PARK CITY, Utah -- Police in Park City say expensive damage at a parking garage may be related to a recent shift away from free parking.
At the China Bridge Garage in Swede Ally, next to City Hall, the city started charging $3.00/hour after 6:00 p.m. The change went into effect December 15th, 2017 in order to cut down on vehicle use within the city.
“Free parking attracts vehicles, and we have a vehicle problem in Park City,” explained Park City Councilman Tim Henney.
Henney said employees who work on Main Street were using the free parking and making it hard for customers to park and spend their money on Main Street.
“In our peak times you’ll get four people who come in for a 7:00 p.m or 8:00 p.m. reservation, and they’ll say ‘Our fifth will be shortly,’ and you know what the fifth is doing? They’re driving around town looking for a parking space.”
The problem now is that disgruntled drivers are refusing to pay at the China Bridge Garage and are breaking through the gate arms. It costs $1,000 to fix it each time.
Park City Police report the gate arms have been broken four times at that parking structure since December 31.
“We do think that some of those are motivated by the fact that they have started to regulate that parking,” Police Chief Wade Carpenter said.
The city encourages people to park at free locations farther away from downtown, then take the free city transportation with access to Main Street.