Park City targets 4th of July traffic, but will efforts lead to fireworks?
City Hall considers set of measures to limit vehicles headed to Old Town
THE PARK RECORD
Park City leaders on Thursday are scheduled to consider a wide-ranging plan to limit traffic in Old Town on the 4th of July, a set of measures seen as a test as City Hall also considers ideas to greatly reduce the crush of cars that descends on the neighborhood during the Sundance Film Festival.
But it is unclear whether the efforts will lead to fireworks on the roads on Independence Day.
Municipal staffers devised a package of potential steps that could be taken on Independence Day, which is typically one of the busiest days of the year in Park City as crowds arrive for a daylong celebration that includes a parade and fireworks. Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council will likely signal which steps they want taken on July 4.
Staffers outline a dramatic measure involving controlling access to the Old Town residential neighborhood surrounding Main Street. City Hall for years has controlled access in the neighborhood during the summertime Park City Kimball Arts Festival, but doing so would be a first for the 4th of July. There was preliminary discussion about the prospects of instituting an access-pass system for Independence Day earlier, but a City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday provides details.
The report identifies 13 locations where access could be controlled as part of the overall traffic plans. The locations are a combination of spots that have been traditionally controlled for logistical purposes and new ones. They include spots as far north as 15th Street and as far south as the vicinity of the intersection of Main Street and King Road.
The report says the program would involve signs designating “Residential Access Only,” people positioned in key locations and electronic message boards “deterring residential access for non-residents,” the report says. It says the access controls would run between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.
It says it will take a high level of effort to operate the access controls with the effectiveness anticipated to be medium or high. The access controls are anticipated to cost between $15,000 and $23,500, according to the report.
The report acknowledges the access controls could have impacts on people driving to see family or friends, people headed to rental units or other accommodations and ride-sharing services.
“Eliminating residential access has the potential to create additional delays on the rest of the road network if people do not park remotely, use mass transit or other alternative modes, and/or do not respond to day of event traveler information,” the report also says.
The report, though, does not outline an access-pass system like the one during the arts festival.
City Hall, meanwhile, also is considering turning a southbound lane on Deer Valley Drive as it heads toward Old Town into a bus lane from 7 a.m. until noon on the 4th of July, creating a bicycle valet, offering parking at Park City High School and Canyons Village and charging for parking in the China Bridge garage.
Officials are considering the measures in the months after complaints about traffic during Sundance that seemed more pronounced than many previous years. Leaders shortly after the festival closed in January pledged to address festival traffic in some fashion, and a test like the one planned for the 4th of July was seen as likely.
The City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Marsac Building. The discussion about the proposed 4th of July measures is scheduled at the end of the meeting.
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Park City recently detailed the efforts to fill a range of vacant municipal posts in 2018 and 2019 as officials described the challenges City Hall has encountered in its hiring amid a hot economy.