Park City readies drop-and-load zones, a major Main Street parking change
City Hall this week plans to debut a series of drop-and-load zones in the Main Street core, a significant change in the parking operations that will set aside certain spots in prime locations for vehicles holding the necessary permit.
The pilot program is in place for the ski season. The permits will allow holders such as taxis, shuttles and ridesharing vehicles access to the well-placed spots to drop people off and pick them up.
The program is designed to reduce congestion in the Main Street core and improve safety. But it is also seen as something that benefits traditional taxi and shuttle companies since they are likely better positioned than rideshare drivers to absorb the $200 annual price of the permits.
The program is anticipated to launch on Thursday, less than a week before Christmas and what is normally one of the busiest stretches of the year between the holiday and New Year’s.
The locations of the drop-and-load zones are:
• outside Grappa restaurant
• outside the Wasatch Brew Pub
• outside 350 Main and the Spur Bar & Grill
• outside the Chimayo restaurant
• outside the Main Street post office and Flanagan’s on Main
• outside the Park City Museum and Tupelo Park City restaurant
• at the location of a walkway between Main Street and Swede Alley marked by a bronze sculpture of a bear
• outside Courchevel Bistro
• on the east side of the 700 block of Main Street
The permits will be required from 5 p.m. until midnight. The spaces are available for 15-minute parking before 5 p.m. without the need for a permit. Each location holds two or three vehicles at once.
Staging will be allowed for vehicles holding a permit outside 350 Main and the Spur Bar & Grill and outside the Main Street post office and Flanagan’s on Main after 10 p.m. The permit holders will also be allowed to stage in a regular Main Street spot after 10 p.m. without needing to pay for parking.
City Hall will also create a series of drop-and-load zones that do not require a permit. They are on Swede Alley in Bob Wells Plaza, at the 9th Street turnaround on lower Main Street, in the Brew Pub lot and on Swede Alley outside the KPCW radio studio.
The Park City Police Department, parking staffers, engineering representatives and other municipal workers will monitor the drop-and-load zones over the weekend.
“We think we have the ability to manage the parking,” said Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs and was heavily involved in the discussions about the drop-and-load zones.
Weidenhamer said he anticipates confusion as the system debuts and said City Hall will focus on education rather than strict enforcement at the outset. He said enforcement is expected to be increased midwinter, by Presidents Day weekend.
The program is expected to cost City Hall $250,000 for the four-month pilot, including the price of signs, the enforcement and work on a Swede Alley curb that is necessary as part of the program. The Police Department and parking enforcers will be heavily involved in administering the program, accounting for some of the cost.
Weidenhamer acknowledged on Monday City Hall has received criticism based on the $200 cost of the permits, particularly since the program is a pilot at this point.
The municipal government has posted a question-and-answer forum on the City Hall website. Some of the answers posted by City Hall include:
• “This permit program is intended for ground transportation vehicles and does not apply to personal vehicles. You are still free to drop (off) a friend on Main Street, and do not need to purchase a permit. Just make sure you pull curbside (and not in a designated drop and load zone) to drop off, as double parking in the street is still a moving violation and could result in a ticket,” in response to an inquiry about dropping off friends.
• “We are asking permit holders to use common courtesy with the drop and load zones. While technically they are for active drop off and pick up only, if the demand is low and others are not waiting to use the zones, Parking Enforcement will let you stay for a short period of time. Staff understand the human element is harder to control, and will exercise best judgement on a case by case basis,” in response to a question about transportation network companies waiting for passengers to arrive.
• “Rideshare vehicles are asked to opt into the drop and load permit program as they are considered ground transportation vehicles offering a service in Park City. Parking tickets can be issued for dropping and loading in undesignated areas on Main Street, and moving violations can be written by Police for double parking. If you don’t want to opt into the premium drop and load permit for Main Street, there are free areas on Swede Alley that can be used instead. Thank you,” in response to a question about whether rideshare drivers are allowed to drop off or pick up passengers elsewhere on Main Street.
More information is available on the City Hall website: engageparkcity.org/old-town-drop-load-zones-winter-2019-2020-update.
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