The Park City Council received an update Tuesday on the city’s transportation demand management plan, including on how parking strategies are working in Park City.
The transportation demand management program, or TDM, works to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and vehicle miles travelled through several programs, including bike share, park and rides, transit and parking.
Park City Parking Manager Johnny Wasden noted there’s more consistent daily use of parking on Main Street than in the China Bridge parking garage. Wasden says China Bridge is also less used Monday through Thursday after 5 p.m. and that car drivers are passing up the parking garage for what they may perceive as less restrictive parking.
“That might be attributed to the gates," Wasden said. "Folks drive by who aren’t familiar with town, and they kind of say, 'oh, that might not be for me, I don't want to pull in there and have someone pull up behind me and I can't get out.”
China Bridge comes closest to full capacity, unsurprisingly, during peak events—Fourth of July; the Park Silly Markets; Kimball Arts Festival and Tour of Utah. But the garage mostly never reaches its full capacity, which is around 600 cars. Additionally, Wasden says the maintenance of equipment in China Bridge incurs high costs and provides daily problems.
“I was considering putting a montage together for everyone of all the damages that we see, whether it be accidental or if someone pops the gate open and lets all their friends out at 1 o’ clock in the morning, then the sheriff's office calls me," Wasden said. "But we have a lot of instances. I think we had three in the last week where the gates were nonfunctional due to some kind of impact, or someone just popping them up.”
Councilmember Lynn Ware Peek asked why China Bridge had gates installed to begin with. Wasden says he’s not sure but believes it might be time to change the parking management strategy in China Bridge to be consistent with Main Street’s metering system.
“I would recommend taking them out and replacing them with the parking meter system, just because it does encourage free-flowing traffic," Wasden said. "It doesn't cause the backup at the street level. You wouldn't need to have a parking attendant to take payments, or anything like that. They could just go find their spot, pay with their phone or at a meter, and then be able to extend their session remotely as they do on Main Street.”
Moving forward, Wasden says transportation staff wants to better communicate information about China Bridge to the public and to Main Street employees while still using the cost of parking to deter driving and encourage commuters and visitors to take transit instead.