Vail Council ponders Ford Park parking |

Vail Council ponders Ford Park parking

VAIL – New parking is expensive. The Vail Town Council Tuesday got a look at just how expensive new parking spaces at Ford Park might be.

Consultant Carlos Hernandez gave a presentation about what parking the town has now at Ford Park and elsewhere, how many days that parking fills up in the summer and what the town’s options might be.

Most summer days, there’s adequate parking in and around the park. But there are about 45 summer evenings when multiple events jump the demand for parking from 200 spaces to about 1,400.

Worse still are what Hernandez called “Vail unlimited” nights, about eight nights when demand for parking goes past 2,300 spaces. That demand is just for Ford Park, when as many as 7,000 people are attending events there.

In the long run, Hernandez recommended trying to add parking for the 45 nights of multiple events. But that’s when options get progressively more expensive.

A full-on renovation of the park, including building parking along South Frontage Road, would far exceed $50 million. Even the least expensive of the options for renovations to the parking area are more than $10 million.

Councilwoman Kim Newberry said the town’s capital improvement plans for the next several years don’t have any room for projects that size. Fellow Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said any future planning would have to include other costs as well, particularly getting control of the frontage road, which is now maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Beyond costs, Rogers also questioned how many parking spaces the town ought to build at Ford Park.

“We need to look at the bigger picture beyond parking,” Rogers said. “Our preferred method for moving people is transit.”

Hernandez said the town’s first step needs to be more effectively managing the parking spaces it now has. His report indicates that on all but the “unlimited” nights, there’s still space in the town’s parking garages to handle overflow parking at Ford Park. The town could use shuttles to get people back and forth from that farther-flung parking, he said.

And, Rogers, said, some small changes could make a big difference. Just giving people a secure place to drop off their equipment could free up several spaces, she said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

Support Local Journalism