Vail plans more winter parking
VAIL, Colorado ” As many as 500 parking spaces would be created for Vail next winter under a “stopgap” plan.
Some worry Vail Resorts’ new, discount Epic Pass could exacerbate the parking problems in Vail, where the parking garages filled 48 times this season. The town aims to limit overflow parking on the frontage road to 15 times per year.
“If, this winter, because of the Epic Pass, we have an epic problem, we have to find a way to solve it,” said Dan Telleen, owner of Karats, a Vail Village jewelry shop, and a member of the panel that came up with the plan.
The town currently has 2,815 spaces of public parking. The new 550 spaces would include:
– 180 spaces at the town’s Chamonix property. It would cost $200,000 to prepare the lot.
– 35-60 spaces along the Frontage Road in West Vail at a cost of $50,000-$150,000.
– 70-90 spaces in Donovan Park when there aren’t other events going on there.
– Renting 100 spaces and creating a park-and-ride lot at the rodeo grounds in Avon at a cost of $50,000-$100,000.
– 50-75 spaces at the Forest Service office at Dowd Junction to be used as a park-and-ride lot.
Both skiers and construction workers would probably use the spaces, said Public Works Director Greg Hall.
There were about 2,100 construction workers working in Vail Village and Lionshead last winter, and many of those people parked in the town garages, town officials said.
More than 20,000 people can ski Vail Mountain on a busy winter day.
Telleen called the new spaces “stopgap” measures.
“In the long term, the solution would have to be something that improves the ambiance of skiers’ experience, not just getting your car parked someplace and having to catch a bus or walk,” he said.
The panel has also recommended spending about $100,000 to expand bus service. Another recommendation is to create a van-pool service for commuters.
The Vail Town Council will review the recommendations at its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
As town officials are focusing on next winter’s parking, summer parking has become more of a problem this year.
Brad Condo of Singletree said his wife’s SUV was hit in the garage this week after she parked in an area filled with big construction trucks. The town needs to segregate construction trucks from other vehicles in the garage, he said.
Parking rules such as maximum lengths of cars and double-parking need to be enforced better, too, he added.
Town officials should be more proactive in addressing the problem, Condo said.
“Where have these guys been?” he said. “Talk about behind the curve.”
Construction workers are filling up about 400 spaces a day in the Vail Village parking structure, said Mike Rose, director of parking and transit. The garage can hold 1,150 cars.
As a result, the village parking structure has been filling up pretty much every weekday, Rose said.
“The problem we’re having right now is there’s more people wanting to use the village parking structure than the Lionshead parking structure,” Rose said.
To keep parking spaces open, the town has started closing off about 300 spaces until 10 a.m., making sure there are open spaces in the village garage through lunchtime.
Meanwhile, outlying lots such as the Wendy’s site are staying empty, Rose said.
The town has called a meeting with construction workers Monday to try to get them to park in outlying lots.
Some people have suggested that the town start charging for summer parking, which, unlike winter parking, is free.
“I think this is probably the last summer there will be free parking in Vail,” Rose said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.
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