Park City vandals continue to target paid parking system
Parking gate arms at the China Bridge garage continued to be targeted by vandals or people who did not want to pay in the past week as unhappiness with Park City’s revamped paid-parking system continued.
The Park City Police Department since Dec. 30 reported additional cases after earlier ones just after the debut of the revamped system.
Some of the recent reports, as outlined in online Police Department postings, included:
• on Jan. 1, a gate on the north side of the garage was damaged intentionally sometime between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
• on Dec. 31, damage was reported to an arm of a parking gate on the south side of the garage. The police said a witness watched a vehicle drive through the arm. The Police Department in the overnight hours logged two additional cases involving damaged parking gates.
• on Dec. 31, a man in a vehicle reportedly “crashed through” a gate on the north side of the garage at 1:32 a.m. Officers found the vehicle and arrested the man on preliminary charges of criminal mischief, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a weapons charge and other unspecified counts, the police said. An unrelated case of damage involving parking gate arms at China Bridge was also logged. Earlier that day, at 5:15 a.m., an officer saw the arm of a gate was damaged after someone forced it up.
The reports followed approximately one week after an earlier set of cases left three parking gate arms damaged. In one of the earlier cases, a suspect told the police he did not have money to pay for parking. The Police Department has estimated the damage at $1,000 per gate arm.
“Don’t know the motivation,” said Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, in reference to the vandalism, adding, “We did not expect to see this much, no.”
The Police Department has increased its monitoring of the paid parking equipment in response to the damage. On one overnight shift, officers checked the gate arms several times and found one had been damaged between the police checks, the department said in an online posting.
Investigators have been photographing the damage to document the vandalism.
The revamped paid-parking system debuted in mid-December amid concerns from Main Street workers, some businesses and others. The Main Street workers who oppose the system generally are disappointed they must pay to park if they want leave their vehicle on Swede Alley while some businesses worry about the overall impact of the system.
Parking on Swede Alley and in China Bridge had been free for years. Park City leaders opted to expand paid parking from Main Street to Swede Alley and China Bridge in an effort to ensure there was parking available for customers, arguing employee vehicles occupied an outsized number of spaces.
Free parking remains on the fringes of the Main Street core and City Hall offers a park-and-ride lot on Homestake Drive with a shuttle service between the lot and the Main Street core.
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