Vail’s Red Sandstone parking structure’s impact uncertain
It will probably be next ski season before the structure's full impact on the town's parking picture is known
- 160: Spaces available at the Red Sandstone parking structure.
- 453: Spaces being built in a structure at Vail Health hospital.
- $4.3 million: Vail Resorts’ contribution to the Red Sandstone structure.
- $1.57 million: Eagle County Schools’ contribution to the structure.
VAIL — The new Red Sandstone parking structure is now fully open, but its place in the town’s parking picture is still coming into focus.
Officials from the town of Vail, Eagle County Schools and Vail Resorts were on hand for a Tuesday ribbon-cutting at the structure. At that ceremony, Vail Mayor Dave Chapin praised the partnership that created the structure, which adds as many as 160 weekend spaces to the town’s inventory. That partnership included cash contributions from the school district and resort company as part of an extensive renovation of Red Sandstone Elementary School.
But the structure, which was largely completed in late 2018, had a few stumbles on its way to completion.
Vail Public Works Department Director Greg Hall the delays were due to a couple of common problems in Vail construction: soils and weather.
Hall said in addition to the extra work required to firmly stick down the structure, the foundation had to be reinforced to accommodate extra levels. Both of those projects delayed the work.
The structure was also partially closed between April and November of 2019 to take of what Hall called “some structural deficiencies” on the third and second levels.
When the project partially opened in November of 2018, there were roughly 80 public spaces available. Those spaces can be accessed through a structure-specific pass the town sells — the structure is accessible only via town-issued “red” passes. About 60 of those structure-specific passes. The school has 40 spaces available on weekdays, but that parking is available for weekend use. Hall said the structure was opened last season to those who hold “green” passes.
For the current season, Hall said the town sold about 85 of the red passes.
Over the Christmas holidays, the town opened the structure to those who hold town value cards. Those cards work much like prepaid credit cards.
The structure is intended in large part for people who work in town. The facility is a stone’s throw from the pedestrian overpass that links the north and south sides of Interstate 70. And, Hall said, there’s frequent bus service into Vail Village.
At the moment, the structure doesn’t often fill. Hall said the intent is to ensure red pass holders always have access.
But it may take some time for the structure to find its true place in the town’s parking picture. Hall said that the picture will become more clear when the 453-space structure at Vail Health Hospital opens late this year. The end of the hospital’s massive, multi-year renovation and expansion program will also mean fewer construction vehicles and hospital employees park at the Lionshead Parking Structure.
With that work done, town officials will have a chance to fully understand how the new structure will affect parking in town, Hall said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2930.