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Park City Municipal Seeks Input From Main Street Businesses On Commercial Vehicle Drop Zones

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The Historic Park City Alliance received an update on Park City Municipal’s recent efforts to address Old Town traffic and transportation. 

The Park City Council recently instructed city staff to move ahead on some recommended next steps for addressing traffic circulation and access in Old Town, including launching a comprehensive study of traffic patterns and drivers; adding wayfinding signage to keep commercial traffic out of residential neighborhoods; and designating zones for commercial vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers, in an effort to curb double-parking.

Senior Transportation Planner Alexis Verson, who will conduct the study and is the city’s public engagement point person for this initiative, says the city has been meeting with a group of local, for-hire transportation companies to strategize the drop-and-load zones and a permitting process for them. Individual drivers will need to buy a city permit, to be displayed on the vehicle, to park in those zones.

At the HPCA’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Park City Economic Development Manager Jonathan Weidenhamer presented the plan to the board and representatives from Main Street businesses. Staff has identified “hotspots” in the downtown core where it would make sense to have drop-and-load zones for commercial vehicles—heavily trafficked areas around restaurants, where guests spend the most time in the evening.  Weidenhamer pointed to spots at the Wasatch Brew Pub; near Chimayo and Java Cow; at the Post Office, which could service O’Shucks and NoName Saloon; near the 9th Street trolley turnaround; and on Swede Alley.

The parking would allow permitted commercial vehicles only to drop and load passengers from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily, but to further dissuade traffic on Main Street, the spots could also be designated as 15-minute parking for Main Street visitors until 5 p.m. The city’s hope is to divert cars to the China Bridge Parking Garage for their longer visits to Main Street.

The HPCA was split on whether to support keeping the spaces as parking as usual until 5 p.m. or to have them be 15-minute parking until 5 p.m. They elected to send a survey to their members to gauge their interest in one policy over the other.

Although the city has involved local taxi and transportation companies, including lodging shuttles, in the conversation, Verson says it’s difficult to engage transportation network companies such as Lyft and Uber. Under state law, TNCs are not subject to the same licensure requirements and local regulations as taxi drivers. If individual TNC drivers wish to park in the designated drop-and-load zones, though, they will need a permit. Weidenhamer says the city will look at different ways to minimize the effects of TNCs through other enforcement measures.

City staff will update the city council on Sept. 12 with the input they’ve collected and what strategies they recommend implementing. Weidenhamer says they’ll return to the council with a report on the pilot parking project before the peak winter season hits.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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