Guest Editorial: It’s Time to Rethink the Arts and Culture District
Whenever I pass the scratched ‘triangle’ of Bonanza, I think of two things: how beautiful the mountain view is now and what a great location for a transit hub. It never made much sense to have the transit center in the heart of the old town. Instead of digging and building for the arts and culture district, why not start at ground level and create the coolest transit hub in the country! In the book “Better Buses Better Cities”, transport expert Steven Higashide points out that buses are the most efficient and cost-effective mode of public transport. He describes ways to overcome people’s reluctance to take the bus. We can do the same by creating a fun and exciting transit hub in Bonanza Park, nicknamed the Bo-Go. We could build a waiting room with monthly and rotating art exhibitions. Visitors came out of the waiting room into a canteen with communal tables and all kinds of craft beers, smoothies, and hot chocolate vendors. Outside the canteen there would be covered docks for food trucks. There would be an app to tell you which food trucks are visiting and when. Beyond the structure, there could be a zero landscaped garden built entirely with recycled materials (eat your heart out Sunset Magazine). The garden would have various gathering places, there would be live music. Visitors would begin to experience Park City from the moment they arrive at Bo-Go. The Main Street transit hub would be reduced to a small indoor waiting room. The city could make a deal with the Kimballs on the now surplus land and the Kimballs could build their museum in the old city, to which it belongs. Sundance is already across from the Bo-Go and I’m sure their owner would build a new building for them.
It would only be part of the regional transportation system. In addition to running buses from Bo-Go to resorts, it is said to have a micro-switched system that allows city residents to transport them to Bo-Go. Buses would come from the junction and Richardson Flats could be developed as an award-winning, achievable housing community anchored by a fantastic park-and-ride. Think of several types of housing; Youth hostel style for seasonal workers, single family homes, restricted townhouses for seniors (sign me up for one). There could be a large plaza with gas fireplaces and summer concerts. Buses would come here from SLC, Provo-Heber, Midway and connect to Bo-Go buses every 10 minutes. The developer would partner with private bus companies to provide shuttles to SLC’s airport five times a day for $ 20 per person. People living in the area would literally have the world just steps away and without a car. One of the reasons there has been such a push for affordable housing in the city is due to the difficulty in getting in and out of the city. With this bus network, there could be so much more affordable housing built outside the city but with easy access to the city.
This plan provides a solution to a big problem and creates new dynamic areas. Compared to that, the Arts and Culture District looks pretentious, outdated, and a bit dead.
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