Vail Daily column: Just a matter of time
January 24, 2014
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.vailhomeowners.com.
Recent early season snowfalls have exposed the need for improvements in Vail parking facilities. With skiers flocking to Vail to enjoy exceptional powder and no limits on access to Vail Mountain, parking in Vail has been pushed to the limits. Theoretically, the Frontage Road is reserved for overflow from the town's various parking structures but parking on the Frontage Road is becoming the norm, creating serious public safety issues as hundreds of skiers scramble to get on and off the mountain. It seems that it is just a matter of time before some serious accidents occur. This is not a sustainable situation.
The Vail Homeowners Association supports the elimination of Frontage Road parking. Suitable solutions need to be found, other than using park or open space lands, to deal with the influx of visitors. Solutions must recognize the need to provide free short-term shopper parking in Vail's parking structures while at the same time providing day-long skier parking. Otherwise, Vail runs the risk of driving customers away to other areas. In the short term, there needs to be more emphasis on the development of free or inexpensive park and ride lots served by the town's shuttle buses. Longer term, the development of public and private parking structures needs to be encouraged.
At the same time, the efficient and safe movement of traffic through the town needs to be Job 1. The skier demand for access to Vail Mountain has created serious backups at the main Vail exit on Interstate 70. If these problems continue, then attention will need to be directed to safely moving the traffic off the interstate and onto the town's roads. Within the town, the new Simba Run underpass, supported by the homeowners association, will boost traffic flow, even though it is still several years away. The homeowners association is also working on other projects, such as roundabouts at the East Vail Interchange, Ford Park, the town of Vail/Vail Valley Medical Center, Ever Vail and the West Vail Commercial Center. As more traffic flows onto Vail's streets it only compounds the public safety issue created by Frontage Road parking.
Of particular concern is the access to the medical center campus. Currently, all access is via Meadow Drive which has a major impact on traffic on that road. The association and affected neighborhoods are exploring methods to encourage VVMC and the town of Vail to move forward with approaches that will create long-term solutions to traffic flowing to and from the VVMC facility and the town's municipal center. Central to homeowners association concerns is the means to provide vehicular access to the medical center facility from the South Frontage Road. It is the belief of the association that Frontage Road access to centralized parking and service facilities will enhance the protection of pedestrian routes and reduce area-wide traffic congestion.
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