Trucks to be cleared for Vail Village skiers
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Starting Monday, pedestrians in Vail, Colorado may notice fewer trucks and delivery vehicles on the cobbled streets.
It is all part of the town’s plan to keep the streets clear for pedestrians by sending delivery vehicles to newly built loading docks tucked away under the Village instead of pulling up directly at stores and restaurants.
“It can be wall-to-wall with delivery trucks,” Vail Police Commander Susan Douglas said. “It doesn’t make for a great guest experience at a world-class resort.”
However, some delivery companies and village business owners worry that the loading docks will mean that deliveries will take much longer, cause more of a hassle, and in the end, raise the cost of goods.
Last year Vail pitched a plan that would have kept delivery vehicles off the streets completely, a suggestion met with resistance from business owners who said it would make deliveries more expensive and complicated.
After more than a year of working with businesses and delivery companies, the town has a modified plan that will allow trucks on Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive during the morning hours. Later in the day they would be restricted to spots surrounding the Village, or to the delivery docks located under the Arrabelle, Solaris, Mountain Plaza and several other locations.
Some businesses said that as long as the streets are still open for early morning deliveries, they can still manage.
“I’m certainly willing to go through the process and hear it out,” said Matt Morgan, of Sweet Basil. “At first the message was that there are no more trucks on the street, but that doesn’t look like the case.”
Kathleen Barron, of Gorsuch, said it wasn’t feasible for the store to haul its goods from the loading docks, and usually their trucks come in later in the morning.
“We have a lot of fragile goods, expensive crystal and china, that you can’t roll down the cobblestone roads and in the weather,” she said. “Can you imagine rolling racks of designer blouses and coats down the street? This is a burden for us.”
The town said it was willing to work with the store, perhaps extending the hours of street deliveries.
The new docks will mean deliveries will take longer if the shipments need to be carted across the Village, said Michael Staughton, who represents Russell’s Restaurant and Los Amigos, both Village eateries.
“The biggest concern is time, which could create more expenses that then pass on to the customer,” he said.
Many delivery companies said they could make the modified plan work, but agreed that unloading from the docks will take longer, and could possibly mean an added surcharge for deliveries.
James Cook, of Shamrock Foods, said the company brings in about three trucks a day carrying 1,000 cases. Each truck has one delivery man, and as it is, it already takes six to eight hours to unload a truck. Unloading from the docks will take even longer, he said.
“We’d have to add helpers,” he said.
Making deliveries under the new system will be a challenge, said Henry Gaccetta, of the food delivery company, Sysco Denver. With longer delivery times, another truck might be necessary, he said.
“But I’m open to it,” he said. “It will be nice that (the docks) are a covered building. It’s always an advantage when you can get out of the weather. It may end up working out for us.”
The town, business owners and the delivery companies said they were willing to work out solutions to help make the village more friendly to pedestrians.
The town of Vail will pitch in with some of the costs, setting aside $150,000 for dock operations, repairs and some of the utilities.
“It’s a balancing act. We’re trying to minimize the costs to the delivery companies and the stores,” Vail Councilman Farrow Hitt said. “But it’s always been the long-term plan (to make these streets pedestrian only.)”
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.