Park City drop-and-load program ‘going great’ even as tows, problems continue
Park City in the last week continued to experience parking problems as large crowds descended on the community for the week of New Year’s amid what appears to be ongoing confusion in the Main Street core regarding City Hall’s drop-and-load parking program.
Leaders in late 2019 created the drop-and-load zones in an effort to reduce the amount of congestion on and around Main Street and improve the safety of the shopping, dining and entertainment district.
But the Park City Police Department in the weeks since the debut of the drop-and-load zones has reported numerous problems, especially involving drivers stopping in one of the zones without the proper permit. Department logs showed the issues were rampant around New Year’s, traditionally one of the busiest tourism stretches of the year. The elected officials requested a high level of enforcement of the drop-and-load zones, and the police logs reflect that request.
The Police Department, which has an officer assigned to enforcement of the drop-and-load zones, at some points in the last week reported cases in quick succession as drivers without the proper permit stopped in one of the zones. There was also a series of cases involving double parking, the logs showed.
Still, though, City Hall sees the program as achieving the goals. The manager of City Hall’s economic development programs, Jonathan Weidenhamer, said the program was still new as the holiday crowds arrived. Weidenhamer, who was heavily involved in the discussions about the drop-and-load zones, said he is not observing major congestion on Main Street and has not received a wave of complaints.
“We’re really pleased with how it’s going,” he said, adding, “It’s going great.”
Weidenhamer said a lodging-property homeowners association reported a reduction in time for a round trip drive to Main Street by more than a minute since the debut of the drop-and-load zones. Other lodging firms have indicated the program has been a success, he said.
There are a series of drop-and-load zones that require a permit after 5 p.m. The vehicles using a drop-and-load zone must be actively dropping people off or picking them up. The restriction is in place after 5 p.m. while prior to that time the zones are available to anyone for 15-minute parking. They are strategically located in high-traffic spots on Main Street, many of them close to popular restaurants.
The Police Department logs indicate the agency fielded complaints throughout the holidays and in a variety of locations. In many of the cases the police identified the issue as relating to the drop-and-load zones while in other instances a generic parking problem or traffic stop was logged. It is believed many of the generic cases dealt in some way with the drop-and-load zones. The police are typically issuing warnings rather than tickets, but there has also been a series of tows for violating the drop-and-load zone rules.
There were concentrations of cases last week in addition to single ones. On Jan. 1, as an example, five cases were reported in less than an hour starting at 5:31 p.m. The next day there were seven traffic stops on the 300 block of Main Street and the 400 block of the street over a period of 41 minutes.
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Park City is considering reinstating a controversial program along Main Street involving permit-only drop-and-load zones, something that debuted early last winter before it was suspended in March.