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Kilby-Gate isn’t going away and it highlights communication issues

We don’t have too many dramas in Summit County and the Snyderville Basin. However, changes to Kilby Road, which runs in front of Pinebrook to the Whole Foods is shaping up to be a doozy. Therefore we’ve decided to call this issue Kilby-Gate.

For those who haven’t been following the story, Summit County wanted to put in a Park and Ride across from Ecker Hill Middle School. Residents were worried about traffic coming off I-80 and speeding down the frontage road (Kilby Rd). The County listened and worked to mitigate the issue. They ended up building an unusual road with lots of curves, which is designed to “calm” the traffic. It’s a known and standard principle, so it’s not out in left field. However, one could argue that it was taken to an extreme with Kilby.

Once the asphalt had dried, residents became enraged at the road design. Social media exploded with people questioning how the design was approved. I was at meetings where people berated the Public Works Director for building the road. Yet that was before paint was even put on the asphalt to designate lanes.

Typically issues like this rise and abate quickly. Attention spans are short. However, this one seems to have staying power. People are now flying drones over Kilby Road to show how cars are driving into the bicycles lanes. Worse, it allegedly shows that Park City Transit Buses are driving into the bike lanes. That’s not good. What it tells the public is that even professional drivers have problems with the course.

I for one love the new bike lanes on the road. However, if a Park City Transit bus takes me out on my e-bike I probably won’t be so enthused.

I tried to look back to see how much communication there has been about this road. It seems the County tried to do an innovative design and it hasn’t been well received. I found that there was a meet and greet in March about the road. That was a full 4 months before construction began! Why weren’t people up in arms then? Why didn’t they jump all over the design months before it began? It’s because the lead was buried.

I think too often our government leaders don’t want to anticipate criticism for fear of driving further criticism. They don’t want to say, “Hey we made a road that is really different to slow cars down… but you may not like it… so we wanted to check with the community first before we started.” It’s human nature after you have worked years on a project to just want to get it done. You don’t want to hear the negativity. You don’t want to think about starting over. It’s hard.

I think if Summit County had looked at this project, realized it was a major change, and worked from the position that most people are going to freak-out, they would have been better off. If Summit County had ensured that the Park Record headline was “Kilby Road is going to be VERY DIFFERENT. You Better check it out. Speak now or forever hold your peace,” it may have got people motivated to look at the design and provide feedback when it mattered.

But that is the past. That ship has sailed.

What we as residents should now be focused on are the roundabouts coming next year to Pinebrook and Jeremy. The County should be coming out right now and explaining everything they can possibly think of that you won’t like. The roundabouts have a UDOT component which makes them even tougher to have control over.

Let me pose a few questions:

  • How are your kids going to walk through the roundabout or will there be tunnels for all anticipated paths?
  • How many cars do they anticipate will be backed up, coming from Salt Lake City at peak times?
  • How are your kids going to bike through the roundabout?
  • How is your 7 year old kid who lives in Pinebrook going to traverse two roundabouts on her bike to get to Jeremy Ranch Elementary?
  • How long should you expect to wait at the roundabout to be able to enter and head the direction you was to go? What is acceptable per the plan?
  • When will construction begin and when will it end?
  • Will construction happen during school hours?
  • Are the roundabouts balanced (i.e. there is equal traffic from all directions), so that it maintains proper traffic flow?
  • How many lanes will there be within the roundabout?
  • How will this impact traffic going to Jeremy Ranch Elementary?

If you don’t know the answer to all these questions, or other questions you have, you should reach out to Summit County. You should force them to answer the tough questions because now is the time you can affect outcomes. Change is EXTREMELY HARD once the asphalt is down.

I had the chance to me Krachel (pronounced kruh-shell) Murdoch, the Summit County Public Affairs coordinator, a few weeks back. She wants to hear what you think. She wants to ensure your voice is heard. She can be reached at . Ask her the questions you have. She can then let our County Manager know the concerns and he can find ways to solicit further opinions.

Kilby-Gate isn’t going away. This winter, expect a flood of social media on the trial and tribulations of winter-navigation of Kilby Road. However, that’s in the past to a large degree. Let’s try to prevent the future conversations over the upcoming roundabouts that we’ll be living with forever.


Hi, I’m Josh Mann and I write most of the Park Rag. I’m running as a write-in candidate for Summit County Seat E. If you enjoy what you read here, consider writing my name in this November. I want to bring the same energy, logic, and critical view to the Summit County Council that you read here. More information on my platform can be found on my website.

Comments

6 Comments

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Walt

The pedestrian and bike safety of the roundabouts (basically, this means full tunnels everywhere) will literally determine whether we stay in the neighborhood and perhaps in Park City at all. I’m not interested in living somewhere people are too cheap to keep their kids safe.

I agree with you, Josh, that e-bikes are a huge opportunity for Summit County. They make bike commuting doable for almost everyone and tolerable in bad weather (dress warm, you don’t have to kill yourself up the hills and get sweaty) – and they’re the obvious solution to a lot of our transportation problems. We should be building infrastructure with bikes in mind *now*, rather than having people unable to safely ride or ripping roundabouts back out in 10 years.

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Jenny Terry

I’ve lived here 14 years near the, soon to be car-ageddon, round about from hell. I’ve spent the last 8 years talking with the county about the incredible need for safe passage for pedestrians through the new round about. I am happy to announce that THERE WILL BE SAFE PASSAGE (no interaction with cars / separate path) all the way across the new round about. This is fantastic news! But I still think that we need two more tunnels. Just because people can cross the interchange doesn’t mean it takes care of all the problems. We need another tunnel on each side of the interchange. One to cross under Pinebrook Rd. and and we need another one to cross under Homestead Rd. If anyone is interested or concerned about this issue, PLEASE check out my facebook page: Park City Pedestrian Passage https://www.facebook.com/ParkCityPedestrianPassage/ If you agree that more needs to be done please click and “Like” my page. You will be telling the County that they need to do more about this issue. P.S. If you scroll down the page a bit you can find a map of the density planned for the Pinebrook / Jeremy / Summit Park area. It’s not pretty.

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Jenny Terry

I asked the County engineer 6 months ago to not have a bike lane along side of the cars. I thought it would be safer to have a bike path, just like the one on the Rasmussen side. (between the i80 and the frontage road) The comment back to me was that it was a money / budget issue) I figure if someone gets hit or killed, maybe they will put in the safer path….? I tried to say something BEFORE they put the asphalt down. I did. But it comes down to money and budgets, not so much safety.

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Parkrag

This is such a good idea. The problem with the Kilby Rd path is that there are so many curbs and uneven spots. A trail like on Rasmussen makes a ton of sense.

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Anne

I have to ask why bikers insist on being in the road, forcing cars to cross double yellow lines while biker ride 2 side by side, when we have trails all over the place? Why don’t the bikers use them? All the blame for safety issues is not with the cars. But the Kilby disaster isn’t helping, I totally agree!

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Walt

Anne, the people you are talking about are recreational road bikers, not bike commuters. I see road riders on Rasmussen (no shoulder) all the time, when there’s a fantastic path… you just can’t reason with some people.

I find the 2-wide thing annoying (and it is, in theory illegal) too. But we are talking about kids and commuters here, not folks who think they’re the next coming of Lance Armstrong. You’re right to be annoyed – please don’t take that out on cyclists who are just trying to get to work/school/etc and let *you* have one less car to deal with on the road.

It’s win/win if we do it right.


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