No car? No problem
Pedestrianized Main Street gives Sunday shoppers plenty of space
When you head to Main Street on Sundays this summer, you’ll quickly notice the absence of a typically omnipresent part of the experience on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip: traffic.
That’s because Park City in the late spring decided to pedestrianize most of Main Street on Sundays from the middle of June through early September, banning cars north and south of the Heber Avenue intersection. As part of the change, restaurants and shops are allowed to expand their operations onto the sidewalk or street, giving Main Street a bit of an outdoor market vibe.
For people missing the beloved Park Silly Sunday Market, which was canceled this year due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, this may be the next best thing.
As inviting as the prospect of a car-free Main Street is, though, creating a special atmosphere wasn’t the primary motivator for businesses in the area. Rather, they see it as a way for people to visit the strip without risking exposure to the coronavirus by literally rubbing shoulders with others, according to Alison Kuhlow, executive director of the His- toric Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on or near Main Street.
Put simply, there’s more room outside than inside, and in the road than on Main Street’s narrow sidewalks.
“Honestly, we didn’t think of it as fun and unique,” Kuhlow says. “Our main reason for doing it is to be able to give people more social distancing space.”
Patrons appear to appreciate the consideration. The carless Main Street — which some Parkites have said should be implemented on a full-time basis — seems to be a hit so far. Many patrons have shown up on recent Sundays for the opportunity to wander a Main Street free of traffic, stopping to check out the goods retailers are offering outside their storefronts and taking advantage of the outdoor dining decks lining the street.
Expect the enthusiasm for the pedestrianized days to continue through the summer, as Parkites look to support local business and visitors from the Wasatch Front flock to the mountains to beat the heat.
If you’re thinking about stopping by, there are a few things you should know, however. With vehicles banned on Main Street, you can find free parking on nearby Swede Alley or the China Bridge garage. Alternatively, consider making it a car-free day altogether and utilizing Park City’s free bus system to get there.
Additionally, Summit County recently received permission from the governor to mandate mask-wearing in public. So bring your mask, and be prepared to also practice social distancing to ensure that everyone can feel safe partaking in a unique Main Street experience this summer.
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