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First Look: Summit E-Bike

You may have heard that Park City and Summit County are launching an e-bike program on July 14. There will be various stations setup across the Basin, where you can rent a Summit E-Bike for a short period. The thought is that tourists will use the e-bike and rely less on a car. The hope is that the resident will use the e-bike to drive to work or use it to get from the bus stop to work.

Residents can buy an annual pass for $90 that lets them rent the bike for 1.5 hours at a time. Otherwise, you can rent the bike in 45 minute chunks.The price varies depending on which shorter term pass you buy (monthly, weekly, daily, or per ride). As an example, for the per-ride, you can rent a bike for 45 minutes for $2.

My question has always been “how good will the bike be”? Today I got a first glimpse at the answer. As part of the launch of electric buses for the transit system, the city and county offered free rides on the e-bikes arriving July 14 today. I took advantage of that offer.

The company providing the service is out of Quebec and is called Bewegen. Therefore, the test unit was very Canadian. The Bewegen rep said that production models would be in US format (i.e. miles instead of kilometers). She also said that their bikes travelled about 50 miles on a charge, depending on how a person rode the bike and how charged up the bike was when you started.

So, how was the experience?

It was OK.

I’ve been riding various Pedego E-bikes for about 2.5 years. I take my kids to school on the e-bike. I pick up Pizza on my e-bike. I go to the grocery on my e-bike. I love e-bikes. I firmly believe that e-bikes (and related vehicles) are a cornerstone of providing a better transportation experience in the Snyderville Basin. They are flexible and on-demand.

My initial conclusion, albeit after only a few minutes, is that the Summit County E-bike is almost a different product from the e-bike you may buy at a store. It is industrial. It is rock solid. It is made to last in the rain. It may even last a nuclear attack from North Korea. But it does not provide the comfort you would get in a Pedego, Radwagon, or iZip. The Summit County bike is a little jarring as you pedal. It doesn’t provide the power that a regular e-bike does on hills. It feel a little like you are pedaling a motor scooter.

So, it is not as nice as what you might buy. That said, when y0u rent a car at Avis it isn’t usually as nice as your car at home.

Also, given our tough weather, this bike has to be durable. The rain, the snow (in June), the wind, and the sun all take their toll.

There is a tradeoff. You can’t have a plush experience from a bike and expect that bike to also sit out in the weather.

I’m a little torn. I want e-bikes to survive in Park City. I had hoped that the Summit E-bike program would encourage people to buy their own bike. I’m not sure that will happen. The Summit E-bike is just not the same smile-inducing experience that you get from an e-bike you would buy. For example, if I wanted to go from Tanger to Smith’s (two rental stops) I could go through the trouble of renting the bike but I would probably walk for that distance. If I wanted to go from Smith’s to the Canyons (two of the rental stops) that may take 10-15 minutes to ride, but the comfort just isn’t quite there. I might do it if I really wanted to attend a concert and had a way to ensure a bike was available for the ride back. That said, the 10-15 minute ride is probably the sweet spot for this service.

If we take it any farther, say Smith’s at the junction to PCMR, I can’t imagine riding the bike that far. The seat was too uncomfortable for that.

Likewise, I rode my Pedego from Jeremy Ranch up to the Utah Olympic Park this morning for their Slip ‘n Soar (a fun experience by the way… next one is July 4). It was some work heading up that hill, even with the massive amount of pedal assist that the Pedego Stretch is capable of. I don’t think I could have done it on the Summit E-bike rental. It just didn’t seem to have enough power.

All in all I applaud Summit County and Park City for looking outside the bus for other transportation solutions. I’ll be interested to see how the e-bike share works out. There is a lot of money invested in it (some of which is a grant), so it had better work out. That said, I won’t be trading in my Pedego for a $90 a year pass for a rental. Although my Pedego costs many times more than that, it’s a superior experience.

I’d recommend you try out the e-bike share next month. If you enjoy the experience at all, then go into the Pedego store near Sammy’s Bistro (and White Pine) in Park City and try one of their bikes. We guarantee that if you liked the bike share, you’ll love a real e-bike.

Likewise, maybe the Summit Bike share is good enough to meet your needs. In that case, please use it up. You’ll get a little work-out, have a different perspective on our community, and reduce traffic … for a reasonable cost.

Overall, I guess I was hoping that the bike share may be the gateway drug that gets people into e-bikes. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it will get you high enough.


Our richest person is pretty low on the “Rich-Scale”

We saw this infographic a few days ago.

It shows the richest person in each state. In Utah, the richest person is Gail Miller… of Larry H Miller fame.

What is interesting though is that her $1.2 Billion net worth puts her at 43rd place on the list. It’s somewhat surprising since Utah often ranks #1 in business in many surveys.

You might think that the best business climate would drive net worth…



Get ready for traffic heading to the new Whole Foods

I have had a frequent debate with a friend over the location of the new Whole Foods on Landmark Drive. I say the traffic is going to be horrible. My friend says, “I just don’t see that it will add that much traffic.” His point is that Whole Foods by itself won’t crush Landmark Drive.

However, something I read today may sway that debate in my favor. As you probably know, Amazon is planning on buying Whole Foods. There has been much speculation about how Amazon’s purchase will impact other grocers like Kroger (i.e. Smith’s to us in Utah). Today I read an article discussing how Whole Foods (under Amazon) will provide Mercedes for the price of Toyota. Amazon just doesn’t care about a profit.

So, why wouldn’t everyone shop at Whole Foods if they could. Imagine all the cars from Smith’s trying to access the Whole Foods on Landmark Drive on a Saturday. Crazy.

The question we have is how long until Whole Foods moves out near the Home Depot, where they probably should have built in the first place. We’re sure the cost of the new building will tie them to KJ for now…but we won’t be surprised to see them making a move early next decade.


Old Town Cellars is the Type of Business Park City Should Support

Are you looking forward to an evening out this summer in Park City? May we suggest stopping by Old Town Cellars (near Vinto) on Main Street. Old Town Cellars was formed in the last few years by locals who wanted to produce great tasting wine in Park City.They buy juice from some of the best wine growing regions, blend, and produce a unique product. You may have seen their Mountain Town Red in the wine store.

My wife and I were going to Riverhorse last night and decided to stop into Old Town Cellars before dinner to have a glass of wine. We hadn’t been since last winter. Our visit reminded us that it’s just a great place. It’s so local and so much what a local company should be. There are ski boot shells with flowers adorning the outside. There were a number of bikes and e-bikes outside; when we asked about them, our server said that they all generally bike to work. There are a few guys working, all who live in Park City. You get the feeling that this is what they do. It’s not a job. It’s a passion. That is a very different feeling than you get from other places around town (even at somewhere as good as Riverhorse).

Last night we tried their Pinot Grigio and their Rosé. The Pinot Gris was fine but you have to try the Rosé. I later had a Rosé from France at Riverhorse and it didn’t compare. Old Town Cellars’ Rosé was crisp, with a perfect amount of fruit.

One of the other interesting aspects of their business is their goal to help the environment. We asked about the clear, humongous oblong spheres sitting in the corner of the business. Our server told us that Old Town Cellars wanted their tasting room to be glass free in the near future. They don’t want to just stop recycling their glass… they want to stop using glass altogether. They want to serve their wine using unique, reusable kegs that insure freshness and helps the environment.

It’s the sort of initiative we wish Park City Municipal would get behind. It’s sort of the Achilles heal of Park City. We depend on tourism but that tourism leads to big environmental impacts. Could the city offer something to encourage the reduction of glass? Could they do something that would not only help businesses like Old Town Cellars but also encourage places like the Spur and No Name to dump glass too? We think they could do something.

So lest you take this as an advertisement for Old Town Cellars, the Park Rag doesn’t take advertising money. We just like what we like (and don’t what we don’t). You may or may not like it. That said, if you are looking to do something before your 7PM restaurant reservation, we’d recommend giving them a try.

We will definitely be going to back there.

They are located at:

890 Main Street
Park City, UT 84060




Park City and the Basin seem crowded

Out of the mouths of babes….

Tonight I was riding on my bike with my five and three year old sons to get pizza in Kimball Junction. All of sudden, out of nowhere, my 5 year old says “wow, this place is crowded.”

Yep it felt crowded.

For so long we, as a community, have said that the Park City area has horrible traffic. Our leaders have tried to solve that by fixing “traffic.” Maybe they are fixing the wrong thing.

Maybe we as residents should demand that our leaders fix “overcrowding.”

It’s a very different thing… and a very different problem.




UDOT may bring more affordable housing to Jeremy Ranch

To build a wall or to not build a wall — that is the question. In this case we’re not talking Donald Trump. We are talking about a proposed noise barrier being considered by UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) along I-80 near Jeremy Ranch. As part of the process of adding an additional lane to I-80, UDOT is considering building a 3200 foot long, 18 foot tall concrete wall to reduce the noise. Of course, there have been complaints.

Some residents have complained about not being able to sleep due to the noise. Other residents have responded that those people knew that they were buying a home along I-80 and that a wall runs counter to our General Plan. The counter argument from other folks is that people buying homes didn’t know there was going to be an additional lane built on I-80 — which we guess will further increase the noise.

It’s quite the mess.

Evidently, UDOT is going to ask the 22 homes that are the most impacted to vote on whether they want the 57,000 square feet of wall being proposed. This vote will then influence UDOT’s decision to build or not to build.

However, your friends at the ParkRag have good news (either way) … So, worry not Jeremy Ranch residents.

If UDOT decides not to build the wall, then we pretty much have the status quo. For those people who live along the freeway, it’ll continue to be loud (which we are sure isn’t pleasant)… but you still sort of live in Park City.

However, if the wall is built, we’ll all get some more affordable housing in Jeremy Ranch. There was a study appearing in the Appraisal Journal that looked at home prices of houses behind noise barriers in Montreal. Their study of home prices over 20 years found a “noise barrier induced a decrease of 6% in the house prices in our sample in the short run, while it had a stronger negative impact of 11% in the long run.” It’s a little counter-intuitive. You’d think that less noise would increase value. Of course, there are other studies that have different outcomes, but this study seems to address the weaknesses in other studies. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if there is some merit to reduced home prices behind the wall.

Personally when I’ve driven by these barriers, I usually wonder what sort of Urban Wasteland they trying to hide. That could just be me, though.

Maybe the charm of Park City will override the 18 foot concrete walls… and maybe they’ll even commission an artist to draw moose on them. That’ll be good until the graffiti comes of course. Maybe Banksy will come back and draw a mouse on the freeway wall? A town could hope.

There always seems to be a million battles being fought in Park City — and like most battles — we’re not sure anyone really knows the consequences of the outcome.

To build a wall or not build a wall that is the question. And one that your friends at UDOT will sort out for you, whether you want them to or not.


Should Tommy Tanzer be the next Park City School Board member? In many ways yes.

In what had to be one of the wildest school board meetings in recent memory, Park City resident Tommy Tanzer interviewed for the open Park City School Board seat. While the board tried to ask a list of questions, Mr Tanzer wouldn’t have any of it (for a while).

Mr Tanzer began by asking if they could follow Costanza rules for the interview — referring to an episode of Seinfeld where George Constanza said he couldn’t say anything wrong as long as he wasn’t told that it was wrong ahead of time. We’re not sure that episode actually exists… but because Tommy was so authentic, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

He then continued by telling the interviewers they were wasting his time. He called a variety of things going on in the district “bullshit.” He said if the right person wasn’t elected he was going to the press with information. Of course, we don’t know exactly what that information is but again it was entertaining.

When asked about appropriate levels of spending, Mr Tanzer said it won’t be hard to ask the public for money, if they trust the board, because “they piss that much away at lunch.”

Finally he concluded that the board wasn’t interviewing of him; he was interviewing the board.

Honestly, it was the most fun I’ve had watching a local government meeting in a long time (if ever). I kept asking myself… “Is this happening?”

The truth about Mr. Tanzer’s interview is that he will never be picked to be on the school board… and he probably shouldn’t be picked. He even said so during the interview.

However, in every joke there is a little bit of truth. In the case of Tommy, there was a lot of truth.

So, we’d encourage you to take 25 minutes of your time and watch the interview of Tommy Tanzer… the guy who won’t be a Park City School Board Member but in many ways should be.

One of the problems the Park City School District has had is authenticity. You can bring up many issues with Mr Tanzer’s presentation… but authenticity isn’t one.

You want someone who had negotiated “the best raise for teachers ever” and won’t hold a punch? Call your school board representative and tell them you want Tommy.

Here is the video:


Park City School Board interviewed three candidates today for vacated board seat

The Park City School Board interviewed three candidates for the position vacated by Phil Kaplan.

During a quick hour and a half session, the board asked the same questions of candidates and tried to ask questions of a third… but that didn’t go so well. We will post the video of the third candidate’s interview tomorrow.

The interviews led off with James Meyer, who was the former headmaster of Oakley school. Anne Peters, a former VP of Sundance Catalog, followed Mr. Meyer. Wrapping up the interviews was Tommy Tanzer, a sports agent.

The district did a good job with the interviews. The same questions were asked of each candidate. Having witnessed quite a few interviews for various boards round the county, the district mastered efficiency and showed great command over the process.

We’ve captured the interview questions and tried to summarize the candidates answers as best we could. The district will post a video of the interviews soon, if you want to view the exact answers. The decision on the newest school board member will come Tuesday morning.

James Meyer

Are you related to anyone on the school board our school district: No

Do you conduct any business with the Pc School District: No

Two primary responsibilities of the board are budget and policy?

  • I started my own business. I was the head master of Oakley school for 15 years
  • Writing policies for kids with behavioral issues, I did for 15 years
  • Now I run a small business and am responsible for that.

How would you decide on appropriate levels of spending?

  • Carefully and deliberately
  • Those are the roles
  • You can’t have it all
  • Thinking there is going to be enough money al the time, there isn’t.
  • A strength is collaborating
  • Big believer in compromise to find a way to get through.
  • Wants to make sure the process is admirable and ethical
  • May not be liked by all but at least its done the right way

How do you build trust and responsibility as a team?

  • I’m not a political person.
  • I don’t do well with factions and back room deals
  • I don’t live that way and have never done it.
  • When I was at Oakley school, I had teachers who sometimes would want things but I can’t give it to them. We had mutual respect . There is a sense of comradely. It is crucial for people to know that can all work together. If we are too polarized, that won’t happen.

What are the strengths of the district?

  • Our location should allow us to recruit and retain great people because of our location
  • We have a talented teaching staff and the decision to give them a raise speaks highly about how people feel about our teachers.
  • Have good parents

As an incoming board member, do you have priorities for improving district?

  • Developing a commonality is important. There is a perception that there is a split and that there are factions. Some feel the board is split. Need to bring a sense of unity and purpose.
  • The bond is an example and the upcoming bond is another example.

How will you balance your role on a board member with being a community member?

  • Important to have boundaries
  • Conjecture, gossip, and talking out of school are not things to do.
  • Quote: “You have to live your life so you wouldn’t be afraid to sell your parrot to the town gossip”
  • Everyone says this is a difficult position. Your talking about peoples’ livelihoods. This can’t be taken lightly. That can’t side tracked by rumor and innudendo.

How do see the boards role different form the Superintendent?

  • The board’s job is managing the policies of the district. The Superintendent’s job is to execute and then provide input back to board.
  • Superintendent is liaison between teachers and board.

What questions do you have for us?

  • Can this board work together?
    • Andrew Kaplan: Can you be more specific about how we are not working together? It’s a new board and we have one member who left. In the 6 months we’ve been together we’ve done a lot. What exactly are you trying to get at about how we are split?
    • Candidate 1: I don’t know whether it’s broken. I’m not sure. It’ why I’m asking the qesution. I’ve met with a number of board members to discuss issues. Through that, that’s one of the things I’ve gathered. People have said there are splits in things. The person who comes in will have a big impact on that.
    • Andrew: Te public’s perception of the board hasn’t been great. Over the past few months the relations between board, superintendent, and others has gotten better. The most important thing is weighing what’s best for students and not personal opinions.
    • Petra: This board has gone through a difficult time because of all the issues needed to deal with. The time put in by the members is huge. It hasn’t been just 5 hours a week. There are issues we have to work together… but you’d be part of that team and part of group. You’d need to be able to be open minded.
    • JJ: It will be good to be a full 5 member board.
    • Julie: We are all committed to working together as a team. While it may not be the smoothest to get there, we are working toward that.
  • What are the top 3 priorities in the next 1-3 years.
    • Petra: It’s facilities. It’s the Master Plan. Start Times. Mental Health.
    • JJ: In addition there is the strategic plan
    • Julie: The bond is important. Our relationship with the community is improving but we need to continue to work on it.

What are your thoughts on the bond (follow up question)?

  • The hard part of the bond is that we didn’t have a bond that passed… 1.5 years later we have another bond that costs more but we don’t have athletic facilities. I think teachers’ salaries will help with that but we as a board need to worry about facilities. That is going to be delicate. The bond itself needs to be detailed where people can their head around it. The 5/6 is a lighting bolt. Right now, I would vote for it. I would do that because its good for our community. It helps kids. Second, our facilities need an upgrade.

Anne Peters

Related to anyone in the district: No

Do you have business interests with the school district?: I am aa teacher substitute in the district

Two primary responsibilities of the board are budget and policy? What are your experience with policies.

  • I had P&L for many companies. 2 Billion dollars companies and small companies. I have experience in it and accountability. I’ve been part of executive leadership and boards. As part of that there are policy decisions. Some are big and some are small but I have had experience.

How would you decide on appropriate levels of spending:

  • I would use an example of a house. You can’t do everything you want.
  • I’d also look at the ages going in and figure out how to allocate money
  • I’d figure out also how to track that because many times that’s left out.

How do you build trust and responsibility as a team?

  • I have a lot of experience in that. I have a 10 year old in the district. I that others as I would want to be treated. I don’t want to waste people’s time. I like to express my position but willing to listen and discuss. I’ve been a liaison between large customers. You have to compromise. I have. A lot of experience i that.

What are the strengths of the district?

  • I’ve started subbing in the district and have been involved in the classroom for years. I have subbed for a year. Being the district, I see what teachers have to do. They are amazing. I work close with the Principal. The staff is our greatest asset.

As an incoming board member, do you have priorities for improving district?

  • I would say the buildings. I have a child going into Treasure. Think we have a best in class organization but I’d like to see the facilities match that.Colors, lights, and it all matters.

How will you balance your role on a board member with being a community member?

  • I thought about my experience in being in a company. You are with your employees on busies trips 24X7. In my opinion your allegiance is to the board. You pay attention to what people say and bring it back.

How do see the boards role different form the Superintendent?

  • The Superintendent is the CEO of the organization. The board gives her direction and supports her.

What questions do you have for us?

  • Most questions have been answered by info sessions
  • I love living here. I came here by choice and love it. I was to be part of the community.

How long have you lived here?

  • 2001

Tommy Tanzer

Related to anyone on the board: No

Business interest: No …

…but I want to say something. The reason I’m here is that I’ve watched for 40 years the disfunctionality of the district. It’s not your fault and it is getting better. No one here is pulling strings and I get this from the teachers. I really like where we are and see the potential. I’m tired of seeing the politics. It’s not a disfunctional admin, teachers, etc. It’s the board that’s dysfunctional. Phil’s an example. Today is the first day of a new School District. We can make a decision about going forward in a cooperative manner. The bullshit is going to stop today. I need the board to tell me what we need the public. If you pick me we won’t get there in pretty fashion. I’m doing this because I’m better qualified and I will do a better job. I am obnoxious but people believe me. If you pick the wrong person I will go to the press with information.

These questions don’t mean anything. You need to find someone who is not a dupe. You need someone who is independent and cares about kids.

[Park Rag here…] There were actual questions answered, but it was out there. We’ve decided to just point you to the interview one it is online. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

It was an interesting set of interviews. We’ll see who the board goes with on Tuesday.

Utah: Come for Vacation…. Leave on Probation

As you are likely aware, Utah lowered the threshold for a DUI down to .05 BAC (likely goes into effect at the end of 2018).

Looks like the American Beverage Institute’s ad in Idaho (and soon running in Nevada) may have had an impact on Governor Herbert. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting “Gov. Gary Herbert has called on the Legislature to tweak the law, saying he would not oppose such things as creating lesser penalties for those arrested with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 than for those with higher levels, or perhaps waiting for other states to enact stricter limits first.”

Looks like the governor may have heard from some local businesses on the issue.

Here is the ad that has run in the Idaho Statesman warning people against going to Utah.

Park City students want to talk about the opioid epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a problem. It’s a problem in Utah, and it’s a problem in Park City. The state of Utah ranks fourth nationally for the number of opioid and heroin related deaths, and this rate has increased in all states over the past decade. However, the opioid epidemic now hits closer to home than ever before, following the tragic deaths of two Treasure Mountain students this past fall.

In a community like Park City, drugs can be a tough issue to talk about, and as a result the drug education in schools is lacking. The current curriculum in health classes throughout the district focuses on side effects and consequences of various drugs, as opposed to resources and comprehensive plans to get help if needed. It is an unfortunate one-sided way to teach drug education, and one that doesn’t consider how prominent of an issue addiction is.

That’s not to say the district isn’t trying to help. This past December, Park City High School held a screening of the film Chasing the Dragon, aimed to educate youth about the dangers of addiction. However, the documentary did not have the desired effect amongst the student body. With its focus on law enforcement and anti-marijuana message, the film alienated a large demographic of students and furthered the divide between kids and well-meaning adults.

Nonetheless, the opioid epidemic is an issue Park City students want – and need – to talk about. A committee of PCHS students has been working with Jenny Mackenzie, director of the film Dying in Vein, to promote awareness of addiction. As opposed to Chasing the Dragon, Dying in Vein focuses on mental health and treatment options. The documentary follows young adults who have recovered from addiction, those who are struggling through the recovery process, and those who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction. The main message of the film is this: Addiction is not a moral failing. It is a disease.

Park City High School will be hosting an opt-in screening of Dying in Vein on Tuesday, May 23. There will be a community screening of the film on Thursday, May 25 at 6 pm at the Park City Library. The documentary will be followed by a panel consisting of recovered addicts, family members who have lost loved ones to addiction, doctors, and those who work with treatment programs. Through screening this film, students hope to open up discussion about this tough issue in the community.

For more information visit


Utah's Opiate Crisis (from the feature documentary, Dying in Vein) from Jenny Mackenzie on Vimeo.