Vail Daily column: No easy parking solutions
July 31, 2015
Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association Newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
There are no easy solution to Vail's parking problem. Basically the town has only limited choices:
Allow more and more parking on the frontage road, which may require purchasing the rights to that roadway from CDOT;
build new parking structures;
and/or acquire land downvalley west of Dowd Junction and remote-park visitors there.
All are expensive solutions. Acquiring the rights to the frontage road will not only require a large initial outlay but will also entail assuming the annual maintenance, which will become an increasingly costly item as the years go by.
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There are only very limited location choices for a new structure — basically the current town municipal site, the charter bus parking area at the east end of the Lionshead parking structure or adjacent to the north sides of either the Vail Village or Lionshead parking structures. Building a structure is also a costly undertaking with construction costs becoming a political football with estimates bandied about ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 per space, the former being quoted by proponents of a new structure and the latter by opponents.
Creating remote downvalley parking is also an expensive undertaking.
There are those who oppose spending any money on public parking and are content to allow full-time parking on the frontage road as a preferred solution. Proponents of building additional public parking view parking on the frontage roads as a public safety hazard, a hindrance to traffic flow, an eye sore and a sign of lack of excellence in customer service. And, while there are no inexpensive solutions, that is not any different from Vail's early years when Vail voters approved and built the existing Vail Village and Lionshead structures.
So far, Vail parking has been a decision by indecision. The question before the community is whether that should be allowed to continue or whether the greater good for the community's future and the quality of the Vail experience requires town leaders to find a solution. Stated another way, has the time come for community leaders to take up the hard work of bringing workable solutions before the voters, as their forward looking predecessor did in their day when they rose to the very same challenges in the beginning years of the community? The parking challenge then was no easier than it is today.
VHA recommends that serious study be given to the building of additional parking structures and the staged removal of all frontage road on-street parking, with the provision that all currently existing limited free and permit parking be continued within public parking structures.
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