Watch out for those handcarts in Vail
VAIL ” Tracy Long says Vail’s plan to remove delivery trucks from the village’s pedestrian streets may end up doing more harm than good.
Long, owner of Blizzard’s Mountain Deli in Vail Village, worries about increased delivery costs, which would have to be passed on to people buying sandwiches at her shop, she said.
Vail is already an expensive place to visit, Long said.
“I want this to be a welcoming place,” she said.
Long gets 800 to 900 pounds of food delivered to her deli every day. Trucks pull up to her store ” on a pedestrian street in Vail ” in the early mornings. Later, when trucks are not allowed, workers walk in supplies with hand trucks.
But Vail envisions a network of loading docks that would remove trucks from pedestrian streets in the village altogether.
Big projects under construction in Vail Village ” including the Front Door project, One Willow Bridge Road, Solaris and Vail Plaza Hotel and Club ” will have loading docks that will be open to Vail businesses.
The town’s plan is to ultimately prohibit delivery trucks from the street, instead having them use this network of docks. Vail officials say the trucks bother tourists on pedestrian streets.
The first loading dock ” 14 bays in the Front Door project ” could be ready as soon as Thanksgiving.
The town is trying to figure out how best to use that dock when it’s ready.
There was a lot of “venting” and “frustration” at a meeting on the subject last week, said Pam Brandmeyer, Vail’s assistant town manager.
Many business owners had never heard about the plans. Complicating matters was the fact that many restaurateurs and hoteliers only heard about the meeting ” directed toward delivery workers only ” through word of mouth.
“There was never any intent to leave anyone out of this meeting,” Brandmeyer said.
Brandmeyer said the conversations are preliminary and the first meeting was a “misstep.” More meetings are scheduled that will include everyone, she said.
The delivery system might end up starting on a voluntary basis for businesses, she said.
Paul Ferzacca, chef and owner of La Tour in Vail Village, said more discussion is needed. “There definitely has to be implementation in phases to getting them off the streets, and seeing if it’s even going to work,” he said.
But once all of the docks are up and running, the system should work, he said.
“Until then, make it easy,” he said.
Steve Kaufman, owner of the Tap Room, said he thinks it’s unsafe to have delivery workers walking lots of supplies through town on hands trucks from the docks to the businesses.
His Friday delivery might require 100 trips with a handcart to get all the food, liquor and beer he needs. The plan isn’t practical, he said.
“We don’t live in a perfect world,” he said. “Some things are feasible and some things are not. On paper it sounds nice, but if you have guys on hand carts working as fast as they can to get out of there, and you have little kids running around, somebody is going to get hit.”
Both Kaufman and Long said they’d like to see trucks allowed on the streets in the early mornings ” as they are now ” with the docks available for deliveries during the day.
Jim Lamont, executive director of the Vail Village Homeowners Association, has spearheaded efforts to get the delivery system for Vail.
“When you’re on vacation and you go to a nice place, do you want to wander through trucks?” he said.
Once businesses see that the system is efficient, they will begin to use it. “Any change brings resistance,” he said. “But it’s the fear of the unknown.”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.
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