© 2024 KPCW

KPCW
Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Midway considers transit solutions as housing shortage leaves workers behind

Irrigation water will continue to run in Midway until it runs out or freezing weather hits, according to the Midway Irrigation Company director.
KPCW
Midway survey results show there’s a shortage of over 500 units for those who make less than six figures, like firefighters and teachers, while there’s a surplus of hundreds of homes within reach for those making $100,000 or more, such as lawyers and business executives.

Up to 75% of Midway’s workers commute from outside the town. The city council is considering new transit options.

There’s a significant gap between Midway and the rest of Wasatch County when it comes to housing costs and availability, leaving many workers in the town behind. Planning experts say transit may help address the issue as they look at results of a survey about transportation and housing conducted this winter.

Ryan Smith, a planning consultant with Zions Public Finance, told the Midway City Council June 18 renters in the town, on average, pay more than twice what their counterparts elsewhere in the county do.

“For Wasatch County, in 2021, it was $1,414,” he said. “And Midway, it was $3,091 – so more than double.”

And he said the gap appears to be widening over time, making the town progressively less affordable.

Survey results show there’s a shortage of over 500 units for those who make less than six figures, like firefighters and teachers, while there’s a surplus of hundreds of homes within reach for those making $100,000 or more, such as lawyers and business executives.

Soaring housing costs in Midway leave the town itself out of reach for many workers: as many as three-quarters of resort workers travel in for their jobs. But Smith said creating new transit options could be a way to help workers and improve traffic, especially those traveling within Wasatch County.

“Specifically looking at lower-income workers… almost half of them, 43%, are within 10 miles from work to home,” he said. “There’s a lot with state Route 113. About 25% work within a mile of that, so if there’s a bus route on there, it’s not too hard to get to work from that route.”

Alexis Verson, a planner with Horrocks Engineering, said data from High Valley Transit shows the micro-transit vans in Wasatch County have been popular with riders, and there’s some community support for a bus route between Heber and Midway. One possibility is working with High Valley Transit to expand transportation options for the town.

“It requires an interlocal agreement, obviously. It also requires the city to pass sales tax initiatives that then go to fund the transit district,” she said. “That really would help potentially fund that fixed line. We think between Heber and Midway is going to be the most valuable to essential workers who are primarily living in Heber and working in Midway.”

Verson said results of the mobility study will be shared with the community online soon, including details about housing, pedestrian and bike transportation, and public transit.

The Midway City Council will continue to discuss the study to brainstorm ways to improve transportation and housing in the town. If councilmembers decide to pursue a partnership with High Valley Transit, they will need to work with Wasatch County to determine how to fund the project.