Is it time for Vail to build a Ford Park parking structure?
The recent Vail Village parking shortages have highlighted how sensitive our guests are to parking inconveniences. We would like to think that parking in Lionshead and taking the free shuttle to Vail is convenient, but guests wanting to visit Vail Village have resoundingly disagreed. Its the same reaction for guests who want to go to Lionshead and are detoured elsewhere. During both summer and winter, people want to park close to where they plan to shop and dine. When parking is not available, either in the structures or on the nearby frontage roads, they go elsewhere and take their wallets with them.Now, some are lobbying to have parking banned on the frontage roads. The idea of banning parking on the Frontage Road should send shivers down the spine of every business owner in Vail. If a parking ban did occur, Vail Resorts passholders who were not able to find parking would have three other ski resorts to choose from and might take their apres ski shopping and dining dollars with them. Non-skiers who came to Vail to shop and dine would also be turned away when the structures were filled. Can we afford to turn away customers? NO! Whether they arrived early and got a coveted spot in the structure or arrived later and had to park in our overflow, they are all our customers and we need to embrace them.One business owner who is new to Vail likes to say, Vail doesnt have a parking problem a parking problem would be if no one wanted to park here.Beyond the proposed Frontage Road parking ban there is one more parking discussion that requires business owner input. If your customers are already objecting to parking in Lionshead, how do you think they will feel about parking another three blocks down the road at Ever Vail? Is this really our best and only long-term solution?It may be time to revisit discussions about creating an underground parking structure at Ford Park. The Boston Common is a perfect example of a beautiful park with a massive underground parking structure. Ford Park parking would allow easy access to our two villages, shopping and dining, as well as our cultural and recreational amenities. Short- and long-term parking solutions will be discussed by our town on Aug. 5. The Vail Chamber & Business Association would like to encourage business owners to participate in the process by sharing their opinions at this meeting.The Vail Chamber & Business Association is working closely with the town of Vail and Vail Resorts to promote business. We can be reached at email@example.com or 970-477-0075 for additional information.Susie Tjossem is the interim director of the Vail Chamber & Business association and a member of the chambers board of directors.