Sundance parking: what a pain
City Hall officials will ban parking on both sides of Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, saying the restrictions, believed to be the tightest ever during Sundance, are needed to allow traffic to flow easier.
Dave Gustafson, a Park City official who helped devise the system, said the no-parking restrictions are slated to run from Jan. 13, which is two days before the festival opens, until Jan. 25, the festival’s last day.
He said City Hall will assess the amount of traffic in the Main Street core after the opening weekend of Sundance, with the possibility of lifting the no-parking restrictions on the east side of Main Street.
Main Street is normally clogged with drivers and pedestrians during Sundance, and there is frequently bumper-to-bumper traffic the length of the street. restricting parking, City Hall is bidding to make navigating Main Street simpler for drivers, officials said. In 2008, the no-parking restriction was limited to the west side of Main Street.
City leaders added the Main Street restrictions in 2009 to a wide-ranging plan that is used annually to regulate downtown parking. Without the plan, there would be "gridlock" on and around Main Street, said Brian Andersen, who manages City Hall’s parking programs.
"You’d get a lot more cruise and hunt," Andersen said, describing drivers who circle Main Street and Swede Alley searching for a parking spot.
He said the parking plan allows police officers and firefighters to more easily respond to emergencies. There will be exceptions for taxis and delivery vehicles.
Main Street business owners are oftentimes wary when City Hall considers temporarily closing off parking spots on the street, but there has not been widespread talk about the Sundance restrictions.
Jeff Ward, who is the president of the Historic Main Street Business Alliance, a merchants group, said people will not have problems getting to Main Street even though they will be unable to park on the street. Ward acknowledges City Hall’s efforts to ease the amount of traffic.
"It seems like this will help that without restricting access," Ward said, adding that Sundance crowds are accustomed to riding festival shuttles that stop at the Old Town transit center so they do not need to drive themselves.
Meanwhile, City Hall has finalized a package of parking rates for prime spots close to Main Street. The rates are similar to those in place during previous festivals.
Some of the rates include:
Surface areas of Swede Alley will carry a $20 charge per day. People who drive off the lot and return must pay again. Parking-attendant booths will be set up at the flag pole lot and at the intersection of 5th Street and Swede Alley.
Parking in the Brew Pub lot on the southern end of Main Street and Swede Alley will cost $16 for three hours.
Parking in the newer portion of the China Bridge garage will cost $20 per day on levels 1, 2 and 3.
Parking on level 1 of the older portion of China Bridge will cost $20 per day.
Guaranteed parking is available on levels 2 and 3 of the older portion of China Bridge. The guaranteed parking passes cost $350 and are good for the entire festival. Contact the Public Works Department for information and availability of the $350 passes. The department’s phone number is 615-5301. Andersen said approximately 230 of the passes are available. They sell out most years, he said.
The roof levels of both portions of China Bridge will be reserved for people holding Main Street employee parking permits and Main Street residents who hold permits to park in Zone C.
Residential permits are required to park on neighborhood streets surrounding Main Street.
Other places where parking will be available during Sundance include The Yard off Kearns Boulevard, Lot F and Lot G in Prospector and at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lot on Monitor Drive. The church lot is available after 3 p.m. each day except Sunday. Deer Valley Resort will allow parking in part of the Snow Park lots after 5 p.m. each day.
"It’s essentially to encourage people to ride the transit system in place," Andersen said about the parking restrictions.
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.