Don’t even think about disobeying traffic tough guy
January 21, 2009
Bill Treadway’s husky voice rises above most others on Main Street, and he has some stiff competition during the Sundance Film Festival — photographers yelling at celebrities to look their way and people screaming as they hail a cab, among them.
Treadway says he has to be loud. If he is not, someone could get hurt. Treadway has quickly become a familiar figure for the Sundance crowds on Main Street. He is the one spending hours directing pedestrians and traffic at the busy Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection.
Wearing a safety vest and wielding either a cone-shaped flashlight or a wand-like flashlight, Treadway is the loudest, most assertive and most entertaining member of the crew hired to keep the pedestrians safe.
"I will not be ignored. I’m big. I’m ugly. And I’m loud," he says on one of his breaks on Monday evening.
He says there have been a few close calls between pedestrians and drivers at the intersection during the festival. A driver, meanwhile, pushed into a member of his crew, but the person was not injured. Treadway says he expects to log between 56 and 60 hours at the intersection during Sundance, with his last shift scheduled on Tuesday.
During the last days of the festival, others from his company, which has been contracted for Sundance, will draw the assignment. Five or six people man the intersection through most of the day and into the night. Another two are positioned at the Swede Alley walkway outside the Old Town transit center.
Recommended Stories For You
"It’s sort of a thankless job," says Treadway, a 49-year-old mortgage broker from North Ogden who moved to Utah from Atlanta and worked as a security guard during Sundance for five years before his traffic gig this year.
Treadway’s post is at one of the busiest spots in Park City during Sundance. Traffic flows at a steady clip through the intersection from early in the morning until the overnight hours. He says it is busiest in the middle of the afternoon on the weekends, but traffic is also "insanity" from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Traffic restrictions put in place for Sundance forbid left turns by uphill or downhill drivers, a bid to reduce backups on the bustling strip. The crews directing traffic at the intersection, meanwhile, ensure buses, crucial to Sundance’s transit plans, do not become stuck in the backups.
Treadway barks out his commands, not worrying about upsetting the drivers or pedestrians. Speaking out loud and toward the direction of someone who disobeyed, he wonders why the person did not follow his instructions. Treadway, who is a retired Army officer, says his military training helps him with his Sundance duties. The military taught him to recognize movements out of the corner of his eye, a skill he uses at the intersection.
Actress Denise Richards walked by once. Mike Tyson passed Treadway. So did Mariah Carey. Pierce Brosnan was oblivious to the traffic at the intersection, Treadway says.
But there are hazards at the intersection, especially with drivers and pedestrians chattering on their cell phones, he says. Some taxis drivers are uncooperative as they look for customers, Treadway says, and people taking snapshots in the intersection also are problematic. Ninety-five percent of the pedestrians and drivers pay attention to him, he estimates.
"If you’re courteous and polite, say please, thank you, people will do what you ask them to," he says.
On his break on Monday evening, Treadway stakes out a spot inside the bowels of the transit center, warming up as he eats a dinner of sausage and egg gumbo that he heats up in a microwave oven. The warm dinner is good for his throat. He promises he normally does not have the husky voice he does on Monday. His voice usually is good enough for him to perform with a church choir.
"My voice is a lot nicer than this," he says. "I do some singing."