Just more than six months ago, Park City instituted its new paid parking program. Parking officials recently delivered an update to the city council about how they thought it worked this past winter. KPCW spoke to an Old Town resident, businesses and employees to get their thoughts. Melissa Allison has more:
Some of the goals of the new parking program were to maintain available parking during peak times; reduce traffic congestion; and implement viable solutions to accommodate those traveling to and from Old Town, including employees. For this summer, the goals remain the same.
Park City had its first big event-filled weekend June 23rd and 24th. The two days included the Park City Latino Arts Festival, Savor the Summit and the Park Silly Sunday Market. KPCW went and asked businesses on Main St. as well as a resident on Park Ave. what they thought about it.
Ren Brian has worked at Artworks Gallery on Main St. for about a year and said, while she has no issues since she lives by the library, she gets an earful from her fellow employees.
“My coworkers are frustrated with it, just as far as it comes to like getting to work on time," Brian said. "You know, there is the bus and I use it and I walk up and it works for me but, it doesn’t work for my coworker who is a mom and has to drive her kids around and like, during the school year pick them up from school, then come to work and like, go grocery shopping and like so it’s a different experience, so I know that’s hard.”
As for their customers – Brian said they’re not happy with the new program either.
No Name Saloon Manager Hector Martinez said the program has negatively impacted their business. Their motorcycle customers told Martinez it’s too expensive to park on Main St. or in China Bridge.
“Usually you wouldn’t see any parking spots on the street," Martinez said. "Now you can see many spaces - you can see how hardly we get people from, when I get here at 5 o’clock until 7, 8 o’clock, People don’t come because they refuse to pay the $5.”
With the parking charges going up to $5 an hour on the weekends and starting at 10 a.m. versus $3 an hour starting at 5 p.m. during the week. Martinez thinks Kimball Junction is benefiting from Park City’s program.
“Now with the increase during the weekend, I think that makes people don’t want to come to Main," Martinez said. "You know, why would I go to Main when I can go to Kimball and go to a bar, being able to park my car and not pay $5 bucks per hour?”
He said their customers come to Old Town ready to spend money, but not on parking. His employees are not happy either.
“Especially because in one of the meetings that we had, they said that the paid parking was only for the high season and the low season they’re still charging so it was like, no change," Martinez said. "Everybody was thinking that only during the winter or special events it was going to be the paid parking and that wasn’t the case. They still have to park down there, bring all their stuff and their commute is a little bit longer now.”
Dugins West Owner Robert Dugins said parking problems for resort towns is not a new issue and that Park City is doing the best they can. Even so, he’s not necessarily a fan.
“Our employees, our night employees have had to use public transportation and the parking lot to deal with it," Dugins said. "And it’s a challenge for them, it increases their time to work.”
Longtime resident Sandra Hall has lived on Park Ave. for 50 years. During the special events the city places signs along the street saying only residents could park there. Hall said it’s a waste of time.
“You know we had three major events," Hall said. "We had the Latino Arts Festival, we had the event on Main St. and then we had Silly Market. So, parking all weekend was just, ugh, the traffic was back and forth and cars were you know, parking and, just making it impossible to kind of get in and out of your driveway.”
She said while, organizers for the Park Silly Sunday Market work hard to mitigate their impacts on the community, Park Ave. still gets hit hard. What she doesn’t understand is why the city doesn’t provide an on street parking permit.
“Park Ave. is the only street that does not let the residents have an on-street parking permit," Hall said. "People who are on Woodside and the other streets have a thing they can put in their window and they can park on the street, you know, at anytime.
City officials have stated several times at council meetings and to KPCW that it’s a matter of changing people’s habits which will take time.
KPCW reached out to City Hall for comment, but no one was available.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.