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.