Parking is perpetually perplexing but is key to downtown’s success
The Park Record editorial, April 19-21, 2017
Park City Municipal got exactly what it asked for this week — an earful of input on the town’s parking problems. During two informal sessions held at the Park City Library, business owners, residents and employees shared their complaints about everything, from idling UBER drivers to scofflaw employees and from over-regulation to lack of enforcement.
Those comments are likely to continue as the city embarks on an extensive overhaul of its parking policies and facilities in the downtown commercial core. Potential changes include: variable metering in the existing China Bridge structure, new meters on Main Street, fee increases, tighter restrictions on employee parking, a possible new parking structure and additional incentives to encourage alternative transportation.
Through it all though, the city hopes citizens will continue to offer their input.
As evidenced by the comments this week, even small tweaks in parking strategies have far reaching effects throughout the community. Several Main Street business owners underscored the need for loading zones. A longtime Main Street employee said the cost of parking was a hardship for many coworkers. At the same time, surrounding residents from Rossie Hill to Park Avenue complained that traffic and parking spillover from Main Street oftentimes block their driveways and sidewalks.
Common threads in the discussion included: a call for consistent enforcement and concerns that the lack of parking could eventually harm Main Street’s long-term viability. In particular, merchants noted that Uber drivers seemed to be monopolizing parking spots while waiting for fares. They also shared observations of employees playing “vehicle roulette,” i.e. moving their vehicles every few hours to skirt the posted time limits. Several expressed support for another addition to the China Bridge structure or building a second structure adjacent to Main Street.
While the conversation remained civil, it is evident that parking is an emotional issue and as Park City’s downtown continues to fill in, it will become even more critical. It was also clear that City Hall wants to take a proactive approach – and hopes to incorporate ongoing citizen engagement.
Of course, it is important to note that Park City’s downtown parking shortage is indicative of a vibrant commercial district. The challenge is to ensure that it can accommodate the diverse needs of merchants, employees, visitors and locals long into the future.
A fresh bright coat of white reflective paint, coming early this summer, will be the first indication that the parking plan is in motion. In the meantime the city will continue to gather public input during another round of meetings in May.
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