New parking at Newpark for Sundance Film Festival
Summit County took Park City’s cue when negotiating with Newpark Resort and Hotel to host a staging area in their parking lot during the Sundance Film Festival, according to Caroline Ferris, Summit County regional transportation director.
Newpark Resort and Hotel has agreed to offer 25 spaces on the west side of the hotel parking lot for taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers. The spaces will be reserved during the festival from Jan. 21-31. The spaces will be designated with signs and monitored, according to a county staff report.
Ferris said there is no official contract or agreement in place with representatives of Newpark, adding that it was more of a "gesture of goodwill" on their part to donate the spaces. Ferris said she approached Leah Kolb, president of the Kimball Junction Business Association, about the staging area because she was worried festival traffic would prevent patrons from patronizing Kimball Junction businesses.
"Honestly, we took a cue from Park City, who is doing the Uber lounge," Ferris said.
The Park City Council recently agreed to exclusively allow Uber to use the flagpole parking lot on lower Swede Alley as a location for its drivers. Uber is an official sponsor of the film festival.
The staging area at Newpark should significantly cut down on vehicles circling the Redstone area during the festival, Ferris said.
This year, county officials are taking a more active role in addressing the festival’s impact on traffic in the Basin, such as Kimball Junction, especially as the Redstone Cinema 8 continues to feature several festival screenings, Ferris said.
"That is really where the county is going," Ferris said. "The county is understanding that our business and population growth is occurring in the Junction and we need to pick up the slack. If we don’t plan for these types of issues it will be overwhelming and Sundance is a really important part of our economy and way of life."
In addition to screenings at Redstone, Temple Har Shalom along State Road 224 will also host several Sundance screenings. Sundance is offering shuttle services to the Temple Har Shalom and Redstone Cinema to move film goers between Park City and the Basin until midnight and 1 a.m., respectively. Park City Transit also offers fare-free late-night services to Kimball Junction.
The county is encouraging locals to carpool by parking their cars for free at the lot in Richardson Flat on State Road 248 and readjust their schedules to avoid peak traffic times. The city’s bus service will not extend to Richardson Flat.
"We are encouraging locals to not do your errands between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and to use the public transit that is provided," Ferris said. "Let’s just try and keep everyone happy."
With the additional routes and extended hours, Ferris said she "hopes people really take advantage of the shuttles and transit." The county will host a contest on Instagram for locals who use public transit and post a picture on their commute with the hashtags #rideparkcitytransit and #lifeinsummitcounty. The county will be giving away free Sundance items daily, Ferris said.
"Our locals are really good about using transit during festivals and I’m hoping this year they do it even more," Ferris said. "I want to make sure that people follow the county and Park City on social media because we will be putting out a ton of updates about where the crowds are and what is going on. We have the ability to track how many Bluetooth devices that are coming in and out of town so we will be following, in real time, the number of people that are traveling and trying to gear people toward places that may be a little less crowded."
For more information about the county’s Instagram contest and to view the county’s "Guide to surviving Sundance," go to https://slate.adobe.com/cp/BKj0g/ . To view the Sundance shuttle service schedule, go to http://www2.sundance.org/festival/attend/shuttle-service/ . A Park City Transit app is also available to download.
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