While the project isn’t technically dead, there won’t be a new Park & Ride lot on the east end of Park City ready for next winter’s traffic. The city council voted on Thursday to postpone the project indefinitely.
Instead, the city will explore a pilot program at the rarely used Richardson Flat Park & Ride lot while resolving lingering questions about regional cooperation and future negotiations with Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley.
The city had been offered nearly $4 million in transportation grants to help pay for the project, and Thursday’s decision puts that money at risk; he could be reassigned to projects elsewhere in Utah.
The build bid the city had secured for the project also expires on May 17, meaning the process would have to start again as well.
The council made its decision despite positive feedback from the Utah Department of Transportation, city staff and outside traffic consultants.
UDOT Regional Manager Robert Stewart told council that UDOT strongly supports park-and-ride projects and added that future traffic issues at the SR 248 and Highway 40 interchange would be the problem of the UDOT to solve.
“If that park-and-ride is a huge success and it’s full of cars, we consider that a success, and if it creates problems for intersections on the 248, that’s where we come in to try to solving the transportation problem, not closing a park-and-ride lot,” Stewart said.
Summit County Councilman Doug Clyde also spoke at the meeting and asked why Park City hadn’t asked what he and the rest of the county council thought of the project.
The need for greater collaboration with the county was a central sticking point for councilors Tana Toly, Jeremy Rubell and Ryan Dickey. Rubell also expressed concern about the safety and configuration of the intersection of SR 248 with the 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 council voted to delay the project further.
“So I just want to clear things up,” he said. , we will wait for approval from High Valley Transit; two governments that do not necessarily serve our community? And we’re going to pilot a program in a parking lot that has never worked, ever, and been rated, by far, the lowest quality park-and-ride option our experts have seen? Is that the decision this action-oriented council is going to make? I am blown away. Great solutions, guys. Let’s do some more studying.
Doilney was joined by Councilman Becca Gerber in favor of moving forward with the project now, but was outnumbered by Dickey, Rubell and Toly.
In addition to greater cooperation with Summit County, Toly said she also wants Deer Valley and PCMR at the table. Although traffic is a growing problem year-round in the Park City area, it’s especially bad in the winter with thousands of people making their way to the resorts every day.
The project would cost the city about $100,000 in annual maintenance and an additional $1.8 to $2.5 million annually for transit services to the parking lot. Toly told KPCW that she wants resorts to participate in the project.
“It’s our opportunity right now to negotiate with ski resorts,” Toly said. “A lot of people who use this [park and ride] are going to be the guests of the ski resorts. What I said last night was “we now have the opportunity to say that this is going to cost $2 million every year for our transportation costs, where are you at to help us fund this?” Really bring both resorts to the table and say “what can we do to make this a partnership?” against the general public, our residents and taxpayers being responsible for this and the stations have no money in this.
The city and county are to hold a joint meeting in June. Early July was suggested as a future date to review the project.