Come out April 18th to reduce traffic! 

Many of us were inspired by the March 8 Jackson Hole News&Guide editorial (“Engagement earns A+”). It presented a call to action to catalyze our community for the greater good. Before the crush of summer traffic, we invite citizens to engage and lead ideas that can be enacted as proactive solutions to aggravating traffic congestion. On April 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center, please join an important community meeting in an open house format to help innovate smart ways to take an additional 200 or more vehicles off of Wyoming highways 22 and 390 every day all yearround. Our partner organizations will share ideas and available solutions for reducing traffic on 22 and 390, and information about current efforts underway. We invite you to share your thoughts as well. Let’s explore how we can collectively reduce year-round traffic by invigorating transit, using traffic management tools and other forms of alternative transportation. To take hundreds of vehicles off highways 22 and 390 daily this summer, one question many have is could the Stilson park and ride be utilized as a vibrant year-round transit center to better manage traffic congestion. There are 15 acres set aside for park and ride use that are managed by the Teton Village Association all winter to reduce traffic with frequent transit service. Under a 1997 agreement, Teton County is to manage the Stilson site outside of ski season. It is not being fully utilized to reduce summer traffic. From winter experience there are lessons learned and data to support using Stilson consistently for traffic reduction with integrated START bus routes. There’s also money to help expand alternative transportation opportunities. To date, transfer fee revenues that Teton County collects from Shooting Star have amassed $2 million that is conditioned to support transportation between town and Teton Village. Some of these designated funds could support regularly scheduled summer START bus stops at Stilson, which could take hundreds of cars off the road every busy summer day. Last summer those who wanted to take the START bus from Stilson had to call START for service and wait up to 45 minutes for the bus to arrive. Not surprisingly, few people took the bus to commute to work in town or elsewhere throughout the community. What if this coming summer you could count on a bus at Stilson every half hour, no calls, no hassles? Would that make a difference for you and also for our wildlife? Another idea to help reduce traffic is to construct modest “bike lockers” or a low-cost “bike barn” at Stilson, so folks who ride the START bus over Teton Pass or live on the West Bank can easily bike between Stilson and town on Pathway 22. Every bit of traffic reduction helps.

The Stilson site can also potentially provide a great opportunity for Snake River access overflow parking. The Snake River Fund has proposed a small-scale informal bike share system that could serve those who wish to move quickly back to the river — think clunker bikes (perhaps donated from people’s garages or surplus old bikes). Logistical considerations will require planning and attention, but this isn’t too difficult — let’s make it work. Walking from Stilson to the river or to R Park works, too. Let’s supplement the walk with some natural history signage along the way to leverage visitors’ time there in favor of deeper understanding about living compatibly with riparian wildlife. These are some ideas to reduce traffic and enhance our community that we look forward to exploring with you next month. We’re sure you have great ideas as well, and we can’t wait to hear them. We’re also asking Teton County for an official public workshop on ways to take traffic off 390 and 22 year-round by using the available Stilson land, dedicated revenue streams and innovative ideas from our community. To help you get up to speed before that happens and to prepare for the April 18 open house, you can access background material and share your thoughts at our new Facebook page called Teton Traffic Busters. Let’s generate positive solutions that our elected officials can enact so that this summer, and in years to come, we have fewer frustratingly long traffic lines and delays. See you April 18 at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center.