Vail dealing with parking crunch | VailDaily.com
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Vail dealing with parking crunch

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyVail is trying to prevent more scenes like this when cars line the frontage road on busy ski weekends by building more parking garages.
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VAIL – Nicole Hoffman, manager of the Rucksack in Vail Village, was filling in at the cash register Tuesday morning because she was still looking for an assistant manager for her store.One reason Hoffman said she is having trouble hiring is housing. But parking is also a problem, she said.”We have a lot of competition from downvalley, where people can drive right to their place of business and not pay for parking,” she said.Vail needs more parking now, Hoffman said.”We’re already behind,” she said.

Vail leaders agree with Hoffman. The town says it needs 400 more parking spaces right away in order to keep up with demand. By 2025, the town will need 1,000 more parking spaces because of growth in Eagle County and on the Front Range, the source of many of Vail’s day skiers, said Public Works Director Greg Hall.The parking garage Vail Resorts wants to build in West Lionshead and the proposed renovation of the Lionshead garage could cut into the parking deficit. Vail officials are even considering putting a garage at Ford Park with playing fields on top.The barometer of need is measured by congestion on Vail’s frontage road, where cars park when the town’s garages are full. The town wants to keep cars off the frontage road as often as possible.With a 150-day ski season, the maximum amount of days Vail wants cars on the frontage road is 15. But last year, cars were on the frontage road 31 days during the ski season.It can be dangerous for visitors to park on the frontage road, with traffic whizzing by, Hall said.”We’re concerned when people park on the road,” Hall said.While winter is the obvious time when parking is in demand, summer parking is becoming more of a problem. Concerts filled the village structure about 10 times last summer, Hall said.

Vail Resorts’ West Lionshead proposal includes a garage that would include public parking.”We’re looking at the potential of up to 400 (public parking) spaces down there,” Hall said.While Vail Mountain execs Bill Jensen and Brian McCartney have attended several town meetings to discuss the future of parking in town, Vail Mountain spokeswoman Jen Brown declined to comment for this story.The redevelopment of the Lionshead parking structure could add 400 more spaces to the 1,150 that are already there.Parking is an issues that constantly shows up as a problem on community surveys, said Councilman Mark Gordon.”We have the opportunity right now between West Lionshead and the Lionshead parking structure to make a huge, huge dent in the parking problem,” he said.

Hoffman said she’d like to see better use of outlying parking lots, like the one at Donovan Park, with shuttles to get people into the core of Vail.Eventually she’d like to see a garage at Ford Park with playing fields on top.”I do think it’s a great idea,” she said.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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