Park City says Winter Olympic traffic plans do not fit Sundance
Park City leaders for now do not intend to pursue a traffic plan for the Sundance Film Festival modeled on the one that was drafted for the 2002 Winter Olympics, indicating the blueprints from the Games era were much more ambitious than those that could be created for the festival.
City Hall and Sundance organizers are engaged in discussions about traffic and transportation as concerns about the impacts of the festival, particularly on Old Town, continue to mount over time. The possibility of modeling the plans on those from the Olympics was mentioned in the spring, as Park City officials and festival organizers were reviewing the Sundance operations.
The Olympic plan involved constructing large temporary satellite parking lots on the outskirts of Park City and securing the use of a large fleet of temporary buses. Olympic spectators were directed to the satellite lots and then shuttled to the venues, a system that kept lots of the Olympic traffic outside the core of Park City. Access passes were required to drive into Old Town during the Olympics as well as the neighborhoods surrounding Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, which were both competition venues.
Main Street under the Olympic plans, meanwhile, was turned into a pedestrian-only celebration zone with corporate setups, concerts, pin trading and other attractions. The Olympic organizers, though, had the vast resources needed for such an operation.
“While staff has looked at the ‘Olympic model’, without the major budget adjustments and satellite parking lots, significant increase in transit fleet and commensurate levels of programming on Main Street, this plan can’t be replicated at the current scale of the Festival,” a City Hall report drafted in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday says.
City Hall staffers, though, want Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council to endorse a series of other measures designed to lessen the traffic impact during Sundance. The changes include turning 4th Street and 5th Street from Park Avenue to Main Street into one-way eastbound roads to stop drivers from turning from Main Street into the Old Town neighborhood, turning Hillside Avenue into a one-way westbound road to reduce traffic and turning Park Avenue between Heber Avenue and Deer Valley Drive into a one-way northbound road, which would eliminate traffic in the direction of Main Street on a key stretch of road. Park City officials also intend to increase the presence of the Park City Police Department at busy intersections.
Old Town residents would be allowed to drive in both directions on Hillside Avenue. Two-way traffic on Park Avenue would be allowed for residents, emergency vehicles, the municipal fleet, private businesses on the impacted stretch of street and Sundance venues.
The City Council discussion about Sundance on Thursday is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m. at the Marsac Building
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Hotel occupancy in the Park City area during Sundance is projected to drop dramatically from a typical year as organizers shift the event online.