Sundance becomes ‘Walk Dance’
Standing at the Old Town transit center, someone holding a ticket to a Sundance Film Festival movie has a choice to get to their screening: two legs or four wheels.
Festival organizers and City Hall officials who helped devise the Sundance transit plan hope more people pick two legs. They want them to walk to some of the movies, which the officials hope will lessen the notorious Sundance traffic.
This year Sundance has published a chart estimating that on some routes it will take longer for people to take shuttles to the movies than it will to walk. The walking paths will be marked with signs.
"If it’s a nice day and someone is able to walk, it will pull one vehicle off the road," says Max Paap, a City Hall staffer assigned to Sundance logistics.
In past years, Paap says, people have complained that they missed their movies because it took too long to take a bus. The buses sometimes become caught in the traffic jams, he says.
"In some cases, yes," he says about walkers beating bus riders to screenings.
The chart, which was included with a transit map in the Sundance film catalog, estimates that walking times are especially attractive at screening spots close to Main Street.
From the Egyptian Theatre to the theater at the Park City Library and Education Center the walk is estimated to take 18 minutes. Someone on a bus would arrive eight minutes later, a 26-minute trip, according to Sundance’s estimates.
Someone trying to get from the Park City Racquet Club to the Eccles Center would walk for 14 minutes, less than half the time Sundance estimates it would take by bus: 37 minutes.
Still, people need to be prepared for a much longer walk, almost an hour, if they are headed between some Sundance theaters. The trip between the Racquet Club and the Egyptian is estimated to be 51 minutes for walkers, seven minutes shorter than the bus ride. A walker heading from the Eccles Center to the Egyptian should be prepared for a similarly lengthy jaunt, or they can pick a 30-minute bus trip.
Someone boarding the buses can choose from three Sundance shuttle routes or the regular Park City bus system, which has stops at or near lots of the Sundance venues. The regular bus routes include a line to Redstone, where Sundance is showing public screenings for the first time.
The three shuttle routes are a theater loop, designated yellow on transit maps, an Eccles loop, which is colored green, and the Main Street Express, the orange route. The theater loop runs 7 a.m. until midnight for most of the festival, the Eccles loop operates 7:30 a.m. until midnight except for the first and last day and the Main Street Express runs 8 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. during the height of the festival.
Sundance is scheduled to start Thursday, with the first full day of movies on Friday. It ends on Jan. 28. Crowds are expected to be huge and traffic is normally terrible, as people descend on Park City, especially Old Town, to see movies and watch for celebrities.
There will be signs designating walking routes and, normally, lots of people walk between the Old Town Sundance venues, including the Egyptian, the library and the ticket office in the Gateway on Swede Alley.
Advocates hope the Sundance crowd finds the walking routes. "Walk Dance," Carol Potter, who leads the not-for-profit Mountain Trails Foundation, calls the festival.
Potter says if the weather is good, people will walk. If the temperature is bitter or if it’s snowing a lot, the buses will be full, she says. Otherwise, Potter hopes people choose to walk.
"I think all they have to do is once walk it. We have to convince them it’s quicker, bam, if they try it," Potter says.
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