Editorial: Event parking adds to city’s expensive reputation
Park City for decades has had the reputation of being an expensive spot to spend a day, a place where Main Street is lined with fine-dining options next to boutiques and galleries.
On certain days this year, it will be even more expensive for people who drive to Main Street and prefer to park nearby. That, we can confidently say, describes the overwhelming majority of people headed to Main Street on festival or special event days.
Park City recently outlined plans for event parking in the China Bridge garage, located one block off Main Street. City Hall, which installed a paid parking system there during the most recent ski season, sees the change as an opportunity to redo the event parking program.
People headed to events like the Halloween celebration and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival will encounter changes in the rates.
Officials see the restructured prices as a deterrent to drivers clogging Old Town on event days as they hunt for parking spaces close to Main Street. The increased cost of parking could convince would-be drivers to use buses, park in outlying lots, walk or bicycle, the thinking goes.
The ideals underpinning the increased prices are worthy. Most have experienced the terrible traffic and parking shortages in the Main Street core, and higher prices are a way to combat the overwhelming traffic during events.
But Park City needs to be cautious as it monitors the successes and failures of the increased prices. Even as City Hall attempts to address the difficult subject of affordability in Park City, leaders themselves are opting to make it even less affordable to attend the events that help keep the community vibrant.
The free-to-attend Halloween celebration, a decidedly local event, will be an especially notable one to watch. The $20 entry for parking means a family parked in China Bridge will need to tack $20 onto the cost of food, refreshments and shopping.
The cost of a free event, then, could quickly climb toward $100. Perhaps not as affordable as someone would have anticipated when they left their house that day. And perhaps another reason Park City has an expensive reputation.
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