Sundance 2015: a sneak preview of plans to combat gridlock |

Sundance 2015: a sneak preview of plans to combat gridlock

City Hall recently offered a preview of its transit and parking plans for the Sundance Film Festival in January, indicating the programs will be similar in 2015 to those of the past few years.

Traffic during Sundance is typically some of the worst of the year and there is lots of pressure on parking in the Old Town core during the festival. Park City officials over the years have designed various programs and put in place restrictions in an effort to keep transportation and parking orderly during Sundance.

Brooks Robinson, the senior transportation planner at City Hall, provided Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council a report about the plans. He said discussions were held in early October. The meetings involved City Hall, the County Courthouse, the Utah Department of Transportation and Sundance organizers. The Park City Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office were represented.

"It helps in just keeping flow, as bad as it is, from getting worse," Robinson said in an interview.

Some of the key points in the plan that were outlined in the report include:

  • parking restrictions on Main Street, starting on the west side of the street on the Tuesday before Sundance and starting on Thursday, which is the first day of the festival, on the east side of the street.
  • paid parking starts in the China Bridge garage on the Thursday that Sundance starts.
  • a restriction on parking on the west side of Park Avenue between 9th Street and 15th Street. Park Avenue between Heber Avenue and 9th Street will be set aside for a 15-minute zone for dropping people off and picking them up.
  • the use of the S.R. 224 shoulder for buses.
  • installing signs directing people to push the crosswalk button and then wait to cross Park Avenue outside Fresh Market.
  • stoplights in Park City will be coordinated to keep traffic flowing

    Robinson said the parking restrictions on Main Street have reduced some of the gridlock on the street during the festival. He said the restrictions also make it easier for an emergency vehicle to respond onto Main Street.

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    "Main Street is obviously full, but not stopped for 10 minutes," he said, adding, "Things move along."

    He said allowing buses to use the shoulder of S.R. 224 has reduced the travel time between Park City and the Redstone shopping, dining and entertainment center by approximately eight minutes. The time is saved between approximately Ranch Place and Newpark Town Center, where the backups are worst, Robinson said.

    Park City’s transit fleet will be used at capacity and will be supplemented with private-sector buses.

    Robinson, meanwhile, said the park-and-ride lot at Quinn’s Junction will not be included in the transit and parking plan for Sundance.

    Sundance starts on Jan. 22 and runs until Feb. 1. The 2015 edition will be the first to shift dates to avoid overlapping with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The shift was included in a 2013 agreement between City Hall and Sundance keeping the festival in Park City through at least 2026.

    More details about the transit and parking plans will be released closer to the festival.