Festival welcome regardless of traffic
Without hesitation, Park City is extremely proud to be part of this 10-day tribute to independent filmmaking. The discussions that are about to emanate from local screening rooms, cafes and bus stops, we believe, elevate us all. But it is important for residents and visitors to prepare for the logistical pressures the growing festivals exert.
This year, as part of both the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals, Parkites will be treated to never-before-screened dramas and documentaries about people from every walk of life and from cultures all over the world. Through their eyes, filmmakers will ask audiences to take a new look at taboos, sacred cows, war, bigotry, capitalism and sexism. They will also share new discoveries about entertainment, humor and love.
However, this year, more than ever before, the festivals will load local roads and parking lots to their limits.
If one were to hang a neon marquee over the Park City exit on Interstate 80 this weekend it would read: Global Film Premieres Every Night! Spectacular Skiing! World Renowned Cuisine! No Parking!
Also, if meteorologists are right, the whole scene may be layered with fresh snow great for photos but one more challenge for transportation.
Traffic in and out of Park City, this season, especially during apr s ski hours, has been some of the heaviest in recent memory. Unlike past years, it seems there has been no letup in the nightly bumper-to-bumper march out of town, especially on State Route 224 to Kimball Junction. From Deer Valley to Wal-Mart, skiers, employees, school kids, merchants, construction workers and everyone else must funnel through the same narrow passageways to leave town.
This coming week, it is inevitable that those passageways will be plugged.
It has been a conscious, if not necessarily practical, decision to limit access to and from Park City, The moat concept is meant to ensure that other entities do not encroach on Park City’s valuable brand. The tradeoff, however, is the traffic congestion now congealing on the only two highways out of town, S.R. 248 and S.R. 224.
The next two weeks have the potential to be either magical or a mess. The linchpin will be whether visitors and residents can come and go as they please. If they can’t, they may decide never to return.
Those who regularly commute to town, can help alleviate the coming traffic tidal wave. Park City and Summit County have an excellent public transit system in place. We urge everyone to use it as much as possible in the coming days. We would also discourage anyone who has not already secured specifically permitted parking in Old Town from looking for parking there.
Those who park and ride their way into Park City this week will experience a unique blend of small town ambiance and cutting edge culture. Those who drive will probably spend more time on the road than enjoying either.
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The developer pursuing a major project at the Park City Mountain Resort base area intends to incorporate a paid-parking system as a key measure in the efforts to reduce the amount of traffic the new lodging and commercial spaces would generate.