Word About Town

How Park City is Fighting Event Fatigue

The city council is stepping in to mitigate traffic and overcrowding caused by an ever-expanding calendar of events.

By Larry Warren December 8, 2018 Published in the Winter/Spring 2018-19 issue of Park City Magazine

Park City's uber-busy event calendar leads to big crowds and heavy traffic, but the city council hopes to give residents a few quiet moments by adding regulations for new special events.

Image: Dana Parker

If Park City feels busier now, that’s because it is. And it’s prompting city government to review the frequency, size, and timing of events that disrupt traffic, soak up parking, and heighten noise and crowds.

“Enough’s enough—there’s traffic everywhere,” City Councilman Steve Joyce remarks, echoing a complaint he hears frequently.

This fall, city council adopted regulations redefining how the special events team approves new happenings, particularly during event-heavy times. According to Jenny Diersen, the city’s events manager, the goal is to create calendar predictability for the community, while reducing impact on transportation and public safety. “We aren’t shutting our doors. We just can’t take more event impact during the busiest times.” 

In addition to reducing overlap and crowds, it likely means the city will not approve new, sizable events—now ranked on a scale from a level 3, such as the half-day Shot Ski shindig, to a level 5, à la full-throttle Sundance Film Festival—during 11 peak times. Last year, those high-impact events numbered 37. The new approach could even mean a few quiet, event-free weekends.

“It’s a delicate balance with many perspectives,” says Diersen. “We’re looking five years out. We don’t know if there will be more or less events, but there will be change.”

Change Councilman Joyce hopes creates that balance “and keeps Park City a desirable place to live.”

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