Vail Daily column: Parking demand rising
The following is an excerpt from a report by the Vail Homeowners Association board of directors. 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.
One thing that is clear is that the demand for public parking is increasing, in both the winter and summer, causing more overflows onto the frontage roads. Already this summer, as of July 4, there have been innumerable days of frontage road parking, and one of those days saw one of the highest numbers of cars on frontage road in Vail’s entire history.
There are some stop-gap steps that could be taken to free up more parking. On most days this summer, the Lionshead Village structure has been full by mid-morning. That particular overload has been attributed to construction in Lionshead and at the Vail Valley Medical Center campus. In effect, Vail is subsidizing these projects with free parking for the workers. That raises the question of whether Vail should be doing so. After all, manning the collection booths of the structures could eliminate most forms of parking abuse, but that would require the will to do so. But regardless, the demand for parking often far outstrips the available facilities, and that demand is only going to grow as the summer on-mountain facilities increase in popularity.
The Vail Homeowners Association has long urged that Vail needs more public parking facilities. It is not a matter of lack of alternatives. The Lionshead Village structure could be expanded or the municipal site could be utilized. What is needed is for the council to stop kicking this can down the road and take action on one of Vail’s most pressing priorities.
The town of Vail reports that one the highest frequency of Frontage Road accidents involves bicyclists. When Frontage Road bicycle lanes are converted to parking to handle over-flow needs, it forces bicyclists into heavily-traveled traffic lanes. The likelihood of accidents increases when parked cars, pedestrian, bicyclist and passing vehicles are crowded into the same space.
Among the community’s biggest public safety fears is a family with small children or an access impaired elderly person parking on the frontage road and being struck while crossing it. On-street parking is not allowed anywhere else in the community.
The Vail Homeowners Association board is Gail Ellis, president; Judith Berkowitz, secretary; Rob Ford, treasurer; and directors Jamie Duke, John Gorsuch, John Lohre, Andres Nevares, Trygve Myhren, Larry Stewart and Doug Tansill.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.