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Overflow parking on Thaynes Canyon Dr. prohibited until plan is established

Parking on Thaynes Canyon Drive
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Parking on Thaynes Canyon Drive

Thaynes Canyon Drive has been used for years as overflow parking for the municipal golf course and White Pine Touring’s Nordic skiing center. That’s set to change this year.

In April, Park City staff told the city council that parking along Thaynes Canyon is actually illegal per the city’s code.

Legally, parking is limited to a small surface lot and garage, which also serves Hotel Park City and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It has roughly 191 striped spots.

In response, the Park City Council ordered the golf course this summer to come up with a plan to manage parking for the overflow area since it is essential for business operations.

According to a staff report, the golf course ordered visitors to only use the extra space along the street for parking when all other spaces had been filled. The report says people used the overflow area 33 times between May and October. During that time, 19 cars were ticketed and one was towed.

Golf course manager Vaughan Robinson told the council after a month of struggling to get people to understand the new restrictions, it generally worked well. The golf course also offered incentives for carpooling, like free buckets of driving range balls.

Traffic and parking issues in the Thaynes Canyon neighborhood over the last couple of years have led to friction between residents, the city, White Pine, and the golf course, as parking often overflowed into residential areas.

Councilor Jeremy Rubell lives in the area and told KPCW he and his neighbors worry about safety on the road due to constant traffic, cars lining the street, and no sidewalk for pedestrians.

Compounding the problem is the growth in popularity of getting outside. Just like the increase in hikers during warm months, more people have been giving cross country skiing a try in winter.

White Pine Touring has had a contract with the city for decades to use the golf course for Nordic skiing during the winter.

The city also asked White Pine to come up with a short-term plan to use Thaynes for overflow parking in a way that would solve or lessen the neighborhood problems.

White Pine proposed limiting the hours for overflow parking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on most days. In the past, it was open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In a work session last week, the council chose not to adopt that plan, opting to hold out for what it hopes will be a better compromise.

That led to confusion, with some council members and White Pine saying they thought that meant overflow parking would be allowed for now, just like in decades past.

However, that is not the case. The overflow parking area, which stretches from White Pine Touring over to Three Kings Dr., is roped off until the council approves a plan. That means parking there is prohibited, and anyone who does so should expect a ticket.

This contradicts information KPCW reported Monday. This article further clarifies information from the Park City Trails and Open Space Department.

Residents who use the Nordic center said the extra parking is important, with one calling it a “mandatory need.”

Heinrich Deters is the city’s trails and open space manager.

“Council direction was to basically work with councilwoman Toly, who’s the trails liaison, and White Pine Touring, to return with an updated new plan,” Deters said. “And we’re hoping to do so early December. I’m really pushing that timeline because it is an important discussion.”

Deters called the issue the “winter pickleball,” referring to the conflict over court time between tennis and pickleball players that has generated a lot of discussion in the community.

“The agreement with the council was to look at these short-term," he said.

"We’re currently looking at the winter. And then we’ll be coming back with the parking analysis associated with that area very, very soon. It’s almost ready. We’re also looking at the walkability aspects or possibilities in that area, and we’ll be coming back in probably the next month to have that discussion, and then seek a long-term solution.”