Park City enacts prohibition on thru traffic on residential stretch of Main Street
Newly installed signs designed to protect Old Town streets after years of complaints
Someone driving up Main Street has just two options when they reach the southern end of the commercial district unless they can pull a U-turn at the tightly packed location.
They can turn left toward Swede Alley or continue straight on Main Street, passing a row of houses and eventually reaching the Old Town neighborhood surrounding the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
City Hall wants to nudge drivers toward Swede Alley, recently installing signs that prohibit thru traffic on Main Street south of the Swede Alley intersection. It is another step as officials attempt to concentrate traffic on Main Street itself and Swede Alley rather than allowing drivers to move into the neighborhood.
The signs are located at the intersection of Main Street and Swede Alley, in the vicinity of the recognizable Centennial House and Grappa Italian Restaurant. There has also been a sandwich board-style sign placed in the street with a similar message. The signs also inform drivers someone needs a resident permit to park and that the rules are enforced with towing. The sandwich board that has been in the street notes there is a $145 fine attached to violations.
The location of the new signs is strategic with officials wanting to keep traffic out of the neighborhood. Many drivers use that stretch of Main Street to enter and exit the commercial core. They oftentimes take Deer Valley Drive, Marsac Avenue and Hillside Avenue as they enter or leave Main Street. They see the route as a quicker alternate to Park Avenue as the access point to and from Main Street.
But there have been long-running concerns in the southern reaches of Old Town about drivers entering and leaving the Main Street core through the neighborhood. People on streets like Daly Avenue and Hillside Avenue have long been perturbed by the Main Street traffic. People on the tiny Hillside Avenue have been especially vocal in their displeasure over the years. They say the road is not built to carry the Main Street traffic. Taxis, shuttles and ride-sharing vehicles have been worrisome to people on Hillside Avenue and in the neighborhood in the southern section of Old Town.
The new signs could push more traffic to Swede Alley, itself a road that can become clogged during the busy times. They could also raise questions in the transportation industry and among regular Parkites about the thinking underpinning the decision to install the signs there since people across Park City worry about traffic.
The Police Department said it is aware the signs were installed and officers assigned to traffic patrols will monitor the signs and take action when they observe violations. Phil Kirk, a police captain, said officers have been issuing warnings. It was not clear through early in the week how many drivers have been stopped on a count of violating the restriction on thru traffic. Kirk said the agency’s priority in that section of Old Town is Hillside Avenue rather than the new restriction on thru traffic.
“We’re giving the public a chance to get familiarized with the new signs,” he said.
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Park City Attorney Margaret Plane recently sent a memo to elected and appointed officials, as well as candidates in the City Hall election, cautioning them about making public statements regarding development proposals. The memo outlines that stands on planning and zoning matters could jeopardize a later process, such as when a decision by the Planning Commission is put to the City Council through an appeal.