Vail boosts price for overnight summer parking in structures |

Vail boosts price for overnight summer parking in structures

You can still park free at Red Sandstone up to 72 hours

After a break in 2020, Vail will again this year charge for overnight summer parking. The price this year has increased to $35 per night.
Vail Daily file photo

Overnight paid parking returns to Vail this summer, and it’s going to cost more.

The Vail Town Council on Tuesday approved a set of recommendations from the Vail Parking & Transportation Task Force. The overnight summer parking charge in the Lionshead and Vail Village parking structures was put into place in 2018 to ensure more summer parking for residents, employees and guests. The structures for years had been used for summer vehicle storage by a number of residents. That, combined with a lot of use by construction workers, particularly in Lionshead, put a squeeze on available summer parking.

Vail has an agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the town’s frontage roads, limiting parking on those roads. For the summer, the goal is no more than 15 days per summer of frontage road parking.

Charges seemed to work

Parking was driven to the frontage roads 22 days in 2017, the year before the overnight charge was imposed. Frontage road parking fell to 17 days in 2018 and 16 days in 2019.

The charge was dropped in 2020, as the town worked to ensure summer business wasn’t limited by parking.

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For this year, the charge is going up to $35 per night. The overnight charge is $50 in the winter.

Town officials are also looking at places to park oversize vehicles including charter buses and private recreational vehicles. A new spot has to be found since the current oversize vehicle parking at the Lionshead parking structure will soon be the new, temporary home of the Children’s Garden of Learning.

Town of Vail Public Works Director Greg Hall said oversized vehicles will park near Safeway and City Market this summer, and probably near the West Vail fire station for the winter. But, Hall said, other sites are being evaluated.

People willing to pay

Mayor Dave Chapin chairs the parking task force. He acknowledged that the overnight charge this year is a “big jump” over previous years. But, he added, people seem willing to pay to park.

Chapin added that people can park free up to 72 hours at the Red Sandstone parking structure. That structure, on the north side of Interstate 70 across from Lionshead, has roughly 160 spaces available in the summer.

That availability means valley residents can go on a weekend trip to the Front Range, Chapin said. Those spaces can also be available to those using short-term rentals in town. That structure is adjacent to both a town bus stop and the pedestrian overpass into Lionshead.

While daytime summer parking will remain free for now, that may not last much longer.

Chapin noted that free parking has been a staple of Vail’s summer business for a long time.

“We won’t revisit (that issue) until next spring,” Chapin said.

Four facts

• Overnight summer parking will cost $35 per night in the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures.

• People can park for up to 72 hours at the Red Sandstone parking structure.

• Those who leave their cars overnight to avoid drinking and driving can have the fees waived by picking up a validation at the visitor centers before 11 a.m. the next day.

• Free parking vouchers will be available at certain lodges that don’t have much available guest parking.

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