Buddy Pass, parking column inspires lots of ideas
I’ve been stopped everywhere I’ve gone since last Wednesday’s column. People have left me phone messages, e-mails and notes in my store. All of the comments have ranged from “right on” to a variety of other recommendations as to the solution for this problem.But I want to clear up one thing. Last week was not the first time that this idea has been put on the table. This is just the first time that it has been suggested in print.When it’s been discussed before, it has been in meetings where the idea has been summarily dismissed. That’s why I thought it was important for a larger audience to hear it and have the opportunity to digest it, and respond to it and at the same time, perhaps start brainstorming other ideas. And that’s what happened.Now I’m not going to tell you that I agree or disagree with some of the proposals that have been thrown out. But I asked for ideas, I got them and I think it’s important to now share them as food for thought. So here goes:Of course, the most obvious it to completely eliminate the Buddy Pass- Colorado Pass. Or limit to early or late season. Or at least limit Saturdays. It’s not the customer that Vail has traditionally tried to attract and they don’t spend money.I don’t know if any conclusion can be drawn, but see what you think. Sales tax collections for the town of Vail in January were down roughly 5 percent, while lift tax collections were up 10 percent. That’s a 15 percent swing. Does that mean that more people are here but spending less money? And who are those people?On this idea, however, let’s not get your hopes up too much. Vail Resorts stated last week that not only did they not intend to get rid of these passes, they hope to expand and increase them.So now we move along to the idea of ticketing-towing all of the cars on the Frontage Road. The short-term fallout would be that a lot of locals would suffer along with the discounted pass holders. Long term is another issue. There seems to be a feeling that ticketing-towing would force you know who into dealing proactively with parking. After all, we know whose customer is out there for the most part and the assumption is that they want their customer happy. The ticketing-towing option would not fulfill that goal. I guess if we pursue this approach, my driveway will be in big demand.Now here’s a good one. The community has thrown every available lot into the pot on weekends. You can park at Town Hall, Donovan Park, Stephens Park, Red Sandstone School, Vail Mountain School, etc. Again, since this is a problem generated by you know who, how about letting the public use the Vail Resorts employee lots and have Vail Resorts shuttle their own employees from some remote location?These lots are in the heart of the action and would satisfy the guests’ needs in some sizeable numbers. We have P3&J (would some please explain where that name came from?), which is across from the Christiania. Then there’s the north day lot between the Frontage Road and the Landmark, to say nothing of the west day lot at the west end of the Marriott and the Golden Peak lot.Other ideas include parking on Ford Park and the soccer field, using a free, efficient shuttle service from some remote locations, and of course, the obvious: building a new structure ASAP.Whether you agree with these ideas or not, I think they have at least been creative and thought-provoking. In my mind, they are all worth some serious consideration. The question becomes by whom, when and where?It’s important to continue registering your thoughts, however. Vail Resorts needs to hear them at Box 7, Vail, 81658. To reach the Town Council, call 479-1860. Extension 8 sends a message to all of them, plus the town manager, simultaneously. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.As an addition to this column, I will give updates on topics that have been considered here. We’ve talked about Town Council work sessions. I attended last week’s. They are still in a circle with microphones off. A gentleman came up to me during that meeting and said how rude he had always thought it was for the Town Council to speak in such a way as to exclude the attending public. He was glad to see that I had written about it but disappointed to see that they had not responded by correcting the situation. I am, however, happy to report there are still no camp songs.As for parking, you have the update in terms of suggestions – keep “em coming. I’ll now give you the weekend numbers for cars on the Frontage Roads: Friday 321; Saturday 628; Sunday168.One thing that I omitted last week: Remember I mentioned the January discussion on parking? I said that a vote was taken to reconsider the plan. Only six council members were present, with three voting to change the plan and three voting to keep it the same regardless of public opinion. A tie always means a defeat of a motion. You should probably know which councilmen were on which side. Jewitt, Moffett and Slifer voted to go back to Free after 3 and 90-minute free parking. Cleveland, Donovan and Kurz thought they were smarter than the rest of us and voted against. So they broke Rule 1 (which I mentioned in my previous column): Elected officials are not smarter than those who elect them.Kaye Ferry, longtime observer of Vail government, business owner and founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, writes a weekly column for the Daily.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.