Guest editorial: What’s to blame for Park City’s disappearing parking spaces
While this winter’s abundant snow has thrilled outdoor enthusiasts, it’s also revealed a dark underbelly beneath the fluffy white drifts.
I refer, as you may have guessed, to the disappearance of Park City parking spaces.
Police and neighborhood associations are grappling with confused citizens all over town who claim that their parking spaces are simply vanishing overnight. In some cases, culprits have left half a spot behind, perhaps in their haste, but most drivers report that entire spots, sometimes even multiple spots, can no longer be found.
“At the kids’ school last week there were five spaces, and this week there were only three!” fumed a local lunching at Vessel recently, waving her hands wildly. “I mean, where did they go?”
Another Parkite joined in the lamentation, and said parking spaces thieves could be using snow to cover their tracks.
“It happened all up and down my street yesterday,” he said. “We’re getting a Neighborhood Watch effort going, staying up in shifts to catch them.”
Nerves are fraying and theories abound regarding who or what is responsible. Ad-hoc forums on the subject have sprouted up in lift lines, at coffee shops and at the Wine Dive.
Some blame climate change for the current debacle, saying that Miami and Venice, Italy, are also disappearing, so why would Park City parking spaces be immune?
Californians are also widely suspected of being responsible. The situation may be the result of Silicon Valley elites collecting the spaces to stitch together and turn into helipads for commuting, some believe.
Others suspect that criminals slipped into town undetected and made off with the spots to sell on the black market. Police have pledged to monitor the Nextdoor app and various local Facebook “sell your stuff” pages for anyone trying to sell the missing spaces.
Yet another theory holds that disappearing parking must be result of the decline in civil political discourse, with everyone convinced the fault lies 100 percent with whichever party isn’t theirs.
While speculation rages on as to the cause, the effects of the disappearing spaces are perhaps even more disturbing. Reports have come in of homeowners hiring moose, elk and deer to squat in parking spaces while they’re away to “hold” them, paying the animals in wilted greens that are too far gone to be used in smoothies.
Others are leaving their cars in areas where the parking spaces used to be, despite there being nothing there anymore other than dangerous mounds of icy snow that drivers must navigate, sometimes while wearing impractical footwear.
These extreme actions, unsurprisingly, produce a domino effect. People are now spying on their neighbors’ wildlife domestication efforts, speeding desperately through parking lots, removing snow irresponsibly in an effort to make new parking spaces, and generally behaving more like aggressive East Coast drivers than the happy mountain bums they once were.
“We’ve seen a significant uptick in reports of failure to smile from motorists, failure to wave too,” said an officer speaking on condition of anonymity. “And the reverse games of chicken are way down at the four-way stops. People are just taking their turns right away instead of waiting to see if anyone else is in more of a hurry.”
He asked residents to keep the faith while officials work to solve the mystery.
He added that drivers should remain calm, report any unusual behavior, take the bus, and keep all eyes peeled for those spaces, which may turn up at a later time. And smile.
A group of Old Town residents say in a letter to the editor that Park City is better off leaving land on Marsac Avenue as open space than developing it into affordable housing.