Vail touts success of loading and delivery program’s first season |

Vail touts success of loading and delivery program’s first season

Next up, is figuring out how to get commercial carriers, trash trucks out of the village

The town of Vail launched a new loading and delivery program to get vehicles out of Vail and Lionshead Village in October 2022. Now, 106West makes deliveries on these carts from the village's main docks.
Town of Vail/Courtesy Photo

Vail is calling the first season of its e-delivery program a success. The town launched the program to get vehicles out of Vail and Lionshead Village in October 2022. On an average day through the winter season, the e-delivery removed 47 trucks and 147 visits into the villages, according to Vail Police Chief Ryan Kenney.

The program is working the way it was intended. We’ve gotten very positive feedback. I think the very few issues we had with unique operational situations we’ve addressed and found solutions for those,” Kenney said, in giving a report on the first season to Town Council on Tuesday, May 16. “I think everything is where it needs to be moving into the summer and we’ll see how that goes.”

Kenney added that he had a “proud moment” while reading Pete Seibert Sr.’s book and read about when “he developed Vail Village, it was as a car-free zone and I feel like he would definitely be proud of that.”

The town contracted with 106West Logistics to help operate the program from the Mountain Plaza loading dock as well as its warehouse in EagleVail. To operate the program, the town and 106West had five electric carts and ten employees (nine dock workers and one dock manager).  

In his report, Kenney said that the staff was the “difference between us being successful and failing.”

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The most positive impact of the program was seen on Bridge Street, which Kenney said was “accepted very well.”

“We’ve heard all season long that not having cars and trucks on Bridge Street has been really excellent. So we’ve made that part of the program that we’re really not going to bend on too much. So far, it hasn’t been much of an issue,” Kenney said.

The program blocked delivery vehicles from the pedestrian areas in Lionshead and Vail Village — with the exception of high-volume commercial carriers including FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. Instead, delivery access was only allowed through loading docks at the Arrabelle, Four Seasons, Mountain Plaza, One Willow, Sebastian and Solaris.

In order to keep up with the increased traffic and usage of these loading docks, delivery companies were required to pay an annual dock fee to receive a permit to enter any of these six docks. According to Kenney, 55 dock permits were issued with little challenge.

Throughout the program, while Kenney lauded its successes, he acknowledged that there were some issues early on that had to be worked through. This included having to work through some issues with alcohol and food delivery as well as general confusion at the start.

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At first, there were some delivery companies that were resistant to the new fees, Kenney reported. However, after enforcement was taken, all companies came into compliance.

“We did not lose any companies that threatened to leave Vail if they had to get a dock permit. We did have two companies that merged their deliveries, which I think is an excellent idea, I wish more companies would do that,” he said.

Large freight companies were the most resistant to the permits, with several opting not to deliver in Vail. However, as a result of conversations with these freight companies, most are cross-docking directly with 106West in EagleVail and then 106West is delivering the items to Vail.

“This has resulted in a significant decrease in large freight semis in Vail,” Kenney reported. “This was not a contingency we planned for, but the end result was positive.”

One additional challenge Kenney presented was on the hours of access for business owners, which is set from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The concern that this was not the right time was not heard a lot, but “from several loud voices,” he said.

However, following an “unofficial study,” Kenney reported that there wasn’t a better time identified by business owners, so the original 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. window remained.

The Vail business community had expressed concerns when the program was implemented. While Kenney didn’t name specific worries from business owners in his report, he said “the few that had issues, we met with and came up with solutions.”

After these solutions were implemented, “there have been no further problems reported,” he said.

“Most businesses have had no issues with the changes to loading and delivery,” Kenney added.

Now that the winter season has concluded, the program itself is leaning into the off-season, enabling business owners to change their inventory over to summer.

 “We’re still keeping a pretty tight watch on Bridge Street but everyone else we’re letting in, we’ve relaxed a lot of the rules,” Kenney said.

These restrictions will tighten back to “full implementation” right before the GoPro Mountain Games, which will take place from June 8 to 11.

Looking ahead to the future of the program, Kenney pointed to the remaining vehicles that are still allowed in the villages.

“FedEx, UPS and DHL have flown under the radar for years because when you have a 53-foot truck that 20-foot box truck blends into the background. Now that those trucks are gone, we’re starting to get a lot of complaints about FedEx, UPS and DHL,” Kenney said, adding that the town has meetings set to talk about “moving them out of the village and what that’s going to take.”

“I would like to see if we could get that implemented by next season,” he added. “We are going to work with them to make sure we’re not messing with commerce at all and slowing down deliveries at all.”

Additionally, Kenney reported that the police department is setting up similar meetings with trash truck companies to start discussions and see what the options are.

“We want to make sure we’re all on the same page, at a high level, before we start looking at options, but we are definitely working on it.”

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