After a 30-day comment period and one public hearing, Park City community members had one last opportunity to express their feelings on the SR 248 corridor project at the Park City Council meeting Thursday.
“It’s going to decrease property values throughout Prospector."
"Squeezing the balloon—you know what happens when the balloon gets full? Pop!"
"I think it’s important that the Council comes out and says that the plan proposed by UDOT is not acceptable.”
Park City community members filled Council Chambers to give input to the Council, as they craft a resolution in response to the Utah Department of Transportation’s SR 248 project.
Park Meadows resident Sebastian Ziesler was the first to step up to the podium. Ziesler suggested the City take control of SR 248 by purchasing it from UDOT. That way, managing traffic on the corridor will become Park City’s responsibility, and the community will need to decide on solutions and how to pay for them.
“By doing so, the novel ideas that will come forward, like, for example, metering the maximum number of vehicles per minute that enter the city or bus-riding incentives, they will become actionable ideas," Ziesler said. "They will no longer be pie-in-the-sky ideas that, oh well, UDOT's not going to listen.”
Ken Whipple from Park City Jewelers says there’s not enough parking in Park City to accommodate additional cars fed through the widened corridor. He says he has a hard time getting employees and tourists in due to the traffic. Whipple thinks one solution in particular would serve Park City well: a train.
“Think about it: It would get rid of the smog problem," Whipple said. "You drive into Park City now during the winter time, and there's smog over the valley. Is that what everybody wants, you want more smog in the valley? There's not enough room for all the cars coming in already. You wouldn't have to worry about getting employees in—you wouldn't have to worry about a lot of the other problems that Park City has just because of not being able to get fast enough traffic in here.”
Old Town resident Angela Moschetta moderates the Future Park City page on Facebook, where members had discussed the SR 248 project in the days leading up to the public comment deadline. Moschetta says people have a knee-jerk reaction to the project, but they don’t really understand it, particularly when they talk about how many more cars will be brought into town as a result. Moschetta says UDOT’s public hearing, which was stylized as an open house, didn’t get everyone on the same page.
“They put together this really clunky presentation that's difficult to navigate online," Moschetta said. "It was difficult to navigate in person, and in this world that we live in now, where everyone is just all about headlines and headers, this is what it comes down to. People just think more roads, more asphalt—bad.”
The public comment period closed last week. UDOT will now analyze and respond to the comments to finalize the environmental assessment, before making a final decision on the project this fall.