Park City considers setting aside prime Main Street parking spots for taxis, shuttles

Park Record file photo.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

City Hall is considering setting aside a series of locations along Main Street for taxis and shuttles to drop off and pick up passengers, prime spots that would only be available at certain times to vehicles with a permit that would be issued by the municipal government.

Five of the locations were outlined during a Monday event at the Marsac Building led by City Hall staffers. The gathering was designed to provide information about the possibility of officials adopting restrictions that, according to City Hall, would be meant to reduce congestion and increase pedestrian safety along the shopping, dining and entertainment strip. The other locations were identified as a result of the event on Monday.

The locations under consideration are:

• outside the Chimayo restaurant
• outside the Main Street post office, where vehicles holding a permit would also be allowed to stage as they wait for passengers
• outside the Wasatch Brew Pub
• outside the 350 Main restaurant, where staging would also be allowed
• outside the Flanagan’s on Main restaurant
• at the location of the walkway between Main Street and Swede Alley known for a bronze sculpture of a bear
• outside the Park City Museum
• Main Street in the vicinity of the 7th Street intersection

The locations would be restricted after 5 p.m. during the ski season, when business for taxis and shuttles usually picks up as people head to Main Street for après ski, dinner and then shopping and entertainment. The spots would be available to any vehicle for 15 minutes of free parking before 5 p.m. during the ski season.

Officials are considering pricing permits for the locations at between $150 and $175 annually, but the figures have not been finalized. The monies generated from the permits would help offset revenues that would be lost by the removal of paid parking at the locations as well cover some of the cost of enforcement. City Hall said the costs would total $106,000 annually between the foregone paid parking revenues and the enforcement if the spots are set aside for the taxis and shuttles.

The restrictions appear likely to boost the competitiveness of traditional taxi and shuttle companies as they attempt to protect their business against ridesharing firms. There have been long-running talks between City Hall and the transportation industry covering a range of issues like steps the municipal government can take to assist the traditional firms against ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft as well as neighborhood and City Hall concerns about increased traffic from the various sorts of transportation vehicles, including lodging shuttles.

The municipal government has taken steps like providing well-situated parking for taxi and shuttle vehicles holding City Hall permits outside the post office. The conversations, though, have continued as the sides attempt to craft additional measures.

The event on Monday drew several dozen people, many appearing to work in the transportation industry. Park City Councilors Nann Worel and Steve Joyce were in attendance. City Hall staffers representing business licensing, parking services and law enforcement were also in the room.

Joyce told the crowd the issues along Main Street cannot continue. His comments in some ways likely previewed the talks that are upcoming with Mayor Andy Beerman and the full City Council. The elected officials will shortly consider the matter with the possibility of changes occurring prior to the busiest stretch of the ski season.

“Main Street’s a catastrophe,” Joyce said as he described crowded nights along the shopping, dining and entertainment strip, adding, “It’s a mess. It’s got to change.”

The crowd at many points offered brief, rapid-fire comments as City Hall staffers listened. The comments from the crowd included a question about locating a drop-off and pick-up zone toward the northern end of Main Street, a statement that elderly passengers need to be dropped off closer to their destination and an assertion that the locations are needed on the east and west sides of Main Street. The crowd also mentioned the possibility of putting zones elsewhere, such as outside certain restaurants.

There was only scattered talk, though, about the impact of the drop-off and pick-up zones on Main Street merchants. There could eventually be resistance on the street as business owners worry about the loss of parking spots that would otherwise be available to customers.

The City Council is tentatively scheduled to discuss the locations at a meeting on Nov. 7, followed by the possibility of a vote on the matter two weeks later. If the elected officials create the zones, they could be set aside on Dec. 15 with a learning period of soft enforcement of the restrictions through midwinter.

Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect the intent of the parking restrictions as being reducing congestion on Main Street and increasing pedestrian safety.


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