Park City considers major alteration to controversial drop-and-load program
City Hall is considering a major alteration to the drop-and-load map in the Main Street core, a change that would be designed to streamline the operations of the controversial program.
Officials in coming weeks could consolidate some of the zones. There would be fewer of the zones, but they would be larger under an altered map. The program currently involves nine drop-and-load zones. The alteration calls for a five-zone setup. City Hall says the alteration would keep the full complement of parking spaces — between 50 and 55 — in the drop-and-load zones.
The precise locations of the five zones under consideration have not been finalized. Officials would focus on the 300, 400 and 700 blocks of Main Street, though. The zones on those blocks have been the most heavily used.
City Hall staffers plan to make a formal recommendation to Park City Manager Matt Dias to launch the altered program on March 6, meaning the new map would be in effect during what is expected to be the busy final weeks of the ski season as spring-break crowds arrive. Staffers are also discussing the proposed alteration with Main Street leaders. Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council are expected to be briefed at a meeting on March 5.
Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs and a staffer heavily involved in the drop-and-load program, said the alteration would reduce the staffing needs of the program. It would also allow City Hall to better post signs identifying the spots as drop-and-load zones.
“Easier to sign. Easier to see,” he said.
Park City leaders in late 2019 created the drop-and-load zones in an effort to reduce the amount of congestion on and around Main Street as well as improve the safety of the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. Drivers are required to hold a City Hall-sold permit, costing $200, to use a drop-and-load zone. Transportation firms and lodging properties have appeared to especially use the zones.
The zones quickly turned controversial as City Hall enforcement efforts launched alongside the wider program. There have been numerous Park City Police Department cases involving violations since the drop-and-load zones debuted. In many of the cases, officers warned drivers who did not understand the system. In other cases, though, vehicles have been towed after they were left in a drop-and-load zone.
There was a respite during the Sundance Film Festival, when parking and transportation operations were managed under a different system. The violations restarted at the end of Sundance in early February and have stretched since then.
Police logs show cases continuing as vehicles were repeatedly left in drop-and-load zones without anybody inside. In other cases in the Main Street core, drivers were seen picking people up in the middle of the street or double parking.
The drop-and-load program is a pilot for the ski season. The mayor and City Council are expected to review the program after the end of the pilot.
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