Uber wants space at Park City arts festival
The Park City Kimball Arts Festival crowds could grab a ride from Uber just steps from the paintings, ceramics and other works on display on Main Street this weekend.
City Hall is considering setting aside space in the south section of the China Bridge garage for the ride service. Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council are scheduled to discuss the idea at a meeting on Thursday, the day before the opening of the festival. Uber is an official sponsor of the event.
A City Hall report prepared in anticipation of the City Council meeting on Thursday indicates the festival organizer, the Kimball Art Center, wants the municipal government to allow the Uber setup. The festival’s logistical footprint already included the space on the top level of the garage for oversized vehicles brought by the artists. The report says the level, though, does not reach capacity.
The festival organizers want to direct the oversized vehicles to half of the spaces and use the rest for Uber, according to City Hall. The City Council must approve the arrangement as a change to the overall agreement between the municipal government and the Kimball Art Center outlining festival details.
The report, drafted by Jason Glidden, the economic development program manager for the municipal government, outlines a series of conditions City Hall staffers want placed on the Uber operation if it is approved by the City Council. The Uber operations at the site would be the same as the festival hours and up to 40 parking spots would be available for Uber, the report says. The Kimball Art Center and Uber would also ensure there would not be more Uber vehicles at the location than there are spots set aside for the operation. Signs would need to be approved by City Hall.
“Park City reserves the right to immediately revoke the UBER plan approval if it does not work operationally or creates traffic or public safety hazards, as determined in the Park City’s sole discretion,” one of the conditions says.
Some of the discussion at the Thursday meeting could involve the ideal of setting aside public space for a private business, an arrangement that has drawn questions in the past. The City Hall report acknowledges that “staff has concerns regarding the use of public property to facilitate one commercial entity.” But it also says the benefits outweigh the concerns based on the prospects of improving the coordination of the Uber operation and reducing the number of vehicles with just the driver inside.
It is not clear whether there will be resistance on Thursday from other taxi and transportation companies. They have expressed worries in the past about the Uber operations. The City Council in January allowed a similar Uber setup during the Sundance Film Festival. In that approval, the flagpole lot on lower Swede Alley was made into a location for Uber.
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Utah Open Lands, short approximately $1.1 million with just days left to finalize a Thaynes Canyon conservation agreement, has requested financial assistance from City Hall. The organization has asked to put additional monies toward the deal above the $3 million already pledged by Park City voters.