Parking, Transit Both Sticking Points for PCMR Base Development
The Park City Planning Commission further discussed the coming major development to Park City Mountain Resort’s base area at their meeting on Wednesday. Issues concerning parking and transportation still need to be worked out.
To put it lightly, parking and getting around at any ski resort on a crowded day is a pain. Park City Mountain Resort is no exception.
The Park City Planning Commission hoped to address these issues at this week’s meeting with detailed presentations both from city staff and the development group behind the base development project, PEG Companies.
The proposed plans would develop the north end of the resort’s base area, where the current surface-level parking lots are, and build condominiums, a hotel, retail space, as well as some affordable and employee housing units.
Parking would still be at the base area, but it would be moved underground to large lots beneath the development.
PEG also proposes building two roundabouts on Silver King Drive in order to improve traffic flow to and from the base area.
Park City Municipal staff raised concerns that PEG has not adequately addressed these issues on Wednesday night. Park City Senior Planner Alexandra Anath said the city wants to see more details from PEG when it comes to sidewalks, trailhead access, and, most notably, parking.
“I will note that parking has been very constrained over the last two years during peak periods at the resort, so we want to make sure we get the correct number of parking stalls or we are able to shift trips over to transit,” said Anath.
Anath noted that PEG’s current proposal would maintain the current number of parking stalls at the base of PCMR, which is about 1,200. The master plan for the base of PCMR that was approved in 1997 had plans for 1,800 underground parking stalls.
Public comment on the project was almost exclusively concerned with parking and dangers associated with increased traffic flow around the resort.
Although the city would like to see plans for more base-area parking, the developers said increasing parking could easily lead to more overcrowding on the mountain.
Pete Williams is the Director of Mountain Planning for SE Group, a firm that has been involved in the planning and design of ski resorts for over 60 years. He said it’s important for Park City to not make the same mistakes other resorts around the country have with their parking.
“Increasing parking does not increase resort capacity,” Williams explained. “Your on-mountain capacity is kind of what it is and you want to have enough parking to be able to get people there, but doubling the amount of parking capacity would not double the on-mountain capacity.”
Williams said determining the daily on-mountain ski and snowboard capacity of a resort is the most important measure of how much parking is needed. According to SE Group’s data, PCMR’s comfortable capacity is about 12,500 visitors and factors in visitors within walking distance of the resort, those who take mass transit, and those who come by car.
Williams said adding 600 additional parking stalls would add, on average, 1,700 visitors per day.
Commissioner Laura Suesser asked what can be done to encourage visitors to not drive to the resort. Williams said incentivizing public transit and implementing paid parking are the most common and most effective ways other resorts around the country have reduced parking issues.
Issues regarding parking and future transportation in the base area still have a ways to go before they are approved by the planning commission. Commissioner John Kenworthy summed things up by saying it’s important the hard work is done now to get the project right.
“This is our opportunity,” he said. “We want to get it right and this is our opportunity. If we don’t get it right, we’re going to be waiting 50, 60 years for a remodel to try and get it right. I don’t want to rush it and I’ll just end saying this is it. This is our opportunity.”
The Park City Planning Commission and PEG are set to revisit a revised base area development proposal at the next planning commission meeting, tentatively scheduled for October 28th.