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Resorts And Advocacy Groups Plan To Observe Solitude Parking Change

Photo courtesy of Solitude Mountain Resort

Citing air quality and congestion Solitude Mountain Resort announced mid-September they will now charge for parking at their resort. The move is being praised by activists and watched carefully by the other resorts.

Parking costs will be tiered based on the number of occupants, those cars with two or less passengers will pay $20 per day, vehicles with three occupants pay $10, and vehicles with four or more people pay just $5 per day.

Carl Fisher, Executive Director of Save our Canyons, speaking on This Green Earth notes that for Solitude season pass holders and Ikon Pass holders, riding the bus is free.

"I should quantify that the bus isn't actually free,” Fisher explained. “Because we all know nothing is actually ever free, somebody is picking up the tab. Solitude picks up the tab for the buses. So, people are saying this is just a greedy resort trying to get more money. If you really feel that way, ride the bus and stick them the tab. I think they have to pay about six or seven dollars per round trip ride. If you don't want to give them five bucks, stick 'em six or seven.”

Fisher says that the organization support Solitudes move saying that behaviors have to change.

Solitude has invested in license plate recognition, and Save Our Canyons says they’re also interested in monitoring the impacts of the change. Fisher says vehicular occupancy in the canyon is currently about 1.5 persons per car.

“If we get three people in a car that's one more car off the road for every extra person in the vehicle,” Fisher said. “If we can get vehicular occupancy up to four or five people, that'll be huge for the canyons. Because right now the resorts are at a point where, do we build more parking lots? Or, do we get people in carpools or on transit?”

Fisher says Solitude is the only resort planning on charging for parking this year.

“Last year, and we gave accolades to Snowbird for doing this, they basically launched an app that incentivized and rewarded carpooling and taking transit,” Fisher continued. “So, you basically could build up points and they're going to continue doing that. But the other resorts said that they were not planning on charging for parking this season.”

Park City Municipal Assistant City Manager Matt Dias said making a recommendation to the local resorts would not fall under their jurisdiction, but they are encouraging those types of changes in the community.

“We are trying to eek every efficiency out of our system by making express lanes for transit, signal prioritization, paid parking in our own cities infrastructure,” Dias explained. “I think over time you're going to see that paid parking is absolutely a component of pushing people into the transit system and out of single occupancy vehicles. Where when parking is free and available because it's an overused resource, it just adds traffic and congestion to our already stressed system at peak periods.”

KPCW reached out to Deer Valley Resort for their thoughts on Solitudes experiment and if they’ll consider charging for parking here’s Deer Valley Senior Communications Manager Emily Summers.

“Deer Valley is continually looking for ways to reduce the number of cars traveling to, and parking at the resort,” Summer said. “We will be monitoring how the new paid parking initiative goes for Solitude this season; however, we aren’t ready to start charging for parking at this time.  We hope to continue to better utilize other methods to reduce the number of cars, such as increased emphasis on carpooling, complimentary lodging shuttles and public transportation systems.”

Park City Mountain responded to our request saying the following:

“There are currently no plans to add additional paid parking areas at Park City Mountain this season. As in years past, we currently offer a select number of preferred, paid parking spots at each base area and offer preferred parking discounts to vehicles with three or more people.

Our focus at Park City Mountain continues to remain on our guests and we strive to continually improve and re-imagine the guest experience at the resort based on their feedback.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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