Park City makes set change along Main Street, altering one-way road
City Hall made a set change along Main Street as the Sundance Film Festival started, a move designed to better manage traffic toward the middle of the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
A section of 5th Street outside the Main Street post office had been limited to one-way traffic eastbound, the direction toward Swede Alley. The Thursday morning change turned that section of street into a one-way road in the westbound direction, or toward Main Street. It had been one-way eastbound for years.
The one-block stretch of 5th Street outside the post office is a small but strategically important road. It offers one of the routes between Main Street and Swede Alley as well as being the route closest to the middle of Main Street. There are also parking spots for post office patrons along 5th Street.
Alexis Verson, a transportation planner for City Hall, said the change is meant to ease traffic on Main Street. She said southbound drivers on Main Street turning left onto 5th Street needed to wait for northbound traffic to clear before turning left onto 5th Street. The delay could back up traffic behind the turning vehicle, she said.
The change to a one-way westbound road eliminates the possibility of a backup on Main Street itself, she said, adding drivers leaving the parking spots on 5th Street are able to turn right onto Main Street.
She said the change is also a pedestrian-friendly move. Drivers will more easily see pedestrians as they make the turn onto Main Street from 5th Street than they did turning from Main Street, she said.
The parking spots on 5th Street will be repainted to reflect the change when weather permits.
Verson said City Hall sees the change as permanent, but officials will monitor the results.
The change was made at a moment when Park City is jammed with Sundance crowds. Traffic in the Main Street core is typically especially heavy during the festival. Verson noted the timing of the change.
“Sundance will really test this design,” she said.
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The organizers of the Sundance Film Festival have crafted a plan for 2021 that shortens the event and changes the dates, acknowledging the likelihood the spread of the novel coronavirus will not have been stopped by January.