Park City applies brakes to idea of Segway tours in Old Town
December 16, 2014
Park City leaders applied the brakes to a man’s idea to offer tours of Old Town using Segway vehicles.
A majority of the Park City Council at a recent meeting indicated they did not want to further consider a change to City Hall rules that would have allowed the man to pursue what is known as the Park City Segway Historical Tour.
Dennis Levine wanted a business license from City Hall. The municipal code, though, does not allow that sort of business on public property, meaning that he was not able to apply for a business license. Staffers approached the City Council to determine whether they should draft a change to the code that would allow that sort of business on public property.
The City Council was not scheduled to cast a vote, but three of them — Cindy Matsumoto, Dick Peek and Liza Simpson — indicated in their comments there were issues with the idea.
Matsumoto said Segway tours would be disruptive in Old Town, noting traffic issues in the neighborhood. Peek added that the tours would be "awkward" in Old Town. He also mentioned traffic issues.
"I don’t think it fits our historic district," Simpson said.
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The other two City Councilors — Andy Beerman and Tim Henney — said they were willing to further explore the idea. Beerman said streets in Old Town already are used in a variety of ways.
Levine, a Deer Valley resident, wanted to start a commercial tour of Old Town. A statement to the elected officials outlined Levine’s position, saying the tour would add to Park City’s attractions, "minimize visual impact of automobiles and Parking on Streetscapes" and add an alternative transportation mode "by promoting the use of Green & Silent transportation."
The statement said tour-goers needed to be 14 years old or older and weigh at least 100 pounds and not more than 260 pounds. People who are 14 years old or 15 years old would have needed to have a parent or an adult supervisor on the tour with them while 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds would have required a signed waiver from an adult supervisor, the statement said.
Each tour would have had up to six people. Between 20 minutes and 30 minutes of training would have been conducted before a tour, including a safety video, according to the statement.
Levine told the elected officials during the meeting he planned to take tour-goers on streets like Woodside Avenue and Norfolk Avenue as well as to the Glenwood Cemetery. He said the tours would not have included Main Street. He said there would have been a tour guide with the group at all times. He anticipated the Segways would have been ridden at a maximum of 10 mph.
In an interview, Levine said he did not anticipate Segway tours causing congestion in Old Town. He was unsure whether he would return to the City Council with another proposal.
In a report to the elected officials, Heinrich Deters, who is City Hall’s trails and open space manager, said some large cities have approved tours using Segways with regulations. The regulations "stem primarily from local residents concerns per impacts the devices create on the general public’s ability to utilize public spaces," Deters said in the report.
"Moreover, residents note the lack of safety due to stopping distances, tipping or potential falls, which have been regularly documented with the devices. These safety concerns, combined with inexperienced/ first time users and the general mountainous topography of Park City may lead to safety issues and/or traffic impacts in certain areas of town," the report says,
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