Vail Daily editorial: Company’s coming
February 28, 2017
Many of us grew up with relatives who would put out fancy towels, sweet-smelling soap or save rooms of the house, "for company." It's time to start thinking that way about Vail's parking structures.
When a story about the prospects of charging for summer parking in Vail hit the Vail Daily's Facebook page, comments there were about what you'd expect, focused, by and large, about Vail becoming too expensive for locals and less welcoming for visitors.
Neither one of those things is true.
Vail is expensive for locals, but there are plenty of options to paying for parking, even if it involves moving your car every couple of hours — which you aren't supposed to do.
Those options — primarily the county and in-town bus systems — need to get better in the summer if Vail is serious about getting people who work in the resort villages out of their cars.
Cars are a hard habit to break. In the history of humanity, no invention has enabled personal mobility the way the automobile has.
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That's why we see people doing the free-parking shuffle in the winter. It's also why people in the Vail lodging community have some convincing to do when they tell guests from out of state they don't need to rent cars for a winter vacations in town.
Until 2016, summer has been something of a different animal in Vail. But a combination of growing visitor numbers, a pair of big construction projects and guests deciding to park in Vail's structures instead of paying extra for hotel parking combined to create tight parking inventory at the Lionshead structure.
That crunch will probably ease this summer, as the nearby construction projects wind down. But new construction projects are expected for 2018 and the next couple of years. Those projects will be in Vail Village and Lionshead Village. The resulting crunch may finally push town officials toward paid parking for the summer.
There isn't much relief on the near horizon, either, given the time lines and the fact that building a parking structure costs about $100,000 per space.
If and when Vail charges for summer parking, then we need to remember why those structures were built: for our guests. And, from the looks of it, our guests will be willing to pay a modest amount to park where they play. If guests keep coming, then we can all keep working.
We need to remember that.