Find another parking spot, gas guzzlers
June 8, 2012
People driving environmentally friendly vehicles or carpooling to the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center are still allowed to park in some of the prime spots outside the Park Meadows workout facility.
Eight spots close to the front door are posted with signs restricting the parking stalls to vehicles that meet certain environmental criteria. Another eight have signs designating them for carpools.
The signs were posted in late December, when the redone facility debuted, but they did not receive much publicity until the spring. The City Council received a round of criticism about the spots, according to a late-May City Hall report, and revisited the topic at a recent meeting.
The City Council endorsed the restrictions in the parking lot at the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. The elected officials did not spend substantial time discussing the spots. The City Council requested staffers research the possibilities of posting similar signs at other municipal facilities, but they did not discuss in detail other buildings or locations.
City Hall compiled a list of 1,114 vehicles that are eligible to park in the spots that are set aside at the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. They must get at least 30 miles per gallon of gas or be listed as a low-emission vehicle through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, sometimes referred to as a LEED listing. Hybrid vehicles or those that run on electricity or natural gas are also eligible.
Ken Fisher, who manages recreation programs for City Hall and oversees the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, said in an interview he had not received comments about the restrictions in the parking lot.
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He said staffers put courtesy cards on vehicles parked in the spots that are not eligible. Fisher said perhaps 12 of the courtesy cards are issued each week, but the numbers have dropped recently. In the late-May report, staffers indicated enforcing the carpool spots "is more challenging" than it is for the spots posted for environmentally friendly vehicles. It said an honor system is used by the staffers at the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center.
Tyler Poulson, who manages City Hall’s environmental programs and was involved in the discussions about posting the signs, said staffers will consider whether signs should be posted at other municipal buildings, as the elected officials requested.
Poulson said the Marsac Building and the Park City Library and Education Center are two of the facilities that will be explored. He did not outline a detailed timeline, but he said signs could be posted elsewhere by the fall if it is determined to put them up.
The signs are a part of City Hall’s wide-ranging environmental program, something that has been a hallmark of the administration of Mayor Dana Williams. Leaders see a warming planet as someday threatening Park City’s ski industry and the wider local economy.
Other steps the municipal government has taken include stocking the City Hall fleet with cleaner-burning vehicles, undertaking environmental upgrades inside buildings and installing solar panels.