Park City event parking prices will be no trick, no treat
City Hall considers charging on Labor Day and Halloween
THE PARK RECORD
Some might see it as silly if they have to pay $20 to park in the China Bridge garage on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
And it will definitely neither be a trick nor a treat to pay $10 to park there on Halloween.
City Hall is considering charging for parking in China Bridge on three days in the fall that are expected to be busy on Main Street. Parking in China Bridge, located a block off Main Street, is typically free. It would be the first time there are parking charges in the garage for the three days.
The rates were outlined in an agenda for a Wednesday meeting of the Special Event Advisory Committee, a City Hall panel that addresses the impacts of Park City’s busy calendar of festivals, tournaments and other events on the community. The Special Event Advisory Committee did not question the rates, according to a brief summary of the discussion provided by the municipal government.
The Park City Council is expected to address the rates during a meeting Aug. 31 after a tentative date was pushed back. The Aug. 31 meeting is less than a week before Labor Day, the other of three days when rates are proposed. The rate on Labor Day, celebrated in Park City as Miners Day, is proposed at $20.
The rates have not been widely publicized, but they will almost certainly draw attention as the dates approach. Parking on Main Street itself is prohibited at some points during the three days and at the other times it is often difficult to find a spot on the street. The free parking spots at China Bridge are some of the closest to Main Street and are usually packed during days of events.
The schedule calls for $20 rates on consecutive days of Sept. 3 and Sept. 4. The first of the two dates is the Sunday before Labor Day. That day is usually busy on Main Street as crowds arrive for the Park Silly Sunday Market during the three-day holiday weekend. Labor Day is also busy with a parade followed by festivities.
The $10 rate on Halloween, meanwhile, falls on a day when crowds descend on Main Street for a parade of dogs and trick-or-treating.
City Hall has long attempted to nudge people toward buses during special events in an effort to reduce the traffic headed to and from Main Street. The backups on event days can sometimes extend well off Main Street on streets like Park Avenue and Deer Valley Drive. The parking is limited in the Main Street core and parking on neighborhood streets surrounding the shopping, dining and entertainment strip are restricted to residents and their guests. Officials charge for parking during the Sundance Film Festival in January, which is also a busy event along Main Street, as part of the overall traffic-fighting plan.
The introduction of the rates on the three upcoming days is another step as City Hall tries to combat the crush of vehicles in Old Town during events. Traffic is oftentimes terrible on the event days and the thinking is charging for parking will discourage some from driving to Old Town. It is similar to the idea behind charging for parking during Sundance.
Park City plans to step up parking enforcement on surrounding Old Town neighborhood streets and offer free parking outside the Main Street core alongside introducing the rates. The other measures will be meant to discourage event-goers from driving to Main Street and then parking on restricted streets.
The rates were also introduced as Park City continues a broad discussion about issues like traffic and illicit parking in neighborhoods during events and whether City Hall could take further steps to address the issues. There was talk at one point, as an example, about perhaps enacting an access-pass system during Sundance that would limit the number of vehicles that could drive into Old Town. It would have apparently been similar to a system that has long been in place during the summertime Park City Kimball Arts Festival.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.