Park City readies Sundance drop-and-load strategy, including suspending newly created zones
Park City during the Sundance Film Festival plans to reconfigure the drop-and-load parking map that sets aside prime spots in the Main Street core for drivers holding permits, something that has been expected since the controversial program was introduced and an alteration that is needed as part of the wider operations plan for the festival.
The drop-and-load zones that require a permit will be temporarily suspended starting on Jan. 23, the opening day of Sundance. They will not return until Feb. 2, which is the final day of the festival.
City Hall for some time during Sundance effectively turns the entire stretch of Main Street into a drop-and-load zone as part of the overall operations plan. The traffic on Main Street and on nearby streets during Sundance is typically some of the worst of the year. Officials over time have crafted traffic, parking and transportation plans for Sundance designed to reduce the impact of the crush of vehicles. One of the key points in the plans is a prohibition of parking on Main Street itself.
Drivers will be allowed to briefly pull to the curb on Main Street during Sundance to drop people off or pick them up, regardless of whether they hold the City Hall-issued permit, known as a DLS permit, normally required. There will not be designated drop-and-load zones requiring a permit like the ones that were recently introduced.
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There will be designated drop-and-load zones during Sundance in the Brew Pub parking lot toward the southern end of Main Street and in the lot on the south side of the Marsac Building. A permit is not required to use those zones. The zone in the Brew Pub lot will be in effect from Jan. 23 until Feb. 1 while the one on the south side of the Marsac Building will be in effect Jan. 23 until Jan. 26, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.
City Hall previously during Sundance set aside drop-and-load areas available to people who held so-called for-hire licenses issued by the municipal government. Those had been at the Brew Pub lot, the lot on the south side of the Marsac Building and on lower Main Street.
The drop-and-load zones during Sundance are part of an overall plan that also includes heavy restrictions on parking in the Main Street core, increased parking prices, satellite parking, expanded transit and one-way restrictions on certain roads.
Sundance is normally the busiest stretch of the year in Park City, particularly the opening days, drawing crowds of film-goers, celebrity gawkers and people who want to otherwise be part of the scene. Park City and Sundance officials each year make modifications to the overall logistics in an effort to address trends in traffic, parking and other organizational aspects of the event.
Park City created the permit-only drop-and-load zones just before the holidays. Leaders see the zones as a way to reduce congestion in the Main Street core and improve safety. The permits required to use a drop-and-load zone are priced at $200. Taxis, shuttles and lodging firms have appeared to be the heaviest users of the zones, but the permits are available to anyone.
There have been numerous violations as drivers lacking the required permit pull into a drop-and-load zone. The Park City Police Department has heavily enforced the zones, issuing numerous warnings to drivers who stop in a drop-and-load zone without the required permit. A driver with Uber at a recent Park City Council meeting sharply criticized the drop-and-load zones, indicating to the elected officials he has been told the zones are inconvenient and bothersome.
There is normally a sharp increase in the number of taxis, shuttles and ridesharing vehicles operating in Park City during Sundance as drivers arrive with the hopes of a lucrative week.
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Park City has hired two deputy city managers, tapping a former high-ranking Sundance Film Festival official for one of the posts and a onetime top staffer in the Moab municipal government for the other.