Vail bringing back parking task force
VAIL — They brought you two hours free and free after 3 p.m., and the Town Council announced at its meeting Tuesday that the Transportation and Parking Task Force will be making its return after a few-years absence.
The task force will focus on the operational side of parking and transportation and will require council approval before taking action. While it won’t focus too much on long-term solutions, it will be made up of members who are the eyes and ears of the town.
“Whenever we have decisions like this that affect the community at large, it’s great to have representation from everyone,” Mayor Dave Chapin said. “Ultimately, the council is always going to make these decisions, but we want to have input from the people that are living it every day.”
The council hopes to have the 10-person task force created by the end of the year to meet about five times per year, maybe more in its first year. It will be made up of two Vail Town Council members; two Vail Resorts representatives; two restaurant owners; two merchant owners; one lodging representative; and one member from the community at large.
Council member Jenn Bruno said she hopes to include a member from the hospital because she sees them as a major contributor moving forward.
Greg Hall, director of the public works department, said a hospital representative was not included in the task force but that they hope to continue to work with the hospital in the years to come.
Chapin hopes to assemble the task force to start in January. Public notices are going out and the mayor will eventually be tasked with appointing the task force.
Chapin said he wasn’t sure when or why the Transportation and Parking Task Force dissipated, but with parking becoming more and more of an issue, the timing is right to bring it back.
Hall also brought the Town Council up to speed about a 2005 agreement with Vail Resorts for parking expansion and its obligations.
Years ago, before the recession, Vail Resorts and the town reached an agreement where Vail Resorts would fund $4.3 million toward a new, town-owned and maintained parking expansion.
While the deal has sat idle for more than 10 years, Hall gave the council an overview of it in case they wanted to pursue it.
“It’s out there,” Hall said. “It’s been out there for the last 10 years.”
Since the agreement was made, cost of construction has gone up and $4.3 million can’t buy today what it could have 10 years ago, Chapin said.
Hall presented the council with past studies that looked at expanding parking at Ford Park, the frontage roads, Lionshead Village parking structure and more.
Council member Kim Langmaid, and much of the council, continue to take creative angles at problems facing the town. Langmaid wondered if an increased bus ridership could ease parking issues as well as a possible rail system.
Chapin asked about parking on the driving range.
“I’m just throwing stuff out there,” he said.
Hall added that Vail was built on close-in parking to the slopes, adding another complicated dimension to the parking issue.
While the $4.3 million might not find a use this year, the Transportation and Parking Task Force is being assembled to hit the ground running in January.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.