As temps got cold, Park City idling enforcement got hot
Park City’s enforcement of a vehicle-idling prohibition heated up as the temperatures dropped during the winter.
The Park City Police Department detailed the idling numbers and efforts to combat the practice in a report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council as part of a wider discussion about the topic.
The report covers numbers between September and March. There were three idling cases logged in September, none in October and just one in November. But the numbers increased dramatically starting with the 10 cases in December. There were 15 cases in January, 22 in February and 30 logged in March through March 24.
Park City enacted an idling prohibition in 2010 that outlaws leaving a vehicle engine running when it is parked. The law now limits idling to one minute and is in effect on public and private property. There are exemptions to the law to protect the safety of people and animals inside a vehicle.
The idling prohibition is part of Park City’s wide-ranging environmental efforts, which include a key goal of reducing emissions.
Phil Kirk, the police captain who oversees the patrol division and one of the report’s authors, said officers are "much more proactive" in the enforcement of the idling prohibition. He said idling cases are primarily found in the Main Street core as someone runs into a store for a cup of coffee or heads into the post office. He said the idling cases included delivery vehicles, taxis and shuttles.
A driver must receive three idling warnings before a ticket can be issued. Kirk said there have been several offenders who received two warnings.
"PCPD has been patrolling areas with known idling issues and providing education and issuing warnings at a rate much higher than ever before," the report to the elected officials said.
It also indicated parking-enforcement officers are assisting with the efforts, talking to people who violate the prohibition and providing educational materials.
Park City, meanwhile, created a flier outlining the law against idling and posted signs with information about the prohibition. Turning an engine off protects the air, is good for public health and is cost effective, the flier says.
"Vehicle idling pollutes the air. Your engine emits particulate matter that worsens air quality and produces haze, smog, and acid rain along with carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas," the flier says.
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The people at the second part of the Park City Future Summit were nearly unanimous in indicating they have some level of concern.