Vail may ban summer parking on Frontage Road
May 18, 2011
Parking along the South Frontage Road during summer events won’t likely be an option anymore unless both the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are full.
The Vail Town Council held a public hearing Tuesday night about adopting a new summer parking policy that would closely resemble the winter policy. The council directed the town staff to continue to work on the details for the new plan, which could cost the town anywhere from $131,000 to $162,000, although they didn’t vote on a specific plan or budget appropriation yet.
The Vail Transportation Master plan calls for three overflow parking days on the frontage road in the summers, but there were 34 overflow days in the summer of 2010. The winter goal is 15 days – there were seven overflow days for the 2010-11 winter season.
The Vail Public Works Department and Police Department sent a memo to the Vail Town Council on Tuesday stating that the summer goal would have been met had there been a management policy in place similar to the town’s winter policy. The memo also identifies 67 days this summer in which the Vail Village or Lionshead structures could fill up.
Ford Park users, including Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz, Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival Development Director Jeanne Reid White and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater General Manager Jennifer Mason, said there are many concerns about the changes.
Parking already complex
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Parking is already complicated and is one of the top issues mentioned during summer surveys of guests at Ford Park, Folz said.
“We’re pretty sure this proposal is going to continue to be a problem,” Folz said.
The proposal would add express buses that would run from the Lionshead parking structure to Ford Park, with one stop at the Vail Village parking structure, at either eight-minute or five-minute intervals. Public Works Director Greg Hall estimates the added bus service could cost $52,000 to $78,000, depending on the intervals.
Mason said the amphitheater is “hanging onto these ticket-buyers as it is,” adding that making their experience more complicated isn’t going to help the situation.
Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said the implementation of the new policy needs to improve the guest experience, not diminish it.
The town ultimately decided to move forward with the plan, with the Teva Mountain Games weekend being the first weekend it will be implemented. Town Manager Stan Zemler said that weekend wouldn’t be a perfect model of how the system would work, though, because the event typically has at least one day that fills up both parking structures.
Zemler said town staff would continue to work out the details, including the costs and whether there’s money in the current budget for it or whether a supplemental appropriation might be necessary. He said there would be a clearer plan in place by the council’s June 7 meeting.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.