Driving to the resorts?
February 9, 2008
The massive snowstorms that have been hitting Park City for the past few weeks translate to epic conditions on the mountains. That draws even more visitors to the resorts. But excess snow also translates to less room in the parking lots.
With the upcoming holiday weekend, resorts are likely to see more visitors competing for already limited parking spaces.
Some skiers and snowboarders, hoping to avoid the crowded lots, poach parking spots at local businesses, such as Albertson’s on Park Avenue. But if they do, they shouldn’t expect their cars to be there when they return.
"Basically, they’re on private property and they’re welcome to be there to shop at Albertson’s but for any other reason it’s not fair to Albertson’s to provide a parking lot," said Brad Belcher, Office Manager of Park City Towing.
Park City Towing has a contract with Albertson’s, as well as other local businesses and apartment complexes, to provide a profitable service by keeping parking lots available to designated customers and residents.
And retrieving your car from the towing company can be much pricier than even the most expensive parking. The cost at Park City Towing is $110, the maximum price set by the state for private property tows, plus a $15 storage fee once your car is on their lot, plus another $50 after-hours fee if you retrieve your car outside of normal business hours (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.), which includes weekends. This brings the weekend or after-hours total to $175.
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Representatives from Park City Towing sit in parking lots and monitor where customers go and how long cars have been in the lots. After an hour to an hour and a half, cars are towed.
Park City Mountain Resort is well-aware of this policy. Accordingly, they have designated an alternative parking plan for guests unable to find room in their lot, which typically accommodates 1,700 cars.
"We are doing snow removal, but we’re missing about 100 spots right now due to snow," Paula Fabel, spokesperson for PCMR said.
With Presidents’ Day next weekend and extra snow taking up spots, PCMR officials anticipate the need for overflow parking. But they have secured a multi-step back-up plan.
Parking lot attendants (wearing bright yellow coats) have pocket-sized maps and directions for guests who can’t find parking in the PCMR lot.
First they direct visitors to the City Park, then the nearby skateboard park lots. Next on the list, if school is not in session, is Treasure Mountain Middle School and McPolin Elementary, followed by Park City High School. Attendants also inform guests of pay-to-park underground garages, such as those located under the Town Lift, the Marriott and the Caledonian Hotel.
"All of these places that we have designated have covered city bus stops," Fabel said. "They are convenient to access."
PCMR and Deer Valley Resort both encourage guests to take the bus from their hotels or condos, as a free, environmentally-friendly alternative to driving.
Some resort visitors mistake the Park City Library parking lot for public parking, but that is not the case. According to Linda Tillson, a spokesperson for the library, they inform city authorities if resort guests park in their lots. This could result in a ticket.
Deer Valley’s parking lot has room for 1,200 cars and the resort has kept up with snow removal so the entire lot is currently open. Overflow parking is available on one side of Deer Valley Drive, the road that loops around the parking lot, according to Deer Valley spokesperson Erin Grady.
The Canyons Resort directs their overflow parking to other lots on their property, according to spokesperson Elizabeth Dowd. When the large lot next to the Cabriolet fills up, parking lot attendants will be directing visitors to the Red Hawk lot, located in front of Silverado. Shuttles run from the lot to the Sundial Hotel and the Grand Summit every 10 to 15 minutes.
"We are also looking at some of the other lots that are on our property," Dowd said. "And getting people from those lots to the cabriolet.
The Canyons is also working to remove snow from their lots. As more open space is developed and more visitors come to Park City, parking is becoming tighter.
"Parking in Park City is at a premium and people, you know, they just think they can park anywhere, and unfortunately there’s not enough parking," Belcher said.
Well aware of the parking problems in Park City, planning officials are hoping to alleviate parking problems in town and traffic on S.R. 248 by next winter with the construction of a Park and Ride lot. The Park and Ride, located on S.R. 248, east of U.S. 40, is currently under construction and will offer 650 parking spaces. While the lot is part of a development agreement with the Park City Montage Hotel and will provide parking and transportation for hotel workers, it will also be open to skiers coming into Park City.
"People that are coming up 40 and are going to the ski areas, this may be an option for them" said Kent Cashel, Deputy Public Works Director.
The main goal of the Park and Ride is to alleviate traffic on S.R. 248, and, according to Cashel "delay or eliminate the need to widen that."