With the 2020 Sundance Film Festival only a week away, the city braces for impact.
One of the biggest changes to traffic operations during Sundance is the designation of Park Avenue as a one-way road. Except for transit buses, emergency vehicles, snowplows and Park Avenue residents with access passes, the street will be for outbound traffic only. Additionally, public parking on both sides of Park Avenue is removed, with the west side of the road available only to residents. Park City Special Events Manager Jenny Diersen says it’s a strategy to cut down on neighborhood traffic.
“During the festival over the last couple of years, we've really noticed, especially that first weekend, a lot of people are using Park Avenue specifically to come into town, and that creates a great deal of congestion in our residential roads," Diersen said. "That's something we really are working to cut down and decrease, so that is one of the reasons, the main reasons, that we looked at doing that.”
The city will increase transit services during Sundance by running later, opening the Homestake lot to Main Street employees and opening the Richardson Flat park-and-ride lot. Diersen says Sundance funds transit operations from Richardson Flat, and this year, the route has changed—it’ll take riders to the Prospector Theater instead of Park City High School.
“Those routes run from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m., and that's an amazing thing, all 10 days of the festival," Diersen said. "We continue to see increased ridership in that route specifically.”
As for parking, everything in Old Town will either be paid or permitted, with much of the street parking on and around Main Street closed. Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort have agreed to allow free parking in their lots after 4 p.m.
During the festival, Park City implements what Diersen calls a dynamic parking fee schedule, where costs vary depending on demand. One notable change is for China Bridge parking on Jan. 24 and 25, the first Friday and Saturday of the festival. This year, it costs $60 to park there, a $20 increase from last year. Diersen says when the city implemented paid parking in China Bridge a couple years ago, it intended to make parking there $60 for the entire festival, and the city changed the fee this year based on data. Diersen doesn’t think the increase will cause people to drive through Old Town neighborhoods looking for parking.
“My feeling, based on the past, is the parking garage has been full at that $40 rate that Friday and Saturday, and we anticipate it will still be full on Friday and Saturday," Diersen said. "We really are looking at this as another way to incentivize that transit and those alternate modes of transportation to get to the Main Street area. There is not a lot of public parking available.”
Additionally, the city is suspending its recently implemented drop-and-load permit program for taxis and lodging shuttles during Sundance. The Wasatch Brew Pub and South Marsac parking lots will act as drop off and pick up areas for the general public. As a Sundance sponsor, Lyft drivers have their own drop-and-load areas. More information about parking, transportation and real-time alerts is available in the Park City Community Guide at parkcity.org.