Traffic issues continue to rankle Park City residents as City Hall, Summit County and UDOT wrestle with increasing congestion on S.R. 248, more commonly referred to as Kearns Blvd. S.R. 248 connects Park City to U.S. 40 and is one of just two year-round routes into and out of the town—the other being S.R. 224 from I-80. UDOT is weighing a solution to widen the entirety of the road between the U.S.40 interchange and the intersection with S.R. 224 to five lanes—two inbound, two outbound and a turning lane—to alleviate rush hour gridlock, but the plan’s been met with resistance from local factions.
Though readers from urban areas with bonafide traffic issues will scoff at the small-town scope of such squabbles, the traffic flow problems on S.R. 248 have reached an untenable point requiring attention. It’s the primary travel corridor from Eastern Summit and Wasatch Counties as well as the access point for Prospector and the Park City School District Campus. Combine regular commuter volume with a seasonal influx of skiers and tourists, and S.R. 248 has become a major choke point as the road narrows from five lanes to three at PC Hill to the East and Bonanza Drive to the West.
UDOT’s proposal to widen the corridor for the entire three-mile stretch is facing stiff opposition. Public comments countering the proposal warn about “inviting” more vehicle traffic rather than decreasing the number of single-occupancy vehicles coming to town. Some residents voiced concerns about increased construction noise and truck traffic during a community open house on the topic. A part-time Prospector resident has launched a “Save PC Hill” initiative in the hopes of keeping the iconic hillside adorned with a large “PC” that abuts S.R. 248 to the North from being cut into when building additional lanes. Recently, the County Council has weighed in looking to provide input about what they deem is a regional issue. Councilor Glen Wright told the Park Record, “We have not been invited to the table but I think we should be.”
Some concerns are certainly well-founded, though it’s hard to ignore the geographical bias of some dissenting voices. Simply widening the corridor may run counter to the prevailing efforts to incentivize ditching single-occupancy vehicles on the way to Park City, but a complete unwillingness to recognize the impact of the status quo lane merges on persistent traffic issues is likewise unwise and shortsighted.
Development, traffic and cultural change are all topics sure to bring out the most passionate responses of people in Park City, but proper planning and careful consideration of input from myriad community groups can create positive outcomes as Park City continues to evolve. Public comments may be submitted online if you’d like to make your voice heard.
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