Park City pedestrian days on Main Street, a pandemic-era program, eliminated |

Park City pedestrian days on Main Street, a pandemic-era program, eliminated

Car Free Sundays will not return in 2023 amid split opinions from businesses

A Main Street pedestrian day in 2020, during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, drew just scattered attendance. There were larger crowds in following years, but the program will not return in 2023.
Park Record file photo by Jay Hamburger

The Main Street pedestrian days on Sundays will not return this year, a loss of one of the popular pandemic-era programs in Park City that was initially designed to create a place where people worried about the spread of the sickness could spend time outside.

City Hall provided limited information about the end of the pedestrian days in a report that was drafted in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday. The report centers on the plans to hold the Park Silly Sunday Market this year and briefly refers to the pedestrian days, known as Car Free Sundays.

The report says the pedestrian days “will not occur in 2023” as City Hall staffers explain the impact of the loss on road closures and parking. The report, though, does not provide details about the end of the pedestrian days.

The Park Silly Sunday Market, which is held on lower Main Street, will continue with its regular auto-free zone. The Silly Market, though, will no longer operate space on 5th Street between Main Street and Swede Alley, and the farmers market that once was there will be relocated to the primary Silly Market area on lower Main Street.

The Car Free Sundays program debuted in the summer of 2020, shortly after the coronavirus-forced shutdowns that spring. The pedestrian days, involving the closure of Main Street to traffic, were meant to attract people amid the spread of the coronavirus by providing space for social distancing and an outside setting for people to gather.

They appeared to draw solid crowds, but many Main Street businesses over the three years of the Car Free Sundays began to become concerned about the impact on sales as vehicular access was eliminated on the days.

The worries seemed to intensify in the last 12 months. The membership of the Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses in the Main Street core, overwhelmingly supported the 2022 season of the pedestrian days as that summer approached. By October of 2022, though, the membership was fractured. Not supporting the return, under any circumstances, of Car Free Sundays was the most popular answer to a Historic Park City Alliance survey question that month about the pedestrian days.

Full closures of Main Street to cars are rare and usually are linked to events like holiday parades, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and, previously, the Tour of Utah bicycling race. Those sorts of events can draw tens of thousands of people to Main Street.

The Car Free Sundays, coupled with the traditional Silly Market pedestrian zone on lower Main Street, effectively kept traffic off the length of Main Street for much of the day.

One of the results of the end of the pedestrian days will be the return of the Main Street trolley on Sundays, the report says. Certain road closures in the vicinity of Main Street that were implemented on Car Free Sundays will not be required, it says.

The City Council meeting is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. at the Marsac Building. A hearing is scheduled regarding the plans for the Silly Market’s 2023 season. It is not clear whether the decision regarding the elimination of the Car Free Sundays program will be addressed at the meeting.

More information about the meeting on Thursday is available on the municipal website, The direct link to the meeting agenda is:


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