Trouble’s a brewin’ on Main Street, and it all resolves around those pesky ridesharing services. Let’s agree to overlook the irony of Uber, Lyft and the like contributing to rather than alleviating congestion while gutting public transportation and turn to the Park City police blotter, where you’ll find an increasing number of complaints to the police department about ridesharing services and taxis clogging up Main Street. With Sundance in full swing, the corresponding surge in private ridesharing vehicles carrying visitors to town has Parkites staring down the barrel of gridlock Armageddon.
I don’t mean to be too flippant about traffic-related frustration as well documented cases show it can drive people to madness—see the completely bananas story about a 21-year-old who tried to take the gun from a police officer’s belt after being turned around because Brighton’s parking lot was full. Nevertheless, the level of frustration from residents and business owners and the volume of complaints rolling in to the police department hint at a skewed prioritization of grievances. Most people with even a modicum of emotional balance can only listen to a rant regarding a 10-car Lyft-induced backup in front of No Name Saloon with a straight face for so long.
Recent reported cases include an Uber driver impeding an intersection on Swede Alley, a shuttle vehicle unloading passengers without pulling to the side of the road, a vehicle blocking Marsac Avenue, a hit-and-run accident on Main Street and an argument between a security guard and taxi driver among other incidents. Simmering tensions, while occasionally understandable and perhaps inevitable, are an ugly manifestation of the more insular aspects of Park City. The community would be wise to get a grip on such trivialities before more people turn to swiping weapons from law enforcement.
What’s to be done? Historic Old Town isn’t going to sprout new roads, and events like Sundance bring a greater influx of crowds to town with each passing season. The city is more than aware of the grumbling and have responded with new bus lines and park and ride locations—including the new 450-space lot on Kilby Road—which are criminally underutilized by both residents and visitors.
There’s not much air at 7,000 feet, so take a deep breath. The majority of motorists gnashing their teeth behind plodding Uber and Lyft drivers who are just trying to earn some of that Sundance money aren’t taking advantage of what’s already there. Do yourself a favor and keep your blood pressure in check by hopping on a bus during the Film Festival in 2019.
See all of our Sundance coverage here.