Parking in Park City is heavily regulated during the Sundance Film Festival, including restrictions along Main Street, shown. Christopher Reeves/Park
Parking in Park City is heavily regulated during the Sundance Film Festival, including restrictions along Main Street, shown. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

There are rarely any extras in Park City parking lots and garages during the Sundance Film Festival.

Park City is expected to be jammed during Sundance, which opens on Thursday. The parking crush is typically the worst of the year. That, in turn, often leads to traffic backups as drivers slowly search for a parking spot.

Parking in public lots is tightly regulated and more expensive than normal during Sundance. Some parking lots under private ownership are monitored to ensure Sundance-goers do not take up spots meant for customers. Other privately held spots cost much more than normal. Parking is also regulated on neighborhood streets in Old Town, where someone must have a residential parking sticker to park.

Sundance organizers and Park City officials encourage people to take buses during the festival. The City Hall bus system operates during Sundance alongside theater buses. Or, they say, walking between many of the Sundance venues is easy.

But many people will be driving to Park City nonetheless and then looking for parking. The municipal government's parking restrictions are tighter during Sundance than any other point in the year. There are also tight restrictions on parking at festival venues themselves, including the screening rooms.

Some of the highlights, as described in a City Hall-authored tip sheet posted on the municipal website:

  • Main Street has been turned into a no-parking zone, with restrictions on both sides of the street.

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    It is what City Hall calls a "drop-and-load zone" designed for delivery drivers and taxis. The time limit is 15 minutes. The restrictions will be in place through Jan. 31.

  • Parking in the Brew Pub lot, which is located close to the top of Main Street, costs $16 for three hours.

  • Parking in public lots on Swede Alley -- the surface spots and the China Bridge garage -- will be paid or by permit. Paid parking is $25, cash only. Someone must pay again if they leave a spot and return later. The price will drop to $10 on Jan. 27.

  • People who have a Main Street employee permit or a Main Street business permit are allowed to park without charge on the roof level of the old China Bridge garage, the lot on the north side of the Marsac Building and in certain spots on the upper level of the Gateway Center garage.

  • Someone may park for free in lot 5 and lot 6 of Deer Valley Resort's Snow Park lots after 5 p.m. Vehicles must be out of the lots by 3 a.m. The final bus of the night headed for the Snow Park lots leaves the Old Town transit center at 2:30 a.m.

  • Free parking is available on the weekends at Treasure Mountain Junior High School. The last bus of the night headed for the lot from the Old Town transit center leaves at approximately 2:30 a.m.

    "Driving is difficult around town, especially near Main Street and in the Old Town area. Many areas are closed to parking and additional parking fees apply in others," the tip sheet says. "Your best option is to avoid driving, but if you do decide to drive please plan plenty of time for traffic and congestion."

    More information is available on City Hall's website, www.parkcity.org. Select 'Sundance Film Festival' in the 'Doing Business' dropdown menu on the front page. Several options on the page address parking, including one with a map.