Park City says Sundance traffic, parking blueprints successful despite slew of complaints
Traffic is always a potential scene-stealer during the Sundance Film Festival.
And parked cars, particularly in Old Town, are oftentimes one of the event’s antagonists.
The first days of Sundance in 2020 tested Park City’s overall traffic, transportation and parking plans, but it will likely not be clear until well afterward whether significant operational alterations this year were successful.
The opening weekend of Sundance was jammed, as is usually the case, and there were numerous traffic backups and parking problems. The Park City Police Department received a slew of complaints just before the first day of Sundance and then through the opening weekend. The police especially were informed of clusters of parking problems.
The parking complaints mounted through Sunday, totaling more than 200 last week. Public police logs did not provide details, but some of them appeared to occur as the setup for Sundance was underway. Other cases were reported during the festival itself.
Many of the complaints were generated in Old Town, the location of much of the Sundance hubbub. There were issues on streets like Main Street, Park Avenue and Woodside Avenue as well as intersections like Park Avenue and Heber Avenue, 5th Street and Swede Alley, and Heber Avenue and Swede Alley.
The public police logs did not indicate how many of the cases resulted in tickets rather than warnings. It seems likely a large bloc of the cases were minor issues such as a driver stopping along Main Street, where parking has been prohibited. Main Street instead has essentially been turned into a drop-and-load zone where drivers cannot leave their vehicles.
“We think the plan has been successful,” said Jenny Diersen, the economic development program manager for City Hall and one of the municipal staffers heavily involved in crafting the traffic and parking blueprints.
She said the goal of the overall plan was to reduce traffic in the neighborhood surrounding Main Street and increase the number of people riding buses. Diersen said City Hall continues to collect data.
Officials also instituted several temporary one-way roads in the Main Street core, one of the key alterations to the plans in 2020. Diersen said the one-way roads have worked “very well.”
“People have been following the one-way roads,” she said.
Diersen recognized the work of the Police Department, the traffic flaggers, bus drivers and emergency responders as she described the successes. She also acknowledged the patience of the Park City workforce.
There were violations reported to the Police Department despite what officials see as a success. The police on Jan. 25 at a little bit before noon were told of a driver headed the wrong way on Hillside Avenue, which is one of the streets that was turned into a one-way route for Sundance. The police were told there was a sign at the top of the street at the time but not at the bottom as department logs indicated the situation caused a traffic hazard. At just before 11 p.m. on Jan. 23, meanwhile, a hotel shuttle reportedly drove by the security toward the southern end of Main Street, where a residential-only sign was posted. The shuttle was pulled over, the police said.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.