Mountain News: 

Park City investigates buses to Salt Lake City

 

By Allen Best

PARK CITY, Utah Ð Although only 25 miles apart, no buses run between Park City and Salt Lake City Ñ somewhat surprisingly, given how many of Park CityÕs employees and customers come from the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. That could change.

Park City officials have launched a study about the cost and ridership of such a route, but donÕt expect any buses to start rolling before December 2006. If the bus service begins, notes The Park Record, the federal government would likely pay for at least part of the buses.

 

Traffic to get worse

ASPEN, Colo. Ð Highway 82 heading toward Aspen and Snowmass Village is already jammed with traffic most mornings, and a new study suggests it will get much, much worse.

That study predicts that the number of commuters will more than double in 20 years. At the centuryÕs turn, Pitkin County imported 8,400 commuters, but that figure is projected to swell to 20,500.

Drawing more commuters will be more jobs. The study projects more than 19,000 new jobs, while the population is expected to grow by only 10,330, owing primarily to growth-control measures and an absence of affordable housing.

As a result of this daily flux in and out of Aspen-Snowmass, Highway 82 is expected to increase in traffic by 50 per cent. The silver lining for that increase is that it will make mass transit more attractive to commuters.

What kind of mass transit will that be? Mostly likely buses. After spending years and years of work trying to get hold of the old railroad line from Glenwood Springs into Aspen, local authorities have basically given up hope that trains will be used on those tracks anytime soon Ñ if ever. Recently, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority voted to tear up and sell the unused railroad tracks, to allow a portion of the railbed to be used for a pedestrian trail.

Something of a similar situation exists in the nearby Eagle Valley. There, a much larger population growth is projected, but the job growth is expected to increase even more. While only 800 people per day commuted at the centuryÕs turn, a daily flux of 33,000 commuters is expected within 25 years, unless more is done to build lower-end housing.

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