Letter: Don’t make parking burden heavier on local workers in Vail
The Vail Town Council was scheduled to consider changes to parking fees at its meeting on Sept. 20. The matter was tabled and will likely return to their agenda. Two of the recommendations from the parking advisory group should embarrass town leaders and cause them to question the wisdom of their appointees. Both of these changes will place a harsh and unnecessary burden on those who work to support our tourism-reliant economy.
Moving the start of free parking from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. will impact hospitality and retail workers who work the evening shift. The store where I work relies on the use of free parking for staff who may work a four hours shift. Any charge to part-time employees for this time period will result in serious understaffing.
Secondly — increasing the price of an employee parking permit by 42% is just wrong. Doing so during record inflation is insensitive. The average employee working in Vail Village will now have to dedicate one week of after-tax pay to cover the $500 permit fee.
If anything, the town should reduce the cost of employee parking and cover the cost with the increase in transient parking rates. If the town is able to work with CDOT to obtain approval to charge for parking on South Frontage Road (a fine idea!), it should use some of this windfall to reduce the parking costs for employees. In the time between my original writing and the tabling of the issue, an alternate proposal now includes allowing public use of the lot that has been exclusively for employees. This jeopardizes employee access to this resource. Sharing is not a good idea.