PARK CITY, Utah. — Those traveling to and from the area’s ski resorts during peak traffic hours have probably noticed the increased presence of the Park City Police Department (PCPD) at the intersections of Park Ave., Empire Ave., and Deer Valley Drive. PCPD’s use of cones, undercover and branded police cars with lights flashing, and officers assisting pedestrians in crossing streets, now resemble the bustle of a major city.
The department’s traffic mitigation efforts have been going on for years, said Police Lieutenant Vaifoa Lealaitafea (who goes by Lt. Vai).
“We implemented the measures to help deal with traffic congestion and to help encourage traffic flow,” Vai said.
What’s different this season is an extended period being classified as the ‘Peak Ski Days’ the department plans for.
“When officers are not staffed [at Empire and Deer Valley Drive], it is more likely that vehicles will block the intersection; especially on busy days,” Vai said. “We use officers at the key locations to be a visible deterrent for anything like that and to deter any other type of misbehavior as far as driving goes.”
The increased staffing of the area has succeeded in reducing congestion, Vai said. But local police can’t do it alone.
The occasional officer from Cottonwood Heights or other law enforcement personnel have been lending a hand since PCPD doesn’t have enough officers to staff its peak season traffic operation.
“We just don’t have the numbers to consistently staff the positions and so we utilize outside agencies and our reserve officers to fill the shifts,” Vai said.