Park City leaders on Thursday will likely hold a special meeting to consider an idea crafted by Main Street businesses to close the street to traffic on Sundays in the summer and early fall in favor of a pedestrian zone.
A Park City Council meeting had not been scheduled by Tuesday morning. Park City Manager Matt Dias at that time said in an interview a special meeting will probably be called for Thursday. Details about a meeting, such as the time, were not available by Tuesday morning.
City Hall staffers by that time had also not drafted a report about the topic. The report will be important to any upcoming meeting. It will outline the details of a pedestrian zone and the required closure of Main Street.
The city manager said the City Council could cast a vote on the topic at a meeting on Thursday. A public hearing would also be held. If the City Council approves the plans, Dias said, the first pedestrian day on Main Street could be June 14.
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The Historic Park City Alliance, which represents businesses on Main Street or just off the street, wants the City Council to approve the plan to pedestrianize Main Street on Sundays in an effort to boost business on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip at a time when there is concern that worries about the spread of the novel coronavirus could hurt sales.
Businesses on Main Street suffered through the spring after the early closure of the mountain resorts and the broad shutdown of commerce. The Main Street businesses have started reopening, and the crowds on the street during the three-day Memorial Day weekend appeared to be, by a wide margin, the largest since the shutdown.
Concerns, though, remain after the cancellation of the Park Silly Sunday Market season, which typically draws large crowds on Sundays, and the Tour of Utah bicycling race, an event that usually draws among the largest one-day crowds of the year to Main Street. There are also questions about the amount of day-tripping visitors who will arrive this summer.
Supporters say a pedestrianized Main Street could be especially attractive at a time of social distancing. The concept would offer additional space for pedestrians off Main Street sidewalks, which can sometimes become crowded during the busiest times of the summer.
The concept of pedestrianizing Main Street calls for the removal of vehicles from two stretches of road — one from Heber Avenue south to the Brew Pub lot and the other from Heber Avenue north to 9th Street. The cross streets of 9th Street and Heber Avenue would remain open. The design of the pedestrian zone also attempts to discourage traffic from entering the neighborhood surrounding Main Street, a concern of people who live in the southern reaches of Old Town.
The elected officials at a meeting last week mentioned the Historic Park City Alliance idea but were not scheduled to discuss the topic in any depth. A City Council meeting this week would be the first opportunity for a detailed discussion. The mayor and City Council will likely address topics like the impacts on traffic and how state alcohol regulations are applied in this case.