Can’t find a spot on Main Street? park yourself at an open house
City Hall wants people to park themselves at an open house on Wednesday.
Park City officials have scheduled an event to address parking in the Main Street core, something that has for years perplexed government leaders, businesspeople, rank and-file workers and visitors.
The open house is planned as the municipal government develops ideas for parking on Main Street and places in the commercial core just off the street. There is public parking along Main Street itself as well as in the China Bridge garage, Swede Alley and the flagpole lot. There are also public parking spaces on the fringes, such as in the Sandridge lots off Marsac Avenue. Parking is regulated through a paid system and time limits. Parking on neighborhood streets close to Main Street is set aside for residents who hold the proper permit.
But even as City Hall has built parking over the years, such as an expansion of China Bridge, many people encounter difficulties finding a spot on or close to Main Street during busy periods and, more recently, during other times of the year as well.
Officials scheduled the open house as City Hall prepares to develop a plan for parking. A flier advertising the event indicates officials want "to make it easier and more convenient to park downtown." An eventual plan would attempt to "increase foot traffic, reduce traffic congestion, better manage high demand from special events, and improve enforcement, operations, and management," according to the flier.
Some of the topics staffers anticipate addressing during the open house include concerns about parking, a vision for parking, potential improvements and possible policies. The flier carries a headline of "Parking downtown got you down?"
City Hall staffers and a consultant are expected to attend the event. The open house is slated for Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Treasure Mountain Inn on Main Street.
The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on Main Street or on nearby streets, is closely following the discussions. Main Street businesses have long been wary when City Hall turns its attention to parking issues. There was intense debate in the late 1990s as a paid-parking system was adopted.
Since then, Main Street businesses have been involved in an array of discussions about parking, such as the expansion of the China Bridge garage and changes to the operations of paid parking. The paid-parking system currently involves a $1.50-per-hour charge on Main Street with a three-hour limit.
Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said there is enough parking during the daytime on weekdays, but nights and weekends are problematic. Parking has traditionally been most difficult during the ski season. Butz said, though, it has become tougher to find a spot during the summer as well.
Butz outlined three possibilities to address parking issues. She said locations could be designated for employee parking. She did not provide details but said places could be close to Main Street or outside the downtown core. Another possibility involves expanding paid parking to Swede Alley and the China Bridge garage, she said. The paid parking system once included those locations. Butz also said messages could target Park City visitors suggesting they take buses or shuttles to Main Street instead of driving themselves.
She acknowledged any of the major changes would not be adopted for the upcoming ski season. Any major shifts in policies or programs could be made as early as the summer of 2016, she said.
More information about the open house is available on the City Hall website, http://www.parkcity.org . Select the ‘Parking Strategic Plan — Community Open House’ under ‘Latest News’ on the front page of the site.
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.