Sundance is showtime for Park City’s traffic-fighting measures |

Sundance is showtime for Park City’s traffic-fighting measures

Park Avenue, a key route to and from Main Street and surrounding Old Town, will be turned into a one-way northbound, or outbound, road during the Sundance Film Festival as part of City Hall’s overall traffic-fighting efforts. The restriction starts on Thursday, which is the opening day of Sundance.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

It is showtime for City Hall’s efforts to reduce the impact of the Sundance Film Festival crowds on Park City, particularly on Old Town.

As the festival opens on Thursday, officials have designed a traffic operations plan that is more aggressive than many of those that were drafted for previous years. There has been special attention given to the Main Street core and surrounding Old Town, where many of the problems have been pronounced over the years. Traffic and parking issues have long been prevalent in the tightly packed neighborhood during Sundance, but many have seen an uptick in problems during recent festivals.

One of the key strategies adopted for the festival in 2020 involves turning several streets into one-way routes during Sundance. It is among the most dramatic traffic-fighting measures ever undertaken by City Hall for the festival.

The stretch of Park Avenue between the Deer Valley Drive and Heber Avenue intersections will be turned into a one-way road in the northbound, or outbound, direction. The one-way restriction starts on Thursday, the opening day of Sundance, and extends until Saturday, Feb. 1, which is the day before Sundance ends.

Access passes distributed by City Hall to residents and businesses impacted by the restriction will allow two-way traffic south of the 15th Street intersection. The Park City Police Department has the ability to lengthen or shorten the hours when access passes will be needed based on traffic conditions.

Park Avenue between the two intersections is a heavily traveled street and one of the primary routes to Main Street and Old Town. Restricting the inbound traffic is expected to push those drivers onto Deer Valley Drive, which is part of the state highway system and seen as better able to carry the traffic increases during Sundance.

The other upcoming one-way restrictions for Sundance are:

• Hillside Avenue, one way in the westbound direction, or the direction toward Main Street

• 4th Street between Main Street and Park Avenue in the eastbound direction, or the direction toward Main Street

• 5th Street between Main Street and Park Avenue in the eastbound direction, or the direction toward Main Street

Resident access passes from City Hall will be needed for two-way traffic on the one-way routes.

“We are trying to make it better for people to get around,” said Jenny Diersen, the economic development program manager for City Hall, adding that another goal of the restrictions is to increase the number of people riding buses.

City Hall staffers have distributed the access passes to Old Town residences and businesses.

The Park City Community Guide to Sundance, published by the municipal government, indicates security will be posted meant to deter traffic from cutting through neighborhoods.

The tightened traffic plans for Sundance in 2020 follow increasing concern about the crush of vehicles in Old Town. There was earlier talk about City Hall adopting an even more aggressive blueprint that would have been modeled on the one that was in place for the 2002 Winter Olympics, but officials said that sort of plan could not be repeated for Sundance based on the differences in scale between the festival and the Games. The vast resources needed for an Olympic model, such as a fleet of reinforcement buses and outlying park-and-ride lots, are not available for Sundance, the officials determined.

Contact Diersen at for more information or if an access pass is required but was not received.

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