Survey: Parking is Vail’s No. 1 problem
VAIL, Colorado – Town of Vail residents have spoken, and parking is on their minds more than any other topic up for debate.The town’s 2010 Community Survey gathered 528 responses from town residents, including full-time and part-time residents, as well as owners and renters. The survey, while not perfect in its representation of the community’s opinions, is done every two years to gauge how the community thinks of the town and its services. The last survey was done in 2007.The town sent 7,800 postcards to town residents or employees to solicit online responses for the survey – 528 responses meant just an 8 percent response rate.Town residents found work-force housing, environmental sustainability, the use of the conference-center funds and planning for West Vail commercial redevelopment the least concerning of the 11 topics they were asked to rank.While the results show a generally positive sentiment about the town moving “in the right direction,” those who said the town is “on the wrong track” cited parking over and over again, said Chris Cares, of RRC Associates, the firm that conducted the survey. Residents who said the town is on the right track cited recent upgrades in town, specifically new development and facelifts for older buildings. Those who thought the town is on the wrong track cited parking problems, lack of character in new development, including an out-of-character size and scale of new buildings, and a strained relationship between the town and Vail Resorts. Half of the respondents want the town to take time to study conference-center-fund options rather than rushing a ballot question to find a use for the $9.3 million fund. More than half agreed the money should be spent to “build something,” though.The survey’s open-ended questions, which allowed responders to write in their own comments, frequently bashed parking. “Deal with the parking issue instead of talking about the parking issue,” one responder wrote. “If you need to build a bigger structure, then do it.”Cares said parking seems to have taken over previous concerns about work-force housing, which dropped to the eighth priority out of 11 in the 2010 survey – it was the top priority in the 2007 survey. Housing isn’t at the top of mind the way it was, but it also hasn’t gone away, Cares said. The Vail Town Council has been looking at various parking fixes in recent meetings, including a discussion Tuesday night that followed the Community Survey results (see related story), but it hasn’t narrowed in on a specific solution yet.Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.