Sundance traffic deteriorated with ‘looky-loos Lyft, Uber, etc.’ in Park City |

Sundance traffic deteriorated with ‘looky-loos Lyft, Uber, etc.’ in Park City

Traffic backs up on Kearns Boulevard at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the opening day of the Sundance Film Festival.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

One resident of Old Town during the Sundance Film Festival in January recalls more than 5,000 vehicles each day on a tiny neighborhood street during the jammed opening weekend.

Flaggers shouted as they attempted to control the traffic on Hillside Avenue, the person wrote to City Hall recently as officials prepare to review the operations of the 2019 edition of Sundance, by a wide margin the largest special event on Park City’s calendar.

City Hall released the correspondence and others from the public in anticipation of a Park City Council discussion about Sundance scheduled on Wednesday. Park City leaders and officials from Sundance are expected to address a range of issues. It seems likely the traffic in Old Town will be discussed even though more detailed talks about the topic would be expected later. City Hall and Sundance annually review operations of the preceding festival as well as consider modifications to the operations for the next one.

The person who wrote about the 5,000-plus vehicles said the “conditions were extreme this year and made worse by the circulating phenomenon of of (sic) looky-loos Lyft, Uber, etc.” The correspondence also suggested the possibility of a permitting system for drivers headed to Old Town that would involve checkpoints prior to a driver reaching neighborhoods. Sundance 2019 was “different and overwhelming,” the person wrote.

Another person who submitted a correspondence discussed traffic in Old Town as well. The person wants City Hall to address traffic in Old Town during Sundance prior to the event rather than in response to problems while the festival is occurring. Traffic is “insane in the neighborhoods” during the opening weekend, the person wrote, identifying Park Avenue, Crescent Tram, Norfolk Avenue and 8th Street as congested roads. The person desired signs prohibiting through traffic and reinforcement for the Park City Police Department. The person, meanwhile, addressed ridesharing firms, which are especially busy during Sundance. The person said ridesharing vehicles are counter to City Hall’s traffic-fighting efforts.

The correspondences follow four months after a festival that appeared to be especially busy during the opening weekend. There were widespread complaints about traffic and parking, including numerous cases in Old Town. One person who lives in Old Town, Hillside Avenue resident Peter Marth, said in January traffic became a “free for all” on the road on the first Friday night of Sundance prior to flaggers being stationed there in response to the traffic.

City Hall and Sundance organizers with mixed success have taken steps over the years in an effort to reduce traffic. Enhanced bus service, heavy restrictions on parking and increased prices for parking that remains available are some of the measures that are taken. Still, though, the backups during Sundance are usually some of the worst of the year. The entryways are busy and traffic in Old Town sometimes is reduced to a crawl.

The City Council meeting on Wednesday is scheduled to start at 3:10 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The discussion about Sundance is slated to start at 4:25 p.m. Eighty minutes are set aside for the discussion.

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