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Parked cars clog the street

City Hall officials are considering a ban on parking on a small but well-placed stretch of street near Main Street, a move that they say could alleviate congestion, reduce accidents and make bus routes more navigable.

A municipal committee wants to restrict people from parking on the west side of Park Avenue between Heber Avenue and 9th Street. The west side of the street is the side closest to the Park City Mountain Resort mountainside.

The city’s Public Works Department, which oversees parking in Old Town, recently sent neighbors a flier describing the proposed changes and a map showing the stretch of street that would be impacted.

Brian Andersen, who manages the city’s parking operations, said the idea has been discussed for several years. It has not been finalized. The Public Works Department continues to gather input. It would be at least early October before a decision is made, leaving officials enough time before the ski season starts to install signs and publicize the change if it is endorsed.

"They say it’s pretty tight. It’s probably the tightest area we have," Andersen said, describing the comments from City Hall bus drivers who drive the stretch of Park Avenue. "It’s the narrowest part of the bus route . . . where there’s significant volume."

The flier indicates barring parking on the west side of the street would eliminate about 10 spots. Parking there currently is limited to two hours.

The stretch of Park Avenue under consideration is highly traveled by people who live in upper Old Town and Main Street customers. Traffic is often bad, especially during the busiest times of the ski season.

"It’s problematic for the larger vehicle" like buses, Andersen said.

People heading to the Town Lift sometimes park there, and there are a few restaurants and bars that face Park Avenue between Heber Avenue and 9th Street whose customers use the spaces.

The flier indicates that a safety audit found there is "a significant number of minor auto accidents." Andersen said up to 10 accidents are recorded there annually, including those involving buses hitting parked cars.

"We feel the street is safe, but parked vehicles are currently an issue," he said, adding that the accident rate is "enough to create a concern."

The move against the parking would be counter to many decisions over the last decade in the Main Street district. City Hall officials have consistently added parking spaces close to Main Street, with the expansion of the China Bridge garage the most notable and smaller blocs of spots also boosting the amount.

Main Street merchants have long lobbied for additional parking, and it is likely there will be opposition to the proposed restrictions. They usually worry about a drop in business when restrictions are discussed.

The Public Works Department wants written comments submitted to Andersen. His email address is brian@parkcity.org, and his fax number is 615-4904. Comments may be mailed to Andersen. His address is:

Park City Public Works Department

P.O. Box 1480

Park City, Utah

84061

Jesse Shetler, who is the principal owner of Butcher’s Chop House, a restaurant and bar that faces the stretch of Park Avenue, is leery of the idea, saying his customers frequently park in spaces that would be restricted.

"I’m not for it. I think that they are wrong when they say it’s only 10 or 12 spots. That’s a significant amount of parking," said Shetler, who was unaware of the idea until recently.

If four people were in each car that is restricted from parking in the spots, about 40 potential customers might not visit Butcher’s, Shetler said.

"That’s a lot of people, a lot of money," he said.


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