Developing better access to parking at the Utah State Fairpark will be a prime consideration for the state fair board this winter.
Board Chairman Bill Shaw said traffic congestion at the main entrance to the park at 200 North and 1000 West is critical during crowded periods. Shaw and other board members expressed fear that many potential fairgoers are not returning because of the frustration experienced in trying to park quickly.Fair traffic now enters the parking facility off 1000 West and exits onto 300 North. Switching the directional flow would not help, Shaw said, because it would force entering traffic through residential neighborhoods and would also conflict with traffic bringing animal trailers into the fair compound.
Shaw said the best solution may be to add a second entrance on 1000 West. He said there is an existing driveway between the present entrance and 300 North that is blocked by fencing. He said opening a second entrance during peak periods would move traffic faster and eliminate conflicts between northbound and southbound vehicles trying to turn.
The board also discussed using people to control traffic. Jackie Nokes, state fair director, said Salt Lake City has refused requests in the past to provide police for traffic control. She said she was not sure if using private traffic-control people would be legal.
The board decided to explore both options in upcoming meetings.
Nokes also told the board that one of the construction proposals she is sending to the state will seek $507,000 to improve parking facilities on the south side of North Temple adjacent to the Fairpark. The area formerly was the site of softball fields. They were abandoned several years ago, and the unimproved area is now used for overflow parking. Nokes said the added parking is needed to help separate groups using the Fairpark during the year. She said the park is almost totally booked with private events during the year and there are times when access to the various areas create conflicts.
Temporary improvements are planned for the area that will accommodate winter parking for the swap meet, which uses the northwest area of the Fairpark complex.