No fees for overflow skiers in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –If there’s one thing Chris Jarnot wants the public to know about parking in Vail, it’s that overflow parking on Frontage Road will remain free for the 2009-10 ski season.
Jarnot, Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer, met with other Vail parking task force members Tuesday in a meeting to review winter parking regulations. The task force met earlier this month and decided on a new Frontage Road parking program, but Vail Town Council task force members Kevin Foley and Farrow Hitt weren’t at the meeting.
Hitt said the Town Council needed to know how the task force came up with its parking regulations before it could approve anything at its Oct. 20 meeting.
Parking on North Frontage Road, west of the Shell Station, would now be a pass-holder parking area for $100 per season. The reason for this is because the Colorado Department of Transportation is requiring the town to charge a fee if it’s going to make parking available there seven days a week, said Greg Hall, Vail’s public works and transportation director.
“(The Colorado Department of Transportation) wants to formalize how we park on the Frontage Road,” Hall said.
The passes for the 100 or so spots west of the Shell station would be limited to employees in Vail who work a minimum of 20 hours per week, including construction workers in Vail. The pass would be sold as a Monday through Friday pass, with Saturdays and Sundays not enforced, meaning parking would be first come, first served, Hall said.
The town would make sure people buying the passes knew the spots weren’t guaranteed for any of the days of the week, Hall said.
Because the county’s ECO bus service made a 30 percent service cut for the upcoming winter season, and there are three large construction projects in Vail that will have workers on site throughout the winter, the parking task force needed to address the extra parking demand, Hall said.
Susie Tjossem, a task force member, said the goal is to keep the garage open for Vail guests.
The new program has two ripple effects on other parking options. One is the town’s pink pass for Vail employees would have to increase in price because it offers parking in a more premiere area, Ford Park and the soccer fields, than the West Vail Frontage Road parking for the same $100 price, task force members say.
Members agreed to raise the pink pass price to $150 to distinguish the more prime spots from the West Vail spots – down $50 from the previously proposed 2009-10 pink pass price of $200.
The other ripple effect was on the former Wendy’s lot, a parking lot off North Frontage Road west of the Shell station, which was free last winter and used primarily by construction workers during the week. Task force members said charging for that lot would only be fair because it’s right next to North Frontage Road spaces that would now cost $100.
Part of the new Frontage Road parking program would also include about 40 spots near Middle Creek on North Frontage Road. Passes for those spots would be sold for $100 to employees of Vail business license holders who work at least 20 hours per week.
The task force chose $100 as the rate for those spots by relating the price to the ECO bus increase of $125 from last season, for a total of $425, for the five-month winter season. The Frontage Road spots would be cheaper than that fare hike, members said.
Downvalley residents looking for a free spot in Vail would still have South Frontage Road overflow parking and Frontage Road spots in front of Safeway. They could also take their chances and try to find a spot at Donovan Park, which would still be free, Hall said.
Vail’s two main parking structures, Vail Village and Lionshead, would remain $25 for a full day of parking.
There would be more efficient enforcement of the short-term premier spots at those structures because of new ticket gates. Those short-term spots are $15 flat for up to two and a half hours of parking. Last year code enforcement officers tried to catch as many people as possible and left $50 tickets on cars who extended the maximum stay. The pre-pay ticket system, however, prevented everyone from getting caught.
The new system would still charge the same $50 fine for going over the initial two and a half hours, but now people would pay it as they left the garage, rather than paying a fine through the mail or in court. There would be a small window of leeway for people who park beyond the time limit, Hitt said.
The fines brought in $60,000 in revenue last year, but not everyone was caught. Task force members say the new system would catch every person.
The Vail Town Council is scheduled to vote on parking regulations at its Oct. 20 meeting and could make changes to the task force’s recommendations.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org