Park City drafts script to avoid the Sundance traffic jams (no special effects needed)
Avoiding the traffic jams in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival is as likely as being discovered on Main Street as the next Hollywood star.
But Park City has drafted a script to assist drivers as they attempt to accomplish just that. And no special effects are needed.
The Sundance traffic is notorious as the worst of the year in Park City, topping even the busy week between Christmas and New Year’s. Large crowds of film lovers arrive on Park City roads, competing for lanes with ridesharing vehicles, taxis, shuttles and official Sundance vehicles. Add the commuter traffic, skiers driving to or from the mountain resorts and students headed to school and the roads in Park City can quickly become clogged.
The worst traffic is expected from Thursday, which is opening day for Sundance, until Sunday. The first four days of the festival are usually the most rollicking, and the traffic is normally especially bad those days. Backups are common on the entryways, in Old Town and on the streets headed to and from the Main Street core.
Park City officials for years have made suggestions aimed at helping drivers navigate around the busiest times. Some of the suggestions were outlined in the Park City Community Guide published in anticipation of last year’s Sundance. The suggestions remain relevant for this year’s event as well. They include:
• altering schedules to “avoid commuting during peak time periods.”
• planning ahead and factoring in “additional time to get from place to place.”
• walking, carpooling or riding the bus
The guide also notes that winter weather “can intensify traffic congestion.”
The Community Guide published in 2019 also outlined some of the times when backups could occur as well as the streets that could become problematic. It said the traffic worsens during the period from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., as students head to classes. The backups are oftentimes especially bad on Kearns Boulevard at that time since the Park City School District campus is along the road and many commuters use the road. The road also is used to access the Eccles Center, which is one of Sundance’s marquee venues.
The afternoon rush hour, meanwhile, runs approximately from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., the Community Guide outlined. Skiers and snowboarders compete with commuters during the late afternoon and evening. The Community Guide said some of the roads that are congested in the afternoon are Lowell Avenue, Empire Avenue, Bonanza Drive and lower Deer Valley Drive. The two entryways — S.R. 224 and S.R. 248 — also back up during the rush hours.
Park City and Sundance officials have long attempted to reduce the traffic during the festival, with mixed results. The City Hall bus system runs at a peak schedule and is complemented by a festival shuttle that stops at Sundance venues, including the screening rooms. The buses are full at many points, but the crowds in Park City are big enough that the traffic jams persist.
City Hall on the municipal website has published a variety of information about transportation-related topics during Sundance. Some of the information is available on a map showing the impacts on transportation. The map is available at: https://parkcity.org/Home/Components/News/News/36102/23?backlist=%2f. Other information is available in the Community Guide for 2020. It is available at: https://www.parkcity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=65185.
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The Park City Museum recounts a 1914 field trip from Salt Lake City to the mines of Park City.