Park City receives formal request to pedestrianize Main Street once weekly
The organization that represents the interests of businesses in the Main Street core on Tuesday formally outlined a request to close the shopping, dining and entertainment strip to traffic on Sundays in the summer and early fall.
It would be a dramatic change to the operations of Main Street at a time when the shops, restaurants and nightclubs are attempting to attract customers amid the worries about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The request by the Historic Park City Alliance had been expected after the membership in a straw poll desired the street be turned into a pedestrian-only zone. The request involves Sundays starting on June 14 and extending until Sept. 7. The closure would last from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and be split into two stretches — one from Heber Avenue south to the Brew Pub lot and the other from Heber Avenue north to 9th Street. The two stretches account for the commercial section of Main Street. The idea would keep the cross streets of 9th Street and Heber Avenue open to traffic, and Park Avenue would also remain open for traffic.
The blueprints also call for a turnaround in the Brew Pub lot that would force southbound Swede Alley traffic northbound. The turnaround is designed to prevent traffic from reaching the Old Town neighborhood that surrounds Main Street. There are some concerns in Old Town about the Main Street closure pushing traffic onto the residential streets.
The Historic Park City Alliance in a memo to Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council detailing the request also wants the municipal government to assist with efforts to change state alcohol regulations to reflect the concept of dining on the street. Other points in the memo include keeping parking free in the Main Street core until Dec. 17 and developing a transit plan.
Main Street businesses see a pedestrianized street once a week as an enticement during a summer and fall that could be difficult. The weekly Park Silly Sunday Market and the Tour of Utah bicycling race have been canceled, and there are worries about the possibility of an overall sharp drop in sales. Creating a pedestrian zone, the supporters say, could bring people to Main Street in a time of social distancing.
“We have to get this right. And to get it right, we must all be present and united while we attempt to balance the moving health and business concerns,” John Kenworthy, the president of the Historic Park City Alliance, said in the memo.
The 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. timeframe that was requested is extended from an earlier iteration of the proposal, which called for hours from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The extended hours are seen as especially benefiting restaurants and nightclubs.
The mayor and City Council on Thursday mentioned the request by the Historic Park City Alliance but were not scheduled to address the issue at the meeting. The elected officials could hold a special meeting next week to discuss the idea. City Hall staffers would draft a report about the topic covering the municipal government’s analysis prior to a City Council meeting. It appears the state alcohol regulations will be one of the topics the elected officials and staffers will address.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.