Park City had its first car-free Sunday on Main Street June 14. KPCW was on the ground to check everything out.
It was definitely not business as usual on Park City’s Main Street on Sunday with no cars, people in facemasks, and social distancing measures in place. Hundreds of people roamed the street throughout the day while groups of bikers maneuvered between them.
With the City Council voting last month to close Main Street to traffic on Sundays for the summer, local business and restaurants took to the street. The measures allowed for better social distancing opportunities for customers who were perhaps a little wary of heading inside during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 15 businesses in total registered to participate this week, ranging from retail stores, to bars and restaurants, to art galleries.
Kevin Valaika is with Main Street’s Shabu restaurant and said he thinks the event will only grow bigger as the summer goes on and word gets out.
“This is the first one and I think it will gain momentum as we keep doing it," he said. "The first time you run anything, you can’t really have super high expectations. I think the word will spread.”
The Historic Park City Alliance’s Alison Kuhlow said on KPCW’s Mountain Money that many participating businesses met, or in some cases even surpassed, their retail numbers from the same weekend last year. If those trends continue throughout the summer, Kuhlow says the event will prove to be a success.
Bob and Megan Flannery are Park City locals and came out with their dog, Murphy, for a lunch in the sunshine. They said the event made things almost feel normal given everything that has happened over the past few months. Bob said he feels like it’s his responsibility to support local businesses in these tough times.
“If we want all these great businesses, we have to come out," Flannery said. "That’s why we came out today. We’re going to find a nice place for lunch, we’re going to make sure we leave a great tip for all the hard working service folks that work here, and if we want that as part of our city, we gotta support it. It’s up to us and I feel that responsibility. Plus, it’s fun.”
Local businesses weren’t the only one’s taking advantage of the increased foot traffic on Main Street.
Incoming Park City High School sophomore Oliver Diazmoore has been playing the cello for almost six years. He and his older sister Zoe took the opportunity to serenade Main Street and collect donations. Someday, Oliver hopes to attend the National Cello Institute and said car-free Sundays give him a great chance to play for new people.
“Oh it’s just a great opportunity," Diazmoore said. "I love doing it. It’s a great chance to practice and I get to play for all these people.”
If you have a business in the Main Street Business Improvement District and would like to participate this coming Sunday, you will have to notify the city no later than Thursday.