Deer Valley, searching for parking, tapped garage in Main Street core
Deer Valley Resort temporarily opted to direct skiers to the China Bridge garage in the Main Street core on weekdays when the lots outside Snow Park Lodge filled, a step taken in response to City Hall’s recent prohibition on parking on the street outside the lodge but one that could have raised questions on Main Street as skiers took spots that otherwise would have been available for shoppers.
The resort starting on March 18 changed a highly visible sign at the Old Town roundabout to reflect the China Bridge option during weekdays. The sign this week advised Deer Valley guests to park at China Bridge and then take City Hall’s free bus to the resort. Parking at China Bridge, on Swede Alley a block off Main Street, is free until 5 p.m. and then $3 per hour between 5 p.m. and midnight with the first hour free. Many skiers typically leave the parking lots at the resort by 5 p.m.
Deer Valley said the message pointing skiers to China Bridge, though, will no longer be used. The last day was Friday. The resort continues to use the sign to direct skiers to Treasure Mountain Junior High during the weekends, when the Main Street core is typically jammed while parking at the school is easier without classes in session.
Deer Valley said it has reached an agreement with the Park City School District to use the parking at the junior high and has hired a private firm to shuttle guests to and from Snow Park Lodge.
The message that pointed skiers to China Bridge and the agreement with the School District regarding parking at the junior high followed shortly after a dispute between Deer Valley and City Hall that centered on street parking outside Snow Park Lodge. The lots outside Snow Park Lodge hold approximately 1,250 vehicles with planning and zoning documents that govern development at Deer Valley allowing overflow parking onto Deer Valley Drive on 10 percent of the days the resort is open for skiing during a season, or approximately 12 or 13 days. City Hall in mid-March told Deer Valley the allowance had been exceeded and overflow parking onto Deer Valley Drive is prohibited for the rest of the ski season. Deer Valley has indicated there were 27 days during the current ski season that required overflow parking onto Deer Valley Drive.
The prohibition covering the remainder of the ski season prompted Deer Valley to consider alternatives like the junior high and China Bridge. City Hall and Deer Valley are expected to consider other options before the start of the next ski season.
“We are doing our best to message guests about the change this late in the season and will work on increased messaging and parking plans going into next winter,” Emily Summers, a Deer Valley spokesperson, said in a response to a Park Record inquiry about the sign directing skiers to the China Bridge garage. “For the final 2.5 weeks of this season, we’ve increased our guest service staff in the lots and armed them with transportation information and maps, they are doing a fantastic job managing the change on the front line.”
Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager, said officials were aware of Deer Valley’s plans to direct skiers to the garage, He said the China Bridge garage, though, is “obviously not a long-term solution.”
He said the parking lots outside Snow Park typically do not overflow during the weekdays, meaning Deer Valley skiers were not expected to head to the China Bridge garage in high numbers. He said the garage normally does not fill during the daytime on weekdays anyway, and Deer Valley skiers who would have parked at the China Bridge garage could have chosen to go to Main Street shops, restaurants and nightclubs after skiing.
“There’s plenty of capacity during the days,” he said.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.