Editorial: Gripes about Park City’s parking plan justified, but it’s progress
November 2, 2017
Any discussion about traffic and parking near Park City's Main Street must start with an important acknowledgement: There are no easy fixes, and no solutions that will work for everybody.
That's why the city's efforts to address the problem heading into this winter are drawing complaints from some who will be among the most affected — business owners and their employees in the historic district.
To an extent, the criticisms of the plan are justified.
The biggest gripe stems from the city's decision to implement fees during evening hours at the China Bridge garage, which has long been a refuge of free parking for those working in Main Street restaurants and shops. Disgruntled employees say forking over cash just to get to work is unfair and that taking alternative transportation is time consuming.
They've got a point. The changes will, in fact, make it more costly or difficult for many employees — primarily those who work evenings — to get to Main Street. And there is a legitimate worry among business owners that, if working in the historic district becomes less attractive, employees may begin to seek jobs elsewhere.
To the city's credit, however, officials have been open to criticism, holding numerous feedback sessions and trying to find creative compromises to allay the business community's concerns.
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The efforts have yielded some reasonable, if not completely satisfying, remedies.
For instance, the city will provide a free shuttle service between the Old Town Transit Center and the Homestake Parking Lot in Bonanza Park, which will be reserved for historic district employees. Officials say workers will be able to hop on a shuttle every 10 minutes. For those who don't want to wait, employees who carpool will be allowed to park at China Bridge for free. That's in addition to Park City's existing free bus system.
Are those solutions perfect? Hardly.
Will the traffic and parking problems that plague the area each winter vanish? Anyone who's ever been stuck in gridlock on Park Avenue or circled the area looking for a parking spot knows there's no chance of that.
It's incumbent upon the city to keep seeking new answers. That includes maintaining an open dialogue with businesses and employees to iron out wrinkles in the system to ensure it works for them.
In the short term, we're hoping the city's efforts make navigating the Main Street area this winter a little easier, though. Officials have said other cities have had success with similar parking changes, and they've billed the overhaul — which also includes the installation of new meters, electronic wayfinding signage and a mobile app for locating and paying for parking — as something that will reduce congestion and help drivers find open parking spots.
If it works as the city envisions, the result will be worth the trouble: easier access to Main Street for people hoping to patronize shops and restaurants.
It wouldn't be a flawless fix, but as long as the city keeps searching for better solutions, it would be progress.
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