Parkites torn on Park City Mountain Resort’s new paid-parking system
Residents appear to appreciate the effort, but fear they will pay the price
With Park City Mountain Resort poised to start a paid-parking system in December, Parkites appeared torn on whether the new initiative to reduce congestion would work – and whether residents would pay the price.
PCMR on Thursday hosted a paid-parking informational session at the Legacy Lodge to provide more information about the changes to the 2022-2023 winter season. Resort officials, including Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Deirdra Walsh, fielded questions and heard concerns about the new system from around 50 people throughout the evening.
Overall, there were mixed reactions to PCMR’s parking system. Many people seemed to appreciate the resort’s latest initiative to combat traffic after a tense 2021-2022 ski season, but others said PCMR isn’t doing enough to accommodate Parkites.
Angela Moschetta, an Old Town resident and one of the four people who earlier this year successfully filed an appeal of the PCMR lift upgrade, attended the meeting to learn more about the paid-parking system and help communicate how it works to others. Moschetta is a key figure in the civic engagement group Future Park City.
While paid parking will not solve the traffic problem alone, she said, the resort’s reservation system is “key” to making it work. The Park City-side base area will require visitors to make reservations online for arrivals before 1 p.m. seven days a week. Parking is free before Dec. 12 and after April 2, but a reservation is still required. PCMR officials anticipate the system will spread out peak traffic as well as provide guests a sense of certainty and remove the need to beat the rush.
Moschetta said the $25 per vehicle daily fee won’t stop the lots from becoming full, but it will help prevent them from filling up all at once.
“Staggering arrival traffic not only alleviates road congestion but should help alleviate on-mountain congestion at base lifts, day lodges, rental shops, and more,” she said.
“This is change. It’s not more of the same,” Moschetta continued. “It’s a great first step from Vail Resorts/Park City Mountain, and if they can next collaborate with Park City Municipal to capture traffic away from the resort, we can achieve some real progress.”
But Park City resident Joe DeMarco is concerned about the impact on residents. He attended to meeting hoping to learn more about what resort officials are doing to accommodate local skiers, but said he was simply told PCMR is “pushing for behavior changes.”
DeMarco, who’s been skiing on the mountain for 20 years, said he understands why the resort is making the parking transition. He said he used to purchase a season parking pass and split the cost with friends, but the option is no longer offered. While many Park City residents can afford the $25 daily fee, DeMarco said, the charge could squeeze out others.
There is free parking available at the Canyons Village base area and outlying park and ride locations, but DeMarco said skiers utilizing these options will have to walk in their boots and lug all of their equipment. Parking is also free after 1 p.m. on the Park City side.
“They aren’t considering locals who ski a lot. It will always be a pain,” he said.
The resort received several proposed alternatives from the crowd, including offering free skiing as an incentive for taking the bus, providing express buses from large parking lots such as Ecker Hill and Kimball Junction during peak times, reducing the daily parking fee for residents or introducing a locals’ parking pass.
Silver Springs resident Eric Moxham echoed the sentiment. He suggested the $25 fee should be instituted during weekends and holidays while a reduced rate would be in effect during the week. Moxham encouraged PCMR to work with Parkites to develop durable solutions and better relationships.
Resort officials said in a statement research shows the pricing model instituted will be “the most effective in reaching the goals of this program: better manage parking at Park City Mountain and alleviate some congestion in the surrounding area.”
He said PCMR’s parent company, Vail Resorts, takes a “one size fits all” approach to its resorts, while Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of Deer Valley Resort, is more localized.
Heading into the upcoming ski season, Moxham said he is cautiously optimistic and pulling for the resort’s new chief. He wants to see PCMR return to the premier national resort he once considered it to be. Walsh has recognized the challenges many residents and visitors faced last ski season. She previously said she wants Parkites to approach this winter with a fresh perspective and focus on moving forward.
“We have certainly benefited from the knowledge and experience of fellow Vail Resorts-owned properties that have implemented their own paid or reserved parking system in the past. However, the decisions for this year’s plan were made by Park City Mountain leaders who live, work and play here. We are confident it will be successful in moving us toward the goals of this program,” Sara Huey, a spokesperson for PCMR, said in a statement.
PCMR will begin charging for reservations in December through early April. There will be a $25 fee to use the Main, First Time and Silver King lots between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. during those dates. Parking is free in the afternoon. Complimentary parking is also available in the early morning, but guests staying after 8:30 a.m. must pay.
Vehicles with four or more occupants will still be required to make a reservation, but they will be exempt from the fee. PCMR also partnered with City Hall to create a new traffic circulation pattern that prioritizes bus and transit access at the Park City-side base area.
Reservations can be purchased online beginning in November. PCMR previously discussed a limit of 10, but feedback from the community prompted the resort to revist the number.
This article was updated to include additional comments from Park City Mountain Resort.
The smell of roasted almonds. Crowds. Being surrounded by foreign languages. Trading Olympic pins. Leaving a legacy. These are what Parkites think about when remembering the 2002 Winter Games.
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