VAIL — The town of Vail could decide Tuesday whether to put more “dismount zone” signs around Vail Village.
The Vail Police Department already has the authority to post such signs without any new ordinances, the same as it can put up “no parking” and “stop” signs, said Chief Dwight Henninger. But the department wants direction from the Vail Town Council before it goes through with adding more dismount signs.
The council first talked about dismount zones in Vail Village last October at the request of business owners and decided to discuss the issue again in the future with public input.
According to the council’s Tuesday meeting agenda memo, the zones “may provide an added safety measure for the pedestrian public in Vail Village.”
Should the town go through with it, the dismount zones would include Bridge and Wall streets, and Gore Creek Drive between Checkpoint Charlie and the east end of the Gorsuch building. The zones would apply to bikes and skateboards, but not to pedicabs.
There are currently dismount signs on the stairs on Wall Street and near the Children’s Foundation, as well as in Lionshead.
The safety concern over bike riders in the Vail Village pops up especially during busy event weekends, such as last weekend’s GoPro Mountain Games. Security at the games asked riders to dismount at the various entrances to the village, but this measure would make those dismount zones permanent.
“Seems like common sense that the pedestrian roads in the village core should be dismount zones — especially during events where hordes of people are milling around,” commented Rae Jensan on the Vail Daily’s Facebook page.
Mark Tamberino, owner of Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ in Minturn, would appreciate the dismount zones during the farmer’s markets.
“I personally have seen some bad crashes in front of my booth caused by both bikers and skateboarders,” he said.
Others feel like the dismount zones are common sense and don’t need enforcement.
“I ride my bike through the villages fairly often and I’m pretty courteous about it. I understand there are pedestrians around, so I ride slowly and always give people a wide berth,” commented Greg Elliott. “I don’t want to hit someone just as much as they don’t want to get hit by me. There are times when it just becomes too congested for me to do that, in those cases it’s no big deal to get off and walk.”
But when folks don’t always follow the unspoken rules of common courtesy and safety, the government steps in.
“Sadly gentlemen, there are far more people in this world that lack common sense than those born with it,” Shane Kennedy said in response to Elliott’s comments.
The Tuesday meeting begins at 6 p.m., with the dismount zone discussion very early on the agenda. The council will take public comment.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2983.