is done to the existing Rail Trail, the city council Dias says, would have to approve and fund the work, which will require more public meetings, an environmental analysis and land survey.

“So, I think that's, you know, a ways off,” Dias said. “But that's important input that we you know, want to hear I think the mayor and council want to hear from the community, we spent a year putting this plan together. And I do think that, in the end, we'll be far better stewards of the rail trail’s future than it would have been, you know, just being this old spur or left to the state to take care of. I think it's better served in our hands and the residents need to be involved.”

A neighborhood petition is circulating that will be presented to the council at Thursday’s meeting. It lists four reasons why some residents believe the council needs to reevaluate the proposed changes. One reason the petition cites is that bike and foot traffic along the trail has decreased significantly with the waning of the pandemic. The petition also says established traffic calming guidelines involve narrowing, not widening roads.

The Park City Council meets in work session Thursday beginning at 3:45.

Here is a link to the agenda and how to attend virtually.