Park City plans measures to guard against Main Street car attack
Park City shortly intends to acquire steel posts known as bollards to be used as security measures at intersections along lower Main Street, a step meant to protect pedestrians from an assailant using a vehicle as a weapon or from an unintentionally wayward vehicle.
The bollards will be part of City Hall’s overall security efforts, which have expanded significantly in recent years as leaders recognize the threats to an internationally known tourism destination like Park City.
The plans to use bollards on Main Street have not been widely publicized. Officials typically do not provide detailed information about security measures. City Hall’s intentions, though, were publicized with the posting of a notice seeking bids for the project. The bids are due May 7 and will be opened and read out loud publicly that afternoon. Firms interested in the contract must attend a meeting on May 1 at 10 a.m. at the Main Street-9th Street intersection.
City Hall had not received a bid by midafternoon on Monday. There had been several inquiries by then, though. An estimated price was not set by early in the week. The purchase will be funded through City Hall’s budget.
Mike McComb, the emergency program manager at City Hall, said the plans call for approximately 49 bollards. They will be placed when needed at four intersections along lower Main Street — Heber Avenue and Main Street, Main Street and 7th Street, Main Street and 9th Street and Main Street and Deer Valley Drive. The bollards will be 3 feet tall. They will be red.
The bollards are removable, meaning they will be placed at the locations at times when lower Main Street is closed for special events and then taken out afterward. Lower Main Street is a popular location for special events, including the Park Silly Sunday Market and concerts. McComb said he wants the bollards ready prior to the start of the busiest stretch of the summer tourism season with the possibility they will be delayed until July.
He said the bollards are meant to “protect open-area events, such as we have.” There is a concern about “unintentional or otherwise vehicle intrusion,” McComb said. The description leaves open the possibility the bollards will be meant to guard against a range of scenarios such as a driver suffering a medical emergency and a person intentionally driving into a crowd of people.
The goal is “to improve the safety and security of pedestrians during these events,” McComb said.
He said the bollards “could, potentially” guard against a scenario like the fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions in Toronto on Monday.
Lower Main Street over the years has become one of City Hall’s preferred locations for special events requiring the street be closed to traffic. Officials say there are fewer impacts to traffic if a Main Street closure is limited to the section north of the Heber Avenue intersection. That allows traffic to continue on strategically located Heber Avenue.
Events on lower Main Street frequently draw crowds well into the thousands. The Silly Market itself counted attendance in 2017 at nearly 180,000 over the course of Sundays in the summer and fall. Security is put in place during the lower Main Street events, but City Hall sees the bollards as an important extra layer of protection.
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Park City Mountain Resort said it plans to open for the ski season as scheduled despite the area experiencing a spell of dry weather and warm daytime temperatures.