Vail Daily’s view: Are local families welcome in Vail?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Leaders of Vail government keep insisting they are doing everything they can to make the town welcoming to locals from Edwards, Eagle and other points downvalley.
They built a gymnastics center and say they really, really want to build more affordable housing. But this winter’s considerable increase in parking rates at the Vail Village and Lionshead garages gives locals one less reason to visit the head of the valley.
(Note: Many, maybe most, families head to Gypsum for gymnastics, anyway, where it’s easier to park and there’s more space).
Parking is still free for an hour-and-a-half, but the price of staying over that has doubled from $5 to $10. Staying for three hours has jumped from $10 to $15. All day will cost $25.
The town said it was raising the rates to encourage downvalley residents to carpool or ride the bus into Vail. That’s a noble idea, and may work when a group of adults are headed into Vail to ski or party.
But carpooling and/or riding the bus is not entirely practical when it comes to families with one, two or even three toddlers in car seats. Car seats ” especially these days when kids have to be in some sort of car seat until they go away to college ” mean no carpools and toddlers mean a potentially arduous bus ride.
Vail says parking and then driving out of the garage before the fees kick in only to drive around the block and park again is a no-no. But we’ve heard about parents taking turns watching each other’s kids while the other mom or dad pulls their car out of the garage for a spin through the roundabout to avoid the parking fees.
Maybe the town could come up with some type of family rate or families could buy some kind of families-only season pass. Perhaps Vail needs to start promoting affordable parking along with its plans for affordable housing.
Despite what elected officials in Vail say about remaining a “real town,” step by step, vanished video store by vanished video store, parking-rate hike by parking-rate-hike and possibly hospital relocation by relocation, Vail is losing the things that would keep it a regular community.