The Park City City Council continued discussion on the future arts and culture district and approved new dark sky regulations for commercial and residential lighting at their meeting Thursday night.
While the arts and culture district’s ballooning price tag and other aspects of the project like affordable housing have been getting the majority of the attention so far in 2021, how Park City’s transportation infrastructure will be integrated into the project is another important part.
Initially envisioned as a second transit hub to complement the Old Town Transit Center, the project has been scaled back some and is now considered a transit ‘node’ within the existing system. Council came to that consensus on Thursday night.
Transit nodes, according to city staff, are more than just run-of-the-mill bus stops, but not as elaborate as the facility in Old Town. Councilmember Tim Henney says the nodes at the future district will more resemble what is currently in front of Fresh Market on Park Ave or at the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
He says this layout will give the city more wiggle room to accommodate for future transit projects or emerging transportation technology.
“This model actually kind of creates greater flexibility for where we could blend with the bus rapid transit center, making maybe Fresh Market a more, again, nodal bus stop with better infrastructure, better shelters, but not having that full transit center amenity facility,” says Henney.
Fellow Councilmember Becca Gerber said on Thursday night the real challenge before the city will not necessarily be expanding public transit, but encouraging the community to see Park City as a car-optional destination.
“I do think that when we talk about fixing transit, that’s going to be as much of a mental challenge for our community and for our visitors as much as anything,” she said. “Moving people out of cars and changing habits is going to be a monumental task for us. Making the transit system more attractive moves us in that direction.”
When the purchase cost of the land at the corner of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive is factored in, total costs for the project are projected to top the $100 million mark. City staff say transportation infrastructure at the site will account for roughly 10-15% of that total.
Council also approved new dark sky regulations after last week’s positive recommendation from the planning commission. The new regulations would require residences and businesses to comply with new limits on outdoor light fixtures by 2024 and impose restrictions on how late business lighting can be illuminated.
Although council approved the measure unanimously, counselors acknowledged this was only the first step in addressing light pollution in Park City.
Councilmember Steve Joye said in the future, stricter limits on business and recreational lighting should be looked at.
“When we talk about doing all of this and making all of these changes, but we still have bright, glowing sporting fields and bright, glowing parking lots and things, again, it’s a first step, but I just don’t think it’s going to get us anywhere close to the end game so I hope we can continue to make some progress,” said Joyce. “I support everything you guys have in here, I think it’s great, I think you guys found the right balance, but I feel like to really make this be a dark sky community, we’ve got a long, long ways to go still.”
Affordable housing at the arts and culture district will be a central topic at the next council meeting on January 28th, a discussion that is expected to take several hours. A task force made up of councilmembers Nann Worel and Max Doilney will be looking into potential public-private partnerships in order to bring down the cost of construction, currently projected to be over $600,000 per unit.
Information on how to participate virtually at future city meetings can be found here.