After Sundance, drama moved back to Park City drop-and-load zones
Some of the drama moved from the screening rooms back onto Main Street when the Sundance Film Festival ended.
Park City suspended the drop-and-load parking zones along Main Street during Sundance as part of the overall traffic and parking plan for the event. The drop-and-load zones returned after Sundance, and there have been numerous issues in the two-plus weeks since then.
The drop-and-load zones debuted in December and set aside certain parking spots for vehicles with the proper permit. The permits are available to anyone, but vehicles belonging to taxi companies and shuttle firms have been seen frequently using the spots. The permits cost $200.
The Park City Police Department since December has logged numerous cases involving violations. In many of the cases, drivers without a permit pull into a drop-and-load zone, prompting the police to respond.
There was a string of cases that stretched through the early weeks of the program. The cases temporarily ceased as the Sundance operations plan on Main Street was put in place. The issues, though, restarted when the Sundance operations ended with the close of the event.
Police Department logs in recent weeks show traffic stops prompted by drop-and-load violations or reports to the police about problems in the zones. It has appeared the issues have generally subsided since the introduction of the program, but the recent cases show ongoing confusion nonetheless.
In some of the cases, vehicles were seen without anybody inside in a drop-and-load zone while in other cases drivers were spotted stopping in the road to pick someone up, impeding the traffic.
The police logged a case on the evening of Feb. 16 involving a vehicle blocking 4th Street while people loaded into the vehicle. Another case was reported at close to the same location the night before. And in one nine-minute stretch on the evening of Feb. 15 three problems were reported to the police.
There was a string of cases in the immediate days after Sundance and through that week as well. In once of the incidents, on Feb. 8 at 11:23 p.m., people were reported to be loading into a vehicle on Main Street that was stopped on the road, causing traffic to back up. The police log from the incident indicated “passengers in the vehicle were upset” with the traffic stop and the citation.
The Park City Council in late 2019 created the drop-and-load zones, arguing the zones were a step toward better managing traffic along the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. It is a pilot program for the ski season. The zones are meant to reduce congestion in the Main Street core and improve safety there. The elected officials are expected to review the program after the ski season.
There was intense criticism of the program as it was launched shortly before the busy holiday stretch, and the concerns continued after New Year’s. In one especially pointed remark against the program, a driver with Uber compared Main Street after the debut of the drop-and-load zones to a scene from the action movie “Die Hard.”
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City Hall in December posted strong sales-tax numbers, powering past projections and nearly equaling the figure from the same month in the previous year, as Park City continued to beat expectations amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.