Vail Daily column: Kicking the can on parking
December 23, 2016
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.
While the Town Council focuses on moving forward with their housing initiative, the parking issue is being ushered off to a "task force." This means that producing a solution to the parking mess is now going to be put off for at least several years (since even once a decision is made there will be a significant planning and developmental period before any concrete steps can be taken). This notwithstanding that the town of Vail has a commitment from Vail Resorts for $4.3 million for parking expansion, which would go a long way toward funding a solution to one of Vail's most pressing issues. That commitment has been outstanding for 10 years while the town of Vail has pondered the issue and the cost of additional structured parking has risen.
The 10-member task force is to be appointed by January, but it reportedly is not going to focus on "long-term" solutions which, if true, raise the question of when is the town of Vail ever going to come to grips with Vail's No. 1 public safety issue? Is it going to take a serious accident or worse to get action on this issue?
The task force is to be composed of basically business interests with only one community-at-large member and no public safety advocate. As with the case of all such committees, the outcome of deliberations can be predetermined depending on who is appointed to the committee, so given its reported lack of long-term focus and composition, the prospects of a solution do not appear to be great.
Vail Homeowners Association suggests this is not the way to do the public's business. Overflow parking on Frontage Road has been and continues to be the no. 1 public safety issue for Vail. Public safety should be the highest priority of the town of Vail.
Some have suggested that there is significant private parking inventory that goes unused on any given day. One step that could be taken would be for the Vail Parking Authority to create a database of all such parking inventory. Given modern technology, it should be a relatively simple process to then create a public reservation system for guests. Even guests without a reservation could be directed to those spaces on a daily basis which would curtail parking on Frontage Road. With such a system in place, the Frontage Road would only have to be used when all available parking was actually being used. Such a system would have the added benefit of informing the town of Vail about the actual number of parking spaces available and provide the basis for an accurate accounting of the number of additional structured parking spaces that need to be financed and constructed.
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At the same time, as the last few years have demonstrated, parking availability is a growing problem, and it should be forthrightly addressed. The time for action has long since passed.
If these issues concern you, then get informed and become involved. Government responds to the public; silence only enables those who would seek to profit in the absence of accountability. Join the Vail Homeowners Association in shining a spotlight on issues that concern everyone.
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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