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Outside of the Box Thinking on Transportation

We received an email regarding yesterday’s post about Summit County government now owning the transportation problem. The email basically called us out and said alright “smart guy” why don’t you give us some innovative solutions if it’s so easy. First, if you’ve been reading our stuff you know that we aren’t very smart. We just like to blather on. Second, we don’t think a solution will be easy at all. Yet, if there is truly a problem to be solved then someone has to solve it. That someone now appears to be our city and county officials.

That said, we’ve got three ideas we haven’t heard anyone talk about. Here are two of them (we’ll save the third for later):

Yes gondolas, and we don’t mean the type you see in Venice. We mean the large aerial trams you’ll find in Europe, Austin, and coming to New York City. They cost 1/10th the price of light rail and move almost as many people per hour. Imagine a transit hub where the Boyer Tech Park is supposed to go. Gondolas go to Canyons, PCMR, Main Street, Silver Summit, Jeremy Ranch/Pinebrook, Richardson Flats, The High School, and across 224 to Kimball Junction. They travel at 25 miles per hour and would come every few minutes. they have the added benefit of being associated with ski resorts. So, having gondolas hanging in the air doesn’t really detract from our resort community. It would be a little slower than a car but not much. This, like any other form of transportation, would need to be combined with disincentives to get people out of their cars but it has a number of advantages that other forms of transportation just can’t meet.

Build the New Treasure Mountain Middle School in the Parking Lot of Park City High School
Imagine that Park City High School Students could no longer drive to school. Imagine that there was no parking for the Eccles Theater for Sundance. How much traffic would that take off of 248, especially during winter when school traffic and ski traffic combines to create road rage and a parking lot on 248? Perhaps a permit is required for parents to drop their children off as well, so that we don’t trade student vehicles for parent vehicles. So, build a school in the Parking Lot and make parking a non-option. Have people park at Richardson Flats and get bused in (or take the gondola per our idea above). Granted, we aren’t sure it would even fit but we are sure it would kill two birds with one stone: less traffic and the school district wouldn’t have to buy land for the new Treasure Mountain school. It also starts to look at solving our traffic issues incrementally versus trying to fix everything in one fail swoop.

Are these ideas crazy? Maybe. Would they work? They’d have to be analyzed. However, if our elected officials really want something creative, they are going to need a 100 crazy ideas and maybe a few will actually make sense. The thing is, crazy ideas aren’t comfortable. Sure buses and light rail are comfortable. They’ve all been done before but do they work for Park City? We saw the report from the transportation consultants and it looks like the bus option, while comfortable, is a non-starter. Next people will probably look at light rail. Good luck finding $30 million per mile for construction and who really wants that in their backyard? We really believe a combination of crazy ideas is likely the only solution that is feasible.

So, it should be interesting to see if our leaders, who are bright, are also inventive enough to come up with something that is just crazy enough to work.


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