Avon readies for parking management in town core | VailDaily.com

Avon readies for parking management in town core

Plan likely to include some paid parking

After putting off paid parking for the 2022-23 ski season, the town of Avon is aiming to introduce parking management later this year.

“The town has ordinances, codes and regulations in place and yet we have no way to effectively manage any of them,” said Jim Shoun, the town’s mobility manager.

“The three-hour on-street parking limits are ignored. Over at the rec center, patrons often can’t find a place to park because the parking lot is full of skiers. Have you driven by the Weston’s 10-minute loading zone lately? When all the parking fills, people decide to park in bus stops, on shoulders, in loading zones, wherever they can find a place to park their car,” he added.  

The town is primarily looking to focus its parking management on the town core, keeping in place most of its existing regulations.

The town of Avon’s new parking management plan, as presented at the Tuesday, April 25, 2023, Town Council meeting. Primarily, the changes would be around enforcement and adding a paid element in certain areas of the town core.
Town of Avon/Courtesy Photo

One notable difference would be to its three-hour street parking areas along both West and East Benchmark Road, Lake Street, West Beaver Creek Boulevard and in a few town lots. These areas are currently designated for three hours of parking only. However, the new plan proposes allowing three hours free in these zones while charging $1 an hour for every subsequent hour. Parking would be free after 5 p.m.

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It has yet to be determined if the town would implement these rates just during ski season or year-round. Town Manager Eric Heil said, “It could be seasonal, I think we’re contemplating year round,” adding that the town’s current experience is that the ski season brings the “biggest issues.”

With the exception of adding this paid element, the town plans to keep many of its other paring rules in place. The big change would come in enforcement.

“Where we are right now is we have the signs up and we really don’t have any personnel to actively do enforcement,” Heil said.

The town is currently aiming to place enforcement under the police department with the addition of two full-time code enforcement officers. The department currently hires two part-time code enforcement officers for the summer months but would be looking to have two full-time code enforcement officers year-round to enforce parking as well as other town codes.

“There’s so many code enforcement issues that we just can’t get to because of resources,” said Avon Police Chief Greg Daly. “I think there is a huge benefit to the town in general from this. … We have a huge long list, they are going to be kept extremely busy.”

The town is projecting that it will cost them around $65,000 to implement the plan this year, $35,000 of which is a one-time cost in the first year of implementation to purchase the necessary infrastructure. Costs would include hardware for management, new signage, training, a license plate reader, a new vehicle and more. Going forward, the town expects to spend $30,000 in reoccurring costs in addition to the salaries for the two full-time positions.

Other elements of parking management as currently proposed would include:

  • All-day, free parking at Old Town Hall and Avon Elementary School
  • No overnight parking except at the Old Town Hall site, which would have a $40 parking permit
  • Rec Center parking for patrons only, with patrons receiving a 3-hour validation code and a $50 parking fee for violators
  • A $35 violation fee for areas (excluding the rec center)
  • Staff will monitor violations 24/7, including in no-parking zones and on road shoulders

While last year’s Town Council deferred parking management over concerns about the impact it would have on the local workforce, the current Town Council was in favor of moving ahead with this plan.

“In my mind, we’re trying to manage parking and this is a starting place. We need to buy the software, we need to hire the staff, we need to start managing our parking,” said Council member Tamra Underwood. “Now, if the $1 an hour after the first three hours is the right rate? I don’t know, but I think Jim (Shoun) will get us the data and we can figure it out from there, but we must start managing our parking, we must.”

Council member RJ Andrade commented that he still had concerns about the impact on employees, asking if the town could implement some form of employee or employer pass. Shoun said that the new software would give the town the ability to implement something along those lines.

With the council’s direction to move forward, Avon is expected to begin implementation of the plan in November 2023, just ahead of the ski season. However, it’s anticipated that there will still be further discussion around some of the plan’s more specific details.

“There’s always some hesitancy about moving from where we are — free parking — to any type of managed parking,” Heil said. “I think stepping a small step and then absolutely we’d be evaluating and seeing what the patterns are, parking behaviors and adjust the management.”

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