Vail Valley Voices: More buildings at Ford Park?
February 10, 2013
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vail
Ford Park may see an application for a learning center and office building associated with the Alpine Gardens. There are those who oppose more buildings in Ford Park. Others caution that spending down the town’s cash reserves is ill advised, as prospects for unsettled national and worldwide financial conditions still lurk.
Interstate 70 could affect Vail in summer 2013 and beyond. The summer of 2013 may have bigger economic challenges to overcome than 2012. Day trippers are a significant part of the summer tourism trade.
Construction of an I-70 tunneling project near Idaho Springs is beginning, which may bring with it heightened traffic congestion. Ironic, since the project is meant to cure congestion.
Recession realities are causing the Colorado Department of Transportation to fund studies to determine the feasibility of constructing privatized toll lanes on I-70. Studies are also under way to build a passenger high-speed rail line to reduce traffic congestion on the I-70 intermountain corridor. None appear to include methods to reduce road noise pollution.
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Expansion of truck chain stations is under review for east Vail. The department of transportation is looking to expand chain stations near the east Vail Interchange and the Bald Mountain Road neighborhood.
Neighbors are objecting to increased pollution from exhaust fumes, lighting and traffic congestion.
The Vail Homeowners Association is suggesting a traffic management solution in which smaller truck staging areas are created downvalley closer to Vail than the main staging area at Dotsero, located 40 miles west of Vail near the east entrance to Glenwood Canyon. This would cut lag time for trucks, given authorization to move to the limited number of chain-up stalls at the Vail chain station.
The same system could be applied to the east side of Vail Pass regulating the number of trucks using Vail’s chain-down stalls. Transportation officials say they will give further consideration to this approach.
Some remain hopeful that I-70 traffic noise control will get attention from the town of Vail. They are suggesting the town study a defensive strategy combining sound barriers with burying portions of the interstate.
This approach would allow the community to be linked together through a series of vehicular and pedestrian overpasses. The aim is to give long-term protection to the entire community from the environmental degradation caused by the blight of road noise.
Another option is to further investigate removing I-70 altogether via a bypass tunnel under Vail Mountain. With the department of transportation now considering privatization of toll lanes, such an approach could be used to rid Vail of I-70, perhaps a goal for Vail’s next 50 years.
Next year may see school taxes back on the ballot. Some are saying a school district proposal to increase property taxes countywide will be back on the ballot this year. They attribute its likelihood to what they allege is the divisive strategy by school authorities to implement budget cuts.
Proponents for the tax increase, some critics say, are attributing their failure in 2011 to pass a school tax increase on the poor participation of the parents of school-aged children.
Critics disagree, saying local economic conditions still remain a motivating factor in curbing tax increases, particularly to cover increased operating costs, as was the intent of the 2011 balloting.
Parents of students from Vail’s only public school, Red Sandstone Elementary, are complaining of unfair budget treatment in the allocation of operating costs by the school district to their school. The parents unsuccessfully sought funding from town of Vail’s elected officials, who laid it back on school officials to resolve. Parents worry about potential closure of the school.