Park City Begins Efforts to Take Back the Roads From Cars, Starting in Old Town

Aug 19, 2020

Credit Park City Municipal

Park City Transit staff have implemented traffic calming measures on Hillside Avenue in response to issues raised by residents living in the area. Carolyn Murray has an update on what has been done and how well it is working.

Park City Council has instructed the transit staff to address traffic calming in Old Town with projects that include drop and load zones, directional streets and pedestrian amenities. 

Park City Transportation Planner Alexis Verson says council directed staff to be more aggressive in prioritizing pedestrians, bicycles and transit in the commercial and residential area of Old Town.

“We have heard for years from residents in that area, they feel like they're being negatively impacted by some of the commercial traffic that's been mixing into the neighborhood,” Verson said. “So we've done a lot of easy things to implement—signage, messaging, partnerships, low hanging fruit – and now it's sort of gotten to the point where council has asked us to be more aggressive in the way that we're thinking about our streets and reprioritizing that space, which historically has been, in recent history, for cars and for storing cars.” 

Verson says they’ve received reports of speeding on Marsac Avenue and problems with vehicles blowing through the stop sign at the Hillside Avenue intersection. A new flashing stop sign has been installed along with feedback signs encouraging drivers to stay within the speed limit. 

“Added a no-left turn from Marsac onto Hillside if you’re coming in the downhill – so trying to have that commercial traffic access Main Street, lower down and not through the very narrow, constrained residential streets that get more dangerous during snow and during peak hours there,” Verson said. “We’ve also done some striping changes to the Grappa intersection and sort of added to that bulb-out area there to discouraged commercial traffic from going up into Daley and King [roads] and those upper residential areas in Old Town. Also, we’ve redesigned the trolley turnaround at the bottom of Hillside Ave with some striping and planters. It’s partly beautification, but it also delineates space for cars and visually constrains the roadway and helps them slow down and be mindful of where they're going and how fast they're going.” 

The city hasn’t collected enough data to determine if drivers are using the Sandridge lots or Chambers Drive to bypass the no left-hand turn restrictions onto Hillside. Verson says they’ve received primarily positive feedback from residents about the efforts to cut down commercial traffic in the neighborhood. 

“We did add signage on those small streets like Chambers that says ‘residential access only,’” Verson said. “It’s an A-frame in the middle of the street to really discourage that leak-through of traffic. Our police force is keeping an eye on that and sort of looking for egregious behavior there.” 

Park City police officers made 18 traffic stops between Aug. 12 and 14, primarily for failure to comply with the no left turn sign from Marsac to Hillside Avenue. Park City Police Sgt. Rob McKinney says he and other officers have found that few of the violations have been committed by commercial drivers. They’re mostly issuing warnings and working to educate motorists about the new traffic regulations. 

“The majority of stops or the violations that we saw were just from the general motoring public,” he said. “And it was actually quite a few from out of town in rental cars and they said that their GPS was routing them that way. So, obviously with the new regulatory sign, sometimes there’s a delay with applications like a typical GPS.” 

McKinney says they’ve received many positive comments from residents who are appreciative of the enforcement efforts. 

Verson says the city is continuing to look for ways to make the flow of traffic in Old Town more mindful and strategic with an orientation towards pedestrians, neighborhood safety and transit access. City staffers will present more specific plans to address the winter season at the Sept. 17 Park City Council meeting.