Don't let your eyes deceive you, there is plenty of parking in Sugar House.
That's what officials say, despite a number of construction projects that seem to be gobbling up parking and restricting traffic, as shoppers and merchants alike head into the home stretch of the Christmas shopping season.
Help is on the way. The Salt Lake City Transportation Department has assembled a new parking map that is available on the city's website: www.slcgov.com.
It also is available through the Sugar House Merchants Association.
"There is a lot going on. We've got growing pains," said Annalisa Holcombe, chairwoman of the Sugar House Merchants Association. "But it's a fun place to come, and there is plenty of parking if you know where to find it."
Still, some familiar parking areas are now filled with construction equipment, explained Lynn Olson, former trustee of the Sugar House Community Council.
"When the construction vehicles are on the street, it makes parking more difficult," she said. "Because of that, we've been working with Salt Lake City Transportation [Department] for the new parking map of Sugar House."
Sugar House is undergoing something of a renaissance with numerous construction projects that have either begun or will break ground soon, said Bill Knowles, the city's construction ombudsman.
A choke point lurks on Highland Drive just south of 2100 South. There are two major construction projects in that area. And last week a water main broke under Highland Drive that resulted in reducing traffic to one lane in each direction.
"It was just one of those things," Knowles said. "It couldn't have come at a worse time, because the post-Thanksgiving shopping season is on."
Knowles is working with contractors to keep traffic lanes open and construction vehicles off public parking.
"But some of the parking lots are going away to make way for new [commercial and residential] projects," he said. "We're in the process of identifying lesser-known but easily accessible parking out there. We want to let people know what's available."
The Sugar House Streetcar line also is under construction. In some cases, it requires short detours.
Holiday traffic and The Santa Shack on the plaza at 2100 South and 1100 East, along with construction projects, might be challenging for motorists, Holcombe said. But Sugar House offers an experience for shoppers not found elsewhere.
"We have a wonderful mix of shops both national and local," she said. "Sugar House is a very vibrant community."