Park City takes steps to fight traffic on tiny Old Town street, nearby roads
Park City officials recently put new striping on a tiny Old Town street and placed large planters at one end of the road, an effort to address long-running concerns about traffic at the southern stretch of Main Street.
The striping and the planters appeared in early July at the location where Main Street and Hillside Avenue converge. The spot has long been a challenge for City Hall and people who live on roads like Main Street, Daly Avenue, Hillside Avenue and King Road as the residential traffic competes with commercial vehicles headed to and from Main Street.
City Hall over the years has addressed traffic in the southern section of Old Town with varying degrees of success, but it appears officials see current opportunities amid the economic uncertainty caused by the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.
The improvements at the Main Street-Hillside Avenue convergence, the location of the Main Street trolley turnaround, are designed to “discourage” larger vehicles and commercial vehicles as well as improve the safety for pedestrians, a City Hall report drafted in anticipation of a recent Park City Council meeting says. The improvements also included new turn lanes.
There has been concern for years about traffic on Hillside Avenue, a narrow street where vehicles headed in opposite directions many times have difficulty passing one another based on the width of the road. Hillside Avenue has long been seen as an alternate entry and exit to the southern reaches of Old Town and to the commercial core of Main Street.
People who live on Hillside Avenue, though, have been unhappy with the amount of commercial traffic using the street, including taxis, shuttles, delivery trucks and, in more recent years, ridesharing vehicles. There are just several residences on Hillside Avenue, but the people who live there have been vocal in pressing City Hall for assistance. People on nearby roads have also supported the calls for assistance.
The recent improvements follow earlier efforts on Hillside Avenue like striping a pedestrian route on the street and temporarily installing what is known as a speed table, a traffic-calming measure that functions similarly to a speed bump.
The report to the elected officials, meanwhile, says staffers are considering another possibility that would be designed to address traffic on Hillside Avenue by prohibiting some turns. The staffers outline a concept that would prohibit left turns from northbound Marsac Avenue onto Hillside Avenue. It is believed much of the traffic turning left from northbound Marsac Avenue onto Hillside Avenue is from lodging properties in upper Deer Valley. A prohibition would force that traffic toward the Old Town roundabout for access to Main Street and Swede Alley.
The report says the prohibition remains under discussion with the possibility of a decision late in July. Officials also plan to install a stop sign that flashes at the Marsac Avenue-Hillside Avenue intersection by late in July.
“Council and Staff recognize unprecedented times create a unique environment to experiment with lower traffic volumes, fewer visitors, less pressure on constrained residential and commercial streets, as well as the need to test more aggressive right of way mobility options,” the City Hall report says.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.