Sundance traffic rarely has heartwarming ending
Traffic in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival rarely has a heartwarming ending.
It is more often like a disaster flick.
The festival opens on Thursday, and traffic is expected to be bad that day and possibly worsen on Friday. The opening weekend will also likely test the patience of drivers as large crowds of film lovers, celebrity gawkers and others descend on roads like S.R. 224 and S.R. 248 as they make their way into Park City. The traffic jams during Sundance are part of the local lore of the festival.
City Hall offered some traffic tips as the opening of the festival approached. The annual online community guide, drafted to assist Park City residents and visitors navigate Sundance, provides general information about traffic and points to some of the chokepoints.
It says the traffic is worst in the morning from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., noting that is the time drivers are headed to drop off kids at school and skiers and snowboarders are driving to the resorts. That is also rush hour for much of the work force. The afternoon traffic worsens starting at 4 p.m., according to the community guide, explaining that skier and snowboarder traffic mingles with commuter cars and the after-school rush at that time.
The community guide indicates the entryways and roads leading to and from the mountain resorts are especially notable. The streets listed are:
- Lowell Avenue, which is an access point to Park City Mountain Resort.
- Empire Avenue, another route to PCMR.
- lower Deer Valley Drive, which is the main route to Deer Valley Resort.
- Bonanza Drive, a crucial route linking Deer Valley and Old Town to points east. Bonanza Drive is also a segment of the easiest route between Main Street and Sundance venues like the Eccles Center and festival headquarters.
- S.R. 224, which links Park City to Kimball Junction and Interstate 80.
- S.R. 248, which is the route from Park City to parts of the Snyderville Basin, the East Side of Summit County and Wasatch County.
The traffic remains difficult through 6:30 p.m., City Hall says.
“Keep that cool Park City attitude and plan a little extra time to get from place to place,” the community guide suggests.
It also wants Sundance-goers to “be respectful” when they drive through neighborhoods.
Park City leaders for years have discouraged private vehicles during Sundance, saying the traffic is terrible and there is little parking available as City Hall-managed parking spaces are heavily restricted in the Main Street core for the festival. Those that are not restricted are priced much higher than is usual.
They instead want festival-goers to use the City Hall bus system, which operates at capacity during Sundance, or the festival buses that run between Sundance venues. Officials also say walking between many Sundance locations is simple.
In another suggestion included in the community guide, City Hall says it is best to go to the Main Street post office by 1 p.m.
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How on earth will the Park City Council candidates address the traffic situation? What will they pledge to accomplish regarding housing? And how well do they understand the impact of the consolidation and corporatization of the ski industry? The fall campaign could answer those questions.