Park City pedestrian zone debuts, exuding summertime on Main Street
Brook Freeman, the manager of Park City Mercantile on Main Street, is used to crowds on Sundays in the summer.
The Park Silly Sunday Market usually draws people to the shopping, dining and entertainment strip weekly. Crowds stop into the brick-and-mortar stores as they browse the booths at the Silly Market as well.
On Sunday, the first day of a City Hall program that mostly pedestrianizes Main Street once a week into early September, Park City Mercantile drew a steady line of customers. Business was generally like it would have been had the Silly Market, which canceled the season out of concern of the spread of the novel coronavirus, been open on Sunday.
“So far, it seems pretty similar to what we’d expect from a normal Silly Market,” Freeman said, adding, “People are out and looking and in our store, so that’s better than the alternative.”
Park City Mercantile reopened in early June after a shutdown that stretched since mid-March, when business on Main Street essentially halted as the sickness spread. Freeman said the foot traffic through the store on Sunday increased as compared to the previous Sunday.
She supports the Sunday pedestrian days, which are designed to attract people to Main Street during a summer and fall that are expected to be challenging with the cancellation of the Silly Market and other events as well as continuing concerns about the coronavirus. The pedestrianized Main Street allows for social distancing and creates an attractive environment, the supporters say.
The weekend crowds have appeared to grow in recent weeks, starting with the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and the number of people seen on Main Street on Sunday seemed to be significantly higher than recent Sundays. The stretches of Main Street north and south of Heber Avenue were turned into pedestrian zones with traffic allowed on two cross streets. The Park City Police Department secured the two pedestrian zones.
There was a cello player along the pedestrianized Main Street providing a soundtrack to people in earshot while an artist created a work on the crosswalk outside Miner’s Plaza. Some of the restaurants put tables on the blacktop and stores sold their wares on the sidewalk or street. The atmosphere seemed to exude summertime in Park City as people slowly moved up and down the street. There appeared to be solid crowds at the restaurants at midday on Sunday. Several businesses reported sales that were strong, and there was an air of excitement with crowds returning to Main Street.
There was also a regular flow of people inside Habit Boutique on Sunday. It was the first day open since the closure in March. The owner, Boris London, said he expected Sunday would be “mellow,” but sales were good. He said people from outside of Utah, from places like California and Illinois, stopped into the boutique on Sunday. The pedestrian days on Sundays will help Habit Boutique “survive” summer, he said.
“It’s been like a regular day, regular Sunday, without even Silly Market,” London said.
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Park City on Tuesday hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs, but the event took on greater meaning with the gathering becoming among the largest City Hall-organized events held in person in the more than a year.