Parked cars during Sundance were at or close to six-year highs |

Parked cars during Sundance were at or close to six-year highs

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The number of vehicles parked in the Main Street core during the Sundance Film Festival in January was at or close to six-year highs through most of the festival, a City Hall report indicates.

Officials have released a bar graph showing the parking counts starting on the first Friday of Sundance and ending on the second Saturday of the festival. The period covers the busiest stretch of Sundance.

The bar graph indicates the parking numbers dipped noticeably on Jan. 21, which was the first Saturday of Sundance, and on Jan. 26, which was the second Thursday of the festival. Officials said on the graph both of those days were snowy. The weather on the first Saturday of the festival was especially bad.

The number of vehicles parked in the Main Street core peaked on the second Saturday of Sundance, when the number hit approximately 2,000. The second Saturday was also the busiest parking day the year before, the graph shows.

The second Saturday of Sundance traditionally seems to draw a large crowd from the Wasatch Front, people who would be more likely to drive to Park City in their own vehicles than people from outside of Utah who visit Park City in high numbers earlier in the festival.

The numbers have generally climbed since 2009, which was the first Sundance held after the financial crisis in 2008. The uptick since 2009 on the second Friday and the second Saturday is especially noticeable on the graph.

Another graph released by City Hall tracking Sundance parking numbers shows the amount of money collected in parking fees is highest during the first weekend of the festival. The dollar figure topped out in the $30,000 to $35,000 range per day.

Officials charge for parking in some lots and garages that are free the rest of the year. The prices come down as Sundance goes on, however. The lower prices account for some of the drop in the money collected after the first few days of the festival.

Parking is extremely tight in the Main Street core during Sundance, as large crowds of festival-goers, celebrity gawkers and partiers descend on the street. The parking charges are meant to discourage people from driving personal vehicles into the Main Street core. Park City leaders prefer people take buses or park in outlying lots and ride buses to Main Street.