Community

People-First Streets project at Sidewinder Drive and Gold Dust Lane

PARK CITY, Utah. —  On June 29, a team of residents will be installing a temporary demonstration project on the intersection of Sidewinder Drive and Gold Dust Lane to slow auto speeds and create safer pedestrian crossings. The project will be installed starting at 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 29. The project, a collaboration between Park City Municipal and local residents, has been coined People-First Streets, and allows residents to engage in “city-sanctioned tactical urbanism”.

Deanna Rhodes on Gold Dust Lane. Photo: Fletcher Keyes

This first installation is being spearheaded by Deanna Rhodes with help from staff and volunteers of CONNECT Summit County and Recycle Utah. The project hopes to slow cars and create safer pedestrian crossings using paint, traffic cones, and potted plants made with recycled materials. Through this program, residents will lead projects, in partnership with City staff, to temporarily change local streets into places that place priority on people over automobiles.

The resident-led traffic calming initiative is the first of its kind in Utah, though Salt Lake City has experimented with traffic calming installations in the past – albeit city-led.

According to Austin Taylor, Park City’s Transportation Planner, this installation is the first of out of what he hope will be many. It all depends on the willingness of residents to lead their projects. “All of these proposed projects will be a bit different. Things like chicanes – objects put on the sides of streets that force people to slow and turn around them – street narrowing and curve extensions all have proven to slow cars down. Though, we’re not allowing speed bumps for maintenance and first responder reasons,” Taylor said.

When asked what prompted the People-First Streets project, Taylor said, “The way that street design has been performed in the US for decades has been from the top down. Governments haven’t done a good job communicating with residents to ask what they want their streets to look like. As a result, streets are designed around automobiles, primarily. This program empowers residents to make the changes they want to see on their streets.”

The intersection of Sidewinder Ave and Gold Dust Lane with a curve extension painted to slow traffic around the turn. Photo: Fletcher Keyes

If the project successfully calms traffic as planned and is embraced by the community, Taylor believes traffic calming installations could be permanent in Park City one day. But, he admits, there is a greater agenda at play. “One of the most important outcomes we can hope for from this project is that it will change attitudes and perceptions, so that the next time changes like wider bike lanes or slower traffic are proposed, people are more likely to say yes because they’ll have had the experience before.”

People-First Streets is a way for the community to calm portions of streets once designs and locations are approved by the Park City Transportation Planning Department. All installations are intended to be seasonal and gone by winter.

To learn more about the People-First Streets program or to submit a traffic calming proposal within city limits, visit parkcity.org/peoplefirststreets.

An example of tactical urbanism:

 

 

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