Letter: We can’t get disabled community members a reduced-price parking pass?
The new parking protocol of the town of Vail is a contentious issue for many people. The town chose to use an IT consulting company to handle all aspects of parking. I have communicated with town officials and Town Council members. My personal issue is the discontinuation of the handicapped parking pass. I feel it is very important to provide members of the disabled community with the modest benefit of a reduced-price parking pass.
Recently, I received a call from Deputy Town Manager Kathleen Halloran, who wanted to explain why this pass was discontinued. To paraphrase some of our conversation, Katheen told me that, one, it is not as if “…handicapped people receive a discount when they park at DIA …” and the committee researched handicapped parking around the country. (Eagle County Airport provides free parking to the handicapped, as do many municipalities in Colorado.) Two, there are alternatives to parking in the two main structures and she suggested parking in the Sandstone lot and taking the bus into town — but our buses do not “kneel” which makes boarding difficult plus the challenge of snow and ice around the bus stops. Three, why should some disabled people have this benefit when others might also want this pass but are unaware that it exists. (Many in our community do know about this, but do not come into town for less than 28 days so it’s not cost-effective to buy a pass.) My responses were meaningless, because I was told about the hours and days the town’s Parking Committee spent working on these issues.
The Marlyn Group, LLC, and Zephire, which is a subsidiary of the Marlyn Group, is a small IT and business consulting company in Ohio. The Parking Committee and the town chose them to manage the statistics and mechanics of the parking operations. This company, as far as I can tell, employs less than 10 people. A family-owned, small company should be happy to develop any type of parking pass their clients want for their specific population.
The Parking Committee decided on a plan that adversely affects all of us from retail businesses, employees, restaurants and the disabled. This means limited or extremely expensive parking options for everyone. Most of us don’t care how many meetings the committee had nor the hours they spent coming up with their plan to “streamline” the passes offered. I am sure Marlyn Group could manage a few additional types of passes in order to benefit everyone in our community.