Park City’s Main Street trolley, an indelible image, could disappear for a ski season
Some just want a lift to the top of Main Street instead of walking the steep incline. Others love the charm.
The Main Street trolley over the years has become one of the indelible images of Park City, seen in many of the summertime or ski season photos of the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
Visitors love the free ride up the street. Some who live in Old Town see it as an option as they head home.
But there is a possibility the Main Street trolley will not ply its well-worn route during the upcoming ski season. City Hall has proposed a dramatic reduction in transit service for the winter as officials prepare for the first full ski season during the spread of the novel coronavirus. There are expectations across Park City that tourism numbers will drop sharply during the ski season, leading to the blueprints to reduce transit service by 35% across the system. Even though some Old Town dwellers use the trolley, the riders more typically appear to be people from outside of the community.
One of the possibilities is a suspension of the Main Street trolley. The trolley during the 2019-2020 ski season ran from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily with 15-minute intervals. It is seen as a fixture on Main Street, sought by people throughout the day as it runs between the trolley turnarounds at both ends of the street.
The proposal to suspend the trolley route during the upcoming ski season has not received the publicity of some of the other possible reductions to transit service, but the disappearance of the trolley for a ski season will be noticeable nonetheless.
The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses in the Main Street core, is following the overall discussions about transit reductions. The organization sees the trolley as an alternative for pedestrians who find it difficult to walk the steep grade of Main Street. The executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, Alison Kuhlow, said it is too early to discuss the prospects of losing the trolley service for the ski season since results of a City Hall survey regarding transit service are not yet available.
Kuhlow also said it is unclear whether the money saved by suspending the trolley route would be put toward bolstering bus service to Main Street for the ski season.
“We know what it does. We don’t know what would happen if it’s not there,” she said about the trolley.
The Historic Park City Alliance, meanwhile, is also following the wider talks about transit service during the ski season. She said wintertime visitors could rent cars more often than is typical in an effort to avoid public transit based on worries about the sickness. That could lead to additional visitors seeking parking in the Main Street core since they are not taking buses there, she said, explaining there could be impacts on the number of spots available to the Main Street workforce.
A City Hall survey regarding the proposed reductions in transit service closed on Monday. More information is expected to be released over the next two weeks, as the Joint Transportation Advisory Board, involving City Hall and the County Courthouse, addresses the issue on Sept. 15 followed by a Park City Council meeting on Sept. 22. It is not clear how critical the Main Street trolley will be to the broader upcoming talks.
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