Park City takes next step in parking overhaul
Drivers will see some changes as early as this month
As early as this month, people will begin to notice some changes when they try to park in Park City’s historic district.
Park City recently hired the firm T2 Systems Incorporated to implement a long-awaited overhaul of the parking system in the Old Town area that has been discussed for months following an extensive parking study performed in 2015 and 2016. The city outlined a timeline for the project late last month, for the first time offering details to residents and visitors about when some of the major elements will be put in place.
Starting this month, the project will begin with a facelift to the China Bridge parking garage, with crews identifying places to install wayfinding signage to make the structure easier to navigate, according a report delivered to the City Council. The project is slated to continue in three phases through August. By the time it’s finished, drivers will be able to use electronic signage and a mobile app to see how many parking spaces are available in the area, and where, and will also be subject to parking fees in China Bridge during peak-demand times.
The goal is to reduce traffic congestion in the historic district and make it easier for visitors to find parking — or to encourage them to take public transportation or find other means to get to the area on particularly busy days. Kenzie Coulson, the city’s parking and fleet administrative supervisor, said the city chose to hire T2 Systems Incorporated because the company will be able to deliver on that promise by the end of the summer. She hopes much of the system will be in place by the time summer tourists flock to town in July and August.
“What we’re looking for is a complete package,” she said, adding that details such as the fee structure at China Bridge will become public as the project moves forward. “A lot of projects contain elements of a parking system. We’re going at it with this idea of going full force, making sure that the information gets in the hands of our users before they get to Main Street.”
Now that a timeline for the project has been developed, one of the largest remaining tasks for city officials is figuring out how to make the parking system work for all of the various groups that use it, ranging from Main Street business owners to employees to the thousands of visitors who come each year. To that end, the city intends to hold several community outreach sessions in the coming months, beginning with Wednesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. and Thursday, April 13, at 9 a.m. Both meetings are scheduled to be held at the Park City Library.
Determining solutions for the hundreds of employees who rely on lots like China Bridge to park during long shifts will be critical to those conversations. Many employees have said they’re worried about the city’s parking plan –particularly implementing fees at China Bridge — but Coulson said officials hope to stem that concern before the project is finished.
Coulson said solutions could include a guaranteed-ride-home program for employees who work late and incentive options for workers who carpool, use public transportation or park offsite and take shuttles to Main Street at least part of the week.
“The feedback from those who work on Main Street is going to help shape some of those solutions,” she said. “It’s really important that our solutions work for the people working up here.”
While some employees and business owners in the area have been vocal about their concerns, others are lauding the city’s effort. John Kenworthy, co-owner of the Flanagan’s restaurant on Main Street, said that, after years of problems, parking reached a breaking point this past winter.
He said he is optimistic the changes will benefit Main Street as a whole, even if it causes friction for some business owners and workers. At this point, he said, doing anything is better than doing nothing.
“I’m really proud that we have a City Hall that is finally taking action,” he said. “I’m not sure how it’s going to end up, but I’m happy we’re taking action.
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