Park City adds another scene to Sundance on Thursday
Officials plan more discussions about traffic, other impacts
March 14, 2017
Park City officials on Thursday are expected to continue to discuss the impacts of the Sundance Film Festival, the second consecutive week leaders will address the largest event on the city's busy calendar of festivals, sporting competitions and other gatherings.
City Hall, festival organizers and a diverse set of Parkites are engaged in talks about measures that could be taken to lessen the impact of Sundance on the community. Sundance for years has attracted large crowds and created bad traffic, but the concerns seemed more pronounced at the end of the 2017 edition than after other festivals.
Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council last week held an initial discussion and will return to the topics at a meeting on Thursday. The meeting is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building. The discussion about Sundance is slated to begin at 5 p.m. A hearing is not planned, but the mayor typically allows public input anyway.
The elected officials on Thursday could delve further into an idea to restrict traffic in Old Town during Sundance through an access-pass system that could be similar in nature to the one that has been used for years during the summertime Park City Kimball Arts Festival. An access-pass system would be one of the most noteworthy changes to City Hall's operations during Sundance in years. The elected officials, it appears, will stretch the discussions into the spring and early summer.
During the meeting last week, Cindy Matsumoto, a member of the City Council, said it is time to "shut down" neighborhoods to traffic during Sundance. She did not provide details but indicated there is impact on neighborhoods and a parking plan is also needed for residential areas.
The City Council also heard concerns from several businesses and people who live in Park City. Mellie Owen, who lives in Old Town, described concerns about safety as she talked about traffic. She said she is "very nervous" about children who live in Old Town, telling the elected officials drivers for ride-sharing companies use residential streets like Norfolk Avenue instead of Park Avenue.
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"I'm very nervous," Owen said.
Others spoke to the elected officials about the Festival Village, a Sundance sponsor setup that occupied lower Main Street. The Festival Village required a traffic closure along lower Main Street. Michael Barille, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance business group, said sales were down on lower Main Street. The sponsor setup was a "learning experience," he said, adding that more outreach is needed as plans are crafted for future festivals.
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