There are ways to avoid the high-traffic areas during Sundance |

There are ways to avoid the high-traffic areas during Sundance

Parking along Main Street is tightly restricted during the Sundance Film Festival. Main Street is one of the areas where City Hall anticipates heavy traffic during the festival. Jake Shane/Park Record

Many would consider all of Park City a high-traffic area during the Sundance Film Festival.

But City Hall says there are several locations that are especially busy during the festival, which opens on Thursday and runs until Jan. 31.

The municipal government recently posted a community guide to Sundance that provides information about navigating Park City during the festival as well as tips for attending Sundance.

The section about high-traffic areas would be especially useful to someone attempting to move about Park City without becoming caught in the heavy traffic.

The high-traffic areas are:

  • Main Street and Swede Alley, where there are heavy parking restrictions during Sundance and lots of pedestrians.
  • the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue, another place heavily used by pedestrians. There are also traffic controls in place at the intersection.
  • Park Avenue between 9th Street and the intersection with Deer Valley Drive and Empire Avenue, essentially the stretch of Park Avenue entering and exiting Main Street. The guide recommends someone use Deer valley Drive instead while heading toward Main Street. It says traffic backups should be expected on Park Avenue.
  • outside the Eccles Center, which is at Park City High School on Kearns Boulevard and the film festival’s highest-capacity screening room. The guide indicates traffic is at its worst at several points from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

    "Locals travel this road to get to work, skiers use it to access Park City resorts, and students and parents use this road to navigate busy daily school scheduled," the guide says.

  • outside the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, which houses another large Sundance screening room. City Hall says drivers should slow down and look for pedestrians since the building is in a neighborhood.
  • outside the Park City Library, which is another place where Sundance screens films. The guide mentions that the library is in a neighborhood as it cautions drivers to drive slowly and be alert for pedestrians.
  • Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, where skier traffic is heavy in the late afternoon once the slopes close. City Hall says the skier traffic starts at 4 p.m. and impacts the lower section of Deer Valley Drive, Empire Avenue and Lowell Avenue.

    The guide, meanwhile, suggests people driving to the post office on Main Street do so by 1 p.m. or walk there.

    Traffic during Sundance is notoriously bad as large crowds of film lovers, celebrity gawkers and others drive to Park City alongside commuter and skier traffic. Terrible backups are commonplace, particularly during the especially busy opening weekend of the festival.

    "Driving is difficult around town, especially near Main Street and in the Old Town area. Many areas are closed to parking and additional parking fees apply in others. Your best option is to avoid driving, but if you do decide to drive please plan plenty of time for traffic and congestion," the guide says, adding that it is better to carpool or take a bus.

    Parking possibilities

    Parking is tight in the Main Street area throughout the winter, but it is especially challenging during Sundance as some spots that are normally available are restricted.

    City Hall offers paid parking in the China Bridge garage for $25 per entry starting on Thursday. The price drops to $10 per entry on Jan. 26.

    There is free parking available in the Sandridge lots off Marsac Avenue and in Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Lodge lots 5 and 6 from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. The lot at Treasure Mountain Middle School is available on the weekends.

    The satellite parking lot at Richardson Flats, located off S.R. 248 along the Park City entryway, will be made available for carpools without charge. There is no bus service to the lot, however. It is closed from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m.

    Parking on neighborhood streets surrounding Main Street is restricted to permit holders. There are also private parking garages or lots on or close to Main Street.

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