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Would You Really Use Alternative Forms of Transportation?

On Friday evening we went into Kimball Junction to get pizza. People across America do something similar every Friday. People in Chicago. People in Washington DC. People in Los Angeles. What do we now have in common with those people? Traffic. It usually takes 5 minutes to get from Pinebrook to our destination in Kimball Junction but tonight it took 20.

We have been warned of this. The Governor says the population in Summit County will double by 2040. With people, comes transportation issues, and Park City and Summit County have been discussing a new transportation plan, designed to address this issue, for months. The potential “solution” is multi-faceted.

  • $100’s of millions of dollars invested in busses and/or light rail.
  • Creating receiving areas in places like Jeremy Ranch, Pinebrook, and Silver Summit to keep traffic hyper-local.
  • Incenting people to not drive through parking costs, etc.

If you spend time listening to the radio or attending government meetings, you know this is a hot issue. The answer, at least recently, is the aforementioned “Transportation Plan.” We hear no other ideas from public figures outside of the “Transportation Plan.” Yet, as we were sitting in traffic, we began to contemplate the plan.

Would we have driven to a park-n-ride and taken a bus to get take-out pizza in Kimball Junction? No. Let’s extrapolate that further and say we were going to buy groceries at Smiths. Would we have taken public transportation. No. What if we were going skiing. Would we take public transport? Maybe, if it could get us there in 20-30 minutes from our door. Is that likely?

The proponents of the transportation plan will then often counter with something like “you WOULD take public transport if it took 2 hours to get to PCMR by car, because that’s wht will happen.” That may be true. However, if it always took two hours to get to Junction Pizza, we’d probably just start buying Digiorno’s.

The point of this is to say that the city and county are trying to find solutions to gridlock. They have talked about spending hundreds of millions of dollars to “solve” this problem. Yet, we’re not sure the average Parkite is going to use much of it. What is more likely is that people will get used to the traffic. Sometimes they will bear it and sometimes they will opt out. Even less times they will hop the bus. That will lead to a waste in funds that could have been better spent.

We of course may be different than the average Park City person. With that in mind we’d like to ask you a question. Would you take a bus or train to shop for groceries if it took 35 minutes one-way, including wait times, to get there? Would you ride an hour to the ski resort? Would you spend 45 minutes going to Main Street via train for a nice dinner or would you just not go?

We understand the need for our leaders to try and find a solution to traffic problems. We agree that waiting on the on ramp to 224 for 10 minutes seems like an eternity. However, reality may spell out something different. We may just get used to it all. The only thing worse than horrible traffic is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide alternatives to traffic and then still sitting in it. We’re afraid that’s just what most people will do.



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