Ferry: Parking is Vail Resorts’ problem
Vail CO, Colorado
The Vail parking commission met on April 22 and May 12 for what will undoubtedly be a long discussion on just where to park cars during next winter’s season.
As an update, we were “officially” on the road 48 days so far this year. Our agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation is 15 and we haven’t even hit the busy summer days. And there were more we didn’t count, like days resulting from the Vail Film Festival and the Mountain Symposium. For that matter, events that take place later in the day aren’t included either. Think The Session, Street Beat, and Spring Back to Vail, etc.
So part one of the meeting dealt with how we did last year ” not good “followed by what we are going to do next year. Of course next year the Epic Pass will be part of the equation, something that Vail Resorts is trying to convince us will not add to the problem. You can buy that story if you like but quite frankly, I don’t.
But that aside, we have a parking problem. And over the years, Vail Resorts has not only acknowledged their role in creating it, they have clearly indicated their responsibility to help in solving it.
So I asked when construction would start on the Ever Vail lot as a way to take a huge chunk of cars off the road. Here’s the answer. Construction will probably be delayed because of the economy. The ski company will not start that lot until they are also able to sell the associated real estate.
Let’s stop right there. Because as far as I’m concerned, the company’s ability to sell their real estate has absolutely nothing to do with their commitment ” not to mention responsibility ” to solve a parking problem that they almost single-handedly created.
And don’t believe the bogus statistics they throw around. When the mountain is closed, we have adequate parking for our businesses (with the exception of very few summer days, which are well within our CDOT agreement). It’s only when the chair lifts are running that we have a problem.
They also like to remind us of the land they donated for the structures. As if that forever meets their obligation to the community.
As Bob McLaurin repeatedly told them when he was town manager, take it back. Take back the land you gave us and the structures we built and then you, Vail Resorts, can be in charge of the parking needs of this town.
Keep in mind, Vail Resorts has not built any public parking in the town of Vail in 45 years. And they’re not going to do it voluntarily now, either.
So I keep asking the same questions. Why do we plow over the same material, year after year, and never make any progress?
Why do we have a VR problem that’s not being solved by VR?
Why are the only suggestions ones that use town’s assets? Like Ford Park. Or the Wendy’s lot. Or Vail buses? Or even more frontage road parking? Better yet, why would Vail Resorts ever use their land and cash to solve the problem if we continue to do it for them?
They will never step up to the plate unless they have no choice. And no choice starts with eliminating frontage road parking until they participate. Start the Ever Vail lot and the frontage road is good to go until it’s finished. Don’t and it isn’t. Easy. It’s time to force the issue.
And while we’re on parking, it was a mystery to me why we ticketed cars in the Donovan Pavilion lot during the film festival. So I asked. Seems that when there’s an event going on, you can use the lot. If there’s no event, you can’t. Makes no sense, so I pressed for a better answer.
“You mean when there’s no event at Donovan, even if we have huge crowds in town, you can’t park there?” Correct. “Why?” I asked. And you’ll love the answer.
Because it’s the rule. And the rule can’t be changed, even when it makes sense, because, poor pathetic creatures that we are, we’ll get confused.
OK, so don’t confuse us. Just don’t write tickets to our guests who we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attracting to things like the film festival.
I suggested the strange commodity known as common sense could be used. But apparently that would confuse the police department.
So I’ll ask again: Why does the police department have to get their pads out and write tickets at 9 p.m. when there’s nothing going on at Donovan Pavilion?
Next. Two interesting stories, both involving the Democratic candidates for county commissioner. And both raised questions, at least for me.
Peter Runyon’s new campaign slogan is “The future starts now.” My question would be, “Why didn’t it start four years ago?”
Then when Mark Gordon was queried if Eagle County is taking on a socialistic slant. His response was, “France seems to be doing just fine.” Huh? I guess that’s my question. Huh? He must be kidding.
With these two running, I’m sure it’s just the beginning of the kind of statements that make you (maybe it’s just me) roll your eyes and wonder if these guys are for real or if it’s just a pitiful joke.
By the way, did you know that in 1998 the mountain didn’t close until May 3 with a 71-inch base?
FYI. You can view the Town Council’s shameful inquisition of the “graffiti kids” at http://www.eaglecountytimes.com.
Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail email@example.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Commentary” or search for keyword “ferry.”
Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a biweekly column for the Daily.
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