Can We Fix the Parking Lot Traffic?

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Anna Gready, Reporter

At 2:25, when the bell rings at Park City High School, the parking lots flood with students’ cars rushing to leave and beat the endless traffic. The traffic in the high school’s parking lots has been a continuous issue throughout the years, and the school is in desperate need of a solution.

 

Park City High School Principal Roger Arbabi has been working with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and the high school staff to develop a safer and more efficient solution for students to leave the high school. Despite the urgency of this project, it poses several practical issues within the school.

 

Park City High School has made past attempts to solve the traffic issues in the parking lot. For example, before the tunnel located under Kearns Blvd was built, there was a traffic light that allowed pedestrians to cross the street. As a result, when pedestrians were crossing, cars were able to leave without facing oncoming traffic. However, some cars did not understand the traffic signals, so they pulled out at the wrong ties, putting pedestrians in danger.

 

“But now that that’s gone the flow of traffic doesn’t stop and as people are coming from Treasure they are already on the road so our students can’t pull out. So we are looking at different options so that we can eliminate some of those problems,” said Arbabi. 

 

One of the most likely solutions Arbabi has proposed involves installing a stoplight that allows students to pull out of the parking lot with the direction of the light. 

 

Arbabi, along with UDOT, has also considered the possibility of creating a route from the high school’s junior lot to Lucky John Dr, the road behind the school, which would allow students to leave the high school without crossing a major highway. 

 

Principal Arbabi has also considered the idea of assigning teachers to become flaggers to block traffic and allow cars to leave the parking lots. 

 

Although these solutions would improve the traffic issues at the high school, there are certain issues that may delay or prevent the implementation of the solutions. 

 

“Part of the problem is that we empty out onto the state highway which means that it is controlled by the Utah Department of Transportation,” said Arbabi. “It’s not just a city street, and so the governing to hold up traffic on a state road looks very different than just to be able to pull out and just stop traffic.”

 

Using teachers as flaggers also poses difficult questions, such as teacher safety, liability, and flagger licensing. 

 

In terms of the timeline for the potential solutions, it is clear that the implementation, licensing, and construction will be a long process. It is safe to say that there will be no quick solution.

 

“We’re meeting with state, city, and district officials to fix this issue but there is no quick solution. I don’t have an answer; there is no quick solution,” said Arbabi.

 

Although several of the possible solutions pose several issues and will likely take a long time to implement. Arbabi understands the demand for a solution. 

 

“You can imagine I’ve got students who are 16, 17, 18 and they are new to driving,” expressed Arbabi.  “And pulling out left you’ve got a lot of traffic to cross that’s going into town, and then you’ve got to get them on the other side of the road. This year, we haven’t had a car accident, but we had a pretty severe accident right in front of our school last year. Now traffic isn’t bad, wait until ski season starts, and really it’s all about student safety and making sure they are safe.”