Clarifying my statement
In reference to your article in the Vail Daily, dated Aug. 13, 2008 entitled “Vail looks to hike parking fees,” I believe some clarification is in order. Firstly, I am not a member of the parking task force. I am in fact an invited business owner. Your last paragraph seems to infer that it was my position at the last parking meeting that “I don’t see us getting any benefit from anyone downvalley”. Whether this was your intent or simply an attempt at brevity is unclear to me. So for the sake of clarity and accuracy please let me restate my position and explain my reasoning behind it as it was inaccurately portrayed.
What I expressed to the parking task force was, among other things, that a tremendous number of construction workers on various projects in Vail are taking up a large number of available parking spaces during high-season demands. In addition, no new parking structures have begun to be built despite various discussions between the town and Vail Resorts. Lastly, with the introduction of the Epic Pass, which provides unrestricted skiing all season for $579, no one seems to be able to calculate what amount of additional parking this may require. Also, it was stated that the town needed to increase its parking revenue to increase funding for its transit system, which is expected to have greater ridership due to increased gas prices and parking fees. With this extraordinary confluence of circumstances facing this winter’s parking requirements, Vail needs to establish some very uncomfortable priorities.
As was expressed by others on the task force, part of the objective was to encourage mass transit and carpooling during this difficult period. With all of this in mind, it needs to be kept in mind that the basic requirements of the town must be met. My understanding of those requirements would be to provide visitors, Vail taxpayers and businesses, including their employees from downvalley or elsewhere primary access. I think this is self explanatory.
In that context, I stated that I felt that offering discounted parking to downvalley residents would not be beneficial at this time. In essence, we would be discounting, valleywide, the very same parking spaces that we now know we are unable to provide in adequate numbers to the “primary access” group. In fact, it was my suggestion that we put out a statement to downvalley residents that we were in a period of “extenuating circumstances” at this time.
For anyone in business in Vail to say that “we don’t get any benefit from anyone downvalley” would be completely detached from reality.
With 30 years in the same business in Vail, my wife and I not only live downvalley but have many friends and clients who reside there also. In addition, all of our own employees live there. These relationships have always been of extreme value to both of us in many ways.
After reading your article in the Vail Daily I talked with some members of the parking task force, several other invitees and Suzanne Silverthorn, the director of community relations for the Town of Vail. All were present. All of them verified the context of my statement, in its totality, being just as I’ve just explained it. All of whom also are willing to go on record to confirm it. While I am sure there was no malicious intent on your part, it is extremely important to me that a matter this sensitive be accurately reported.