Will Vail’s parking rules be the same this winter?
VAIL, Colorado – In a resort town known best for change over the past decade or so, the Vail Town Council on Tuesday will be asked to maintain the status quo on winter parking.
The council is set to review winter parking rates and policies at Tuesday’s evening meeting, and town staff is recommending that the council maintain the policies and prices put in place last year. The biggest change last year was extending the free-parking period to two hours from 90 minutes. The town also kept its long-running free parking after 3 p.m. policy and its maximum 24-hour rate of $25.
That’s welcome news for Bill Suarez, owner of Billy’s Island Grill in Lionshead. Suarez isn’t really affected by parking regulations – his place is only open at night. But, he said, his friends and neighbors in Lionshead are big fans of the new regulations.
“I think it’s the smartest move they ever made,” Suarez said. “It allows people, especially if they’re downvalley, to go into Vail and have lunch.”
Richard ten Braak, director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, agreed that the longer grace period for free parking is a positive thing for local businesses. And, he said, with the end of major construction projects in Vail, there seems to be plenty of space available.
While skier days with cars parked on South Frontage Road exploded in the middle of the past decade, last year, which saw plenty of skier days, there were only seven times when cars parked on the frontage road. The rest of the time, the structures – as well as new, private parking structures and outlying parking served by town buses – could handle the load.
While parking revenue was down about $500,000 last season, Suarez said people eating and shopping in town create tax revenue that can offset the loss of revenue from parking fees.
“The only thing we’d ask for is a change to an even longer free period,” ten Braak said. “That’s not likely, but you have to ask.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or