You’re on notice: don’t leave vehicles idling in Park City
City Hall is no longer standing idly by as people leave their vehicles idling.
Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council in recent months stopped short of creating a law against the practice, but city staffers are now reminding people of the environmental and health effects of vehicle emissions.
Officials printed approximately 1,000 handbill-like notices to be distributed to people who leave cars running while they are not inside them. The notice carries a headline reading "This is not a ticket only a reminder" underneath City Hall’s emblem.
Tyler Poulson, the coordinator of City Hall’s environmental programs, said the Police Department and the Public Works Department’s parking division received between 600 and 800 of the notices combined. Poulson kept the remainder for distribution later.
"We want to create awareness and not necessarily complications," Poulson said.
It was not clear how many of the notices have been issued. Park City is amid the slow season between the end of skiing and the beginning of summer tourism, and the amount of traffic has dropped significantly from the ski season. The Police Department, though, indicted an idling truck was seen on Sandridge Avenue soon after the notices were printed, but it was not clear from police logs whether one of the notices was handed out.
Poulson said he expects more drivers will be spotted idling their vehicles as traffic picks up.
The notices urge people to "turn off your vehicle when parked and encourage fellow residents and guests to do the same." They also say doing so is friendly to the environment, healthier and saves money.
"Unnecessary vehicle idling contributes to a variety of harmful emissions to the air," the notice reads, also indicating that "a wide array of health issues have been found linked to vehicle emissions."
Meanwhile, the notice claims it is more expensive to leave a vehicle idling for longer than 10 seconds than it is to turn it off and then restart.
City Hall has also posted approximately 15 anti-idling signs in places like Main Street, Swede Alley and outside the schools that are inside the Park City limits. Another batch of between 10 and 15 signs is scheduled to be posted later.
The move against people who idle vehicles is part of City Hall’s wide-ranging green efforts, which the mayor and City Council have made priorities in the past few years. But the elected officials declined to make it unlawful for a typical person to idle a vehicle.
City Hall prohibits delivery drivers from leaving a vehicle idling on Main Street or Swede Alley, and Poulson said a broader anti-idling law could be enacted someday.
"This is a happy medium for now," he said.
The reverse side of the notices lists exceptions to City Hall’s desire to curb idling, including:
emergency vehicles at the scene of an emergency
when idling is needed to provide power to law enforcement equipment, refrigeration units and loading or unloading lifts
a vehicle is stopped in traffic
when a vehicle must idle for repairs or inspection
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.