Vail parking blunders averted, more parking now available in Village structure
July 2, 2008 —
Phew! For a while there I thought I was going crazy. Or, better yet, I thought the Vail Town Council was going crazy.
It’s true that an outbreak of mass hysteria among government officials can be entertaining, but for my part I’m glad even-headedness won the day. Free summer parking will NOT be abolished, nor will free parking on the Frontage Road.
These ideas had reportedly been kicked around by Council members and community members who are concerned about a recent lack of parking in the Village parking structure. The Epic Pass, Vail Resorts’ new discount season pass, had also raised some concerns. Many people are convinced, rightly so, that we’ll see a record number of skiers and riders next season, largely due to the new pass.
Summer parking has already created a fuss. Hundreds of construction workers have been parking in the Village Parking structure and heading to the various big job sites around town. With those spots full, more than a few merchants were upset that potential customers weren’t able to find parking (those who complained, it can be assumed, don’t cater to the needs and wants of construction workers).
Two good things have happened to stem an all-out riot among Vail’s merchants (and Lord knows, nothing makes Vail’s merchants riot like a good ol’ fashioned parking war).
First off, the Vail Town Council voted to move ahead with recommendations from the Parking Task Force.
Secondly, Town Manager Stan Zemler hosted a series of meetings this week with contractors, business community members, and Town of Vail representatives. Free parking for summer guests will be more widely available in the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures for the remainder of the season thanks to a cooperative effort among those groups.
The following is taken from a release on that subject, sent to RealVail by the Town of Vail:
Free parking for summer guests will be more widely available in the Vail Village and LionsHead parking structures for the remainder of the season thanks to a cooperative effort by contractors, members of the business community and the town of Vail. During a series of meetings this week hosted by Town Manager Stan Zemler, employers offered their support to help construction workers and retail employees find alternative parking and transportation options to help free up additional close-in parking spaces for shoppers and diners, especially in the Village structure.
Those options include filling Vail’s available outlying parking spaces at the former Wendy’s lot in West Vail which contains 75 spaces, plus 100 spaces at the town-owned Timber Ridge property on the North Frontage Road, as well as additional spaces that have been located on or near construction sites. Commitments for use of van pools, car pools and public transit also have been pledged by employers in an effort to help redistribute the availability of parking in the two structures. For its part, the town is working with employers to help coordinate bus service adjustments to accommodate the changes.
The parking adjustments are being made following concerns expressed by the business community about lack of available parking for guests during the busy summer tourism season. Zemler, the town staff and members of the Town Council have been working quickly to enlist the community’s help in coordinating the adjustments. “We recognize it’s in everyone’s best interest to provide easy access for our guests and we’re encouraged by the cooperation and support we’ve had from all sectors of the community,” said Zemler.
Participants have included members and representatives from the Vail Chamber and Business Association, business owners and managers, Vail Resorts, the Vail Parking Task Force, plus representatives from the major construction projects, including Four Seasons, Vail’s Front Door, Solaris, Manor Vail, Willows, Mountain View, Lionsquare Lodge North, Bell Tower, Arrabelle and the Ritz-Carlton Residences.
The effort also includes management and monitoring of the parking structures by the town’s newly expanded summer parking staff. In particular, attempts are being made to limit the number of vehicles entering the Vail Village parking structure from 6 to 7:50 a.m. with access limitations continuing throughout the morning. The early morning vehicle cap is intended to free up spaces for designated shopper parking which will be available beginning at 10 a.m. on the top deck of the Village structure as well as the second level of the LionsHead structure. Signs will be placed along the frontage road to direct guests to available parking.
Susie Tjossem, interim director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, says the association has been pleased with the town’s responsiveness and the cooperative effort across the board. “It appears everyone is playing on the same team with the same desired outcome,” she said.
The parking management program will continue today and Thursday, but will be suspended Friday through Sunday during the Fourth of July holiday. That’s because both parking structures are expected to fill quickly which will enable use of the frontage road for overflow parking.
The town will return to its managed parking program on Monday, July 7, and will continue to make adjustments to the program based on community feedback.
In addition to the summer parking operations, the town is preparing plans for its winter parking program. Earlier this week, the Town Council voted unanimously to accept recommendations from its Parking Task Force to work toward adding as many as 550 parking spaces to Vail’s current inventory of 2,815 spaces. For additional information on the task force recommendations, visit the town’s website at vailgov.com.
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