Park City traffic remains heavy, but relief expected in a matter of days
City Hall anticipates less congestion starting early next week
Parkites navigated the traffic during the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January.
The Sundance Film Festival later in January and in early February was held in an online setting, eliminating the typical backups that are some of the worst of the year.
And the community by Tuesday morning had cleared the road congestion of Presidents Day weekend, another stretch that is marked by lines of cars.
But City Hall cautions there are several more days when the backups could be especially bad. Officials outlined the timeframe from Jan. 15 until Feb. 21 as the peak period for traffic. The end date, which is Sunday, is timed to coincide with the week after Presidents Day weekend.
The Park City ski season is traditionally at its busiest during the Christmas-to-New Year’s week, Sundance and Presidents Day weekend.
The post-Presidents Day crowds are oftentimes visitors on spring-break ski trips. Spring breaks, though, are generally staggered, with many school districts and colleges setting various dates in March, rather than set dates like the holidays and Sundance. The staggering of the spring breaks essentially acts to reduce the crush of crowds even as the community remains busy.
The municipal government in recent days issued information designed to help people navigate through Park City during the peak traffic period. The information outlines that traffic usually increases from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. and then again from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. each day. The times correspond with the morning and evening rush hours for commuters as well as the loading and unloading of the mountain resorts.
“During these times, we encourage travelers to plan ahead, reduce traffic by carpooling, take free transit, and adjust schedules when possible,” the information says.
Some of the points outlined by City Hall include:
• the municipal bus system is free. The information also notes the system has protocols designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The free bus system has long been seen as one of Park City’s most important traffic-fighting measures.
• the removal of some of the parking on Park Avenue. The removal is meant to “better accommodate transit and vehicles through the narrow roadway,” City Hall says.
• a prohibition on double parking. The information says the practice creates traffic backups. Officials want drivers to use the curb to drop people off and note City Hall provides drop-and-load zones in Old Town.
• a restriction on through traffic. City Hall says streets in Old Town “are very narrow and not made for through traffic” and drivers should not use neighborhoods to avoid the traffic elsewhere. There will be patrols in neighborhoods, according to the information.
City Hall, meanwhile, wants pedestrians to cross streets in crosswalks.
More information is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org. The direct link is: https://www.parkcity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=69576.
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Daniel Lewis, an Old Town resident who unsuccessfully sought a spot on the Park City Council in 2019, said this week he will mount another campaign this year.