Guest editorial: The heart of the PCMR controversy |

Guest editorial: The heart of the PCMR controversy

George Karlsven Provo

I am very grateful for the Park City Planning Commission’s courage to stand up to Vail’s failure to manage its business correctly. Some are focusing on the mountainside. But the key issue involved has little to do with lift capacity. Decades ago the city linked parking management with lift development. The link was the notion of carrying capacity. The heart of the controversy is PCMR failure to provide adequate free parking to accommodate the increased crowds.

Parking on the park city side of the resort will all become paid parking next season. PCMR has completely failed to address the consequences of this decision. Many if not most people skiing on the park city side will try to park free by parking in neighborhoods and commercial parking areas, creating a nightmare. This will also impact neighborhoods not adjacent to the resort. Park city has a free bus system which works well. There are not enough free parking lots that can provide parking for people to ride the bus to PCMR. People will park in neighborhoods all over the town that have bus stops nearby, again creating a nightmare.

The solution is for PCMR to build satellite parking lots that are free and have the city bus system service those lots. This will solve the nightmare that has been created by Vail’s failure to creatively manage its business and the consequences of their Epic pass explosion.

While Vail has created this mess by failing to step up to the plate on its own, it is also important to recognize that their success also creates success for many businesses and individuals in Park City. That is why it is reasonable for the community financed free bus system be used to ferry skiers and boarders from the free parking lots to PCMR. Both groups (Vail and the citizens of Park City) need to have “skin in the game” to solve this problem long term.

Citizens and the planning commission are using the carrying capacity of lifts as a lever to force Vail to solve this problem which has been created by Vail management failures. This is one of two leverage points that Park City has to deal with this situation. The other is the approval process for the parking lot development on the PCMR side. If these two leverage points are not used effectively there is little real chance of a genuine long term solution that will create a win win for citizens, visitors and Vail.

This is also an opportunity to incorporate Altera and Deer Valley into the solution. Both resorts are facing similar issues re parking management. And the solution is the same for Deer Valley. It should be required to create (jointly with Vail) free satellite parking lots which are serviced by the Park City bus system.

This is an opportunity for the Mayor, City Manager, the COO of Vail and Deer Valley Management to sit down and work this out. Frankly this is the kind of problem that should have been addressed by top City staff some time ago. The next year should be devoted to solving this issue. No approvals of any future development in these two resorts should be allowed until this problem is resolved.

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