If you haven’t been following the drama of Silver Springs and the loss of their bus route, here is the tldr;:
Park City and Summit County had a falling out over the current bus system. Summit County is making their own bus system called High Valley Transit (HVT). As part of that, they are canceling the 7 Pink bus service that runs through Silver Springs. Silver Springs residents are up in arms because it impacts their transportation options. Many claim they moved there because of the bus.
So, that’s where we are. Silver Spring residents are writing letters to the Park Record. They are calling their County Council people. A few have sent in comments to the Park Rag. I’m sympathetic, but I also pay attention to what our leaders say. In Wednesday’s County Council meeting, HVT Board president Kim Carson and Summit County Regional Transportation Planning Director, Caroline Rodriguez, spoke about current plans and answered questions from council persons.
According to the county council conversation, here is why your leaders think the current HVT plans are good for you (and why your bus isn’t coming back).
- Huge buses are going through your neighborhood with “no one” on them. That’s a waste of resources and bad for the environment.
- Today buses come every 30 minutes. HVT plans are better because “on-demand” minivans will pick you up in 15 minutes. It’s actually better for you whether you believe it or not.
- Neighboring neighborhoods can now call for pickups, instead of having to walk to your neighborhood. It’s a benefit for others.
- There is no time. They are establishing temporary offices at park-and-rides and getting in vehicles (hopefully) a week or two before launch. There is no time for changes.
I see the flaws in these arguments. For instance, yesterday morning, at many times, there were more people on the 7-Pink in Silver Springs than on the 10 Electric from KJ to PC. However, I think leaders have made up their minds — for now.
The “for now” is the important part. Kim Carson did say that they want to be flexible. They want to alter their plans based on how the system functions. So, Silver Springs residents, I’d give up on the fight to get a diesel bus careening through your burb. It’s not going to happen. However, I wouldn’t settle for a generic micro-transit alternative either.
I was messaging back and forth with someone who lives in Silver Springs and they had a good point. If the micro-transit would pick them up and take them to the Canyons or a central spot like Smith’s in Kimball Junction, that may be good enough. I think the Silver Springs’ fear is that they will need to take micro-transit to another bus stop, transfer, and then get to the Canyons or Smith’s to shop.
So, why not propose that Silver Springs micro-transit have expanded drop-offs for a trial period. If every pickup ends up being one family in a car headed to the Canyons or KJ, then expanded service doesn’t make sense. It’s no better than the family hopping in a car. If there is really the demand that is being signaled, then perhaps it would make sense to continue on-demand, micro-transit to a few extended locations like the Canyons and into Kimball Junction. If demand is big enough, perhaps a small shuttle bus would make sense.
Silver Springs is a little different from many neighborhoods in the Basin. For example, in Jeremy Ranch, HVT micro-transit is an addition to what we have had. In Silver Springs, the current HVT plan is seen as a subtraction. By providing Silver Springs with a chance to show that it makes sense to provide an expanded micro-transit, it may bridge the gap.
The diesel bus isn’t coming back to Silver Springs, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives. Perhaps my proposal isn’t what Silver Springs wants, but maybe Silver Spring residents can come up with something that meets both the HVT and residents’ needs.
Note, the video of the meeting seems to have disappeared but here is the link in case it comes back.