More spaces, fewer construction trucks in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – A recent Vail Homeowner’s Association newsletter said that there are critics who think the town of Vail has created the perception of a “parking problem” in order to maintain a monopoly over public parking.
A community survey last year revealed that Vail residents rank parking among their top concerns and rated parking as the lowest area of satisfaction in the entire survey.
“There’s still a parking problem,” said Councilman Kevin Foley.
The town is in a transition year, however, with regards to parking. Construction vehicles that have filled up the town’s parking structures for the past five years are now gone, and privately run public parking has also increased the number of public spaces available, such as 300 public spaces at the Solaris development.
Vail’s Public Works Director Greg Hall said the town has known for a while that this ski season would be a transition year.
“We’re monitoring it,” Hall said.
As of Jan. 21, Hall said there have been two days in which the town used South Frontage Road for overflow parking because both the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures were full. By the same time last year, there had been three overflow days.
“It’s pretty early to tell,” Hall said.
What Hall can tell is that there are many more spaces available during the week that have previously been occupied by construction workers in town. Hall said that the lots can fill up on a big powder day during the week, but it didn’t happen this week when Vail reported 40 inches of snow in just a couple of days.
“I think that what’s keeping us from going onto the Frontage Road is Solaris,” Hall said.
When the garages get really close to filling, there’s still 300 spaces in Solaris, as well as spaces in Manor Vail and the Cascade Resort.
“There’s maybe a mix of 400 spaces out there that are keeping us from going to the Frontage Road when we get real close to filling up,” Hall said.
But there are variables on the horizon that could mean spaces elsewhere in town end up gone. The town’s lease for use of the Frontage Road in front of Safeway, for example, expires at the end of this year. That could mean the loss of about 80 spaces there, not including the Frontage Road spaces in front of Middle Creek and in West Vail.
The town has several parking-related discussions coming up, including a discussion at the next Town Council meeting about adding diagonal parking along the Frontage Road near Ford Park.
The town also issued a request for proposals last week for turning the charter bus lot on the east side of the Lionshead parking structure into 60 parking spaces. Councilman Kevin Foley thinks the request is premature since there’s another plan out there showing a 300-space addition to the Lionshead parking garage in that very location.
Councilwoman Susie Tjossem said the council is going to look very closely at this so-called measurement year before making any decisions on parking renovations.
“We have no idea until the end of the year,” she said. “We will be weighing our options as part of the longer term options.”
Lamont said if some of those options include more parking along the Frontage Roads, the council will surely run into some opposition from the community from those who think parking on the Frontage Roads makes Vail look like a truck stop and appear overcrowded.
“Spend the money on mass transit, don’t spend it on more parking,” Lamont said. “I see parking as a non-issue. People keep trying to kick the corpse, but it’s not going to move much.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.