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Park City Manager hopeful that new resort traffic plan will alleviate congestion

KPCW Radio

With more people trying to access Park City Mountain Resort than ever before, officials say the traffic and parking situation has become overwhelming and unsafe. Park City Municipal is stepping in to provide enforcement of the new parking and traffic management system put into place last week - and it’s charging the resort to do so.

“There are just at times too many people trying to access a single location.”

That’s Park City Manager Matt Dias who says that the city has partnered with Park City Mountain Resort to try and protect the residential areas around the resort and reduce the traffic and congestion at the base of the resort. He’s hopeful the plan will make things better, but there’s a learning curve as resort guests get used to the new traffic flow. There are also just too many cars trying to get to the resort all at the same time...

“[We] took a step back and have been working with the resort wholeheartedly and we have deployed multiple vision divisions throughout the municipality,” Dias said. “But we do hope it actually gets better and clearly there's some kinks that we need to work out. Saturday was somewhat overwhelming.”

While Sunday was a bit better, he says the system will be tweaked on an ongoing basis.

“This next week is some of the highest visitation our community will experience throughout the winter,” Dias said. “And Vail Resorts has assured us that they will have all hands on deck and then the municipality will be supplementing where we can, and then again, a little bit in the crosshairs of whose responsibility it is. I mean clearly at the resort base that is wholeheartedly Vail’s responsibility.”

Dias says the city is billing the resort for the costs it is incurring by staffing the intersections from Thaynes Canyon south to 14th St. He says they need the public’s cooperation to follow the plan and quit cutting through neighborhoods.

“You know, [we] had a lot of feedback from people that are just used to accessing the resort by cutting through neighborhoods using 14th Street using 15th Street using Three Kings Drive” Dias said. “Those were some of our toughest customers about trying to put them back in the channel or put them on a bus instead. And so clearly, we've got some things to work on and we'll do our best to try to meet the community's needs and then balancing the private obligations of the of the resort.”

As the city planning commission considers PEG’s request for more development at the base of the resort without the required amount of parking, Dias says the city would like to see the resort begin charging for parking and push those who are unwilling to pay for parking to get on a bus.

“The municipality has spoken on that ,” Dias said, “and we've spoken firmly. I mean, if you look at our own system here in Old Town, which is arguably among the most congested locations in our entire town where real estate and parking and rights of way are incredibly congested at times, we price our parking inventory. We have a scarce resource, and we're trying to push people into public transportation at all times when possible. And so, I think it's illustrative that that's where we feel that the change would probably make the greatest impact with regard to transit first.”

Park City Mountain Resort COO Mike Goar will be making a presentation to the city council at Thursday’s meeting just after 6 o’clock, following an update from State Rep. Mike Kohler.