After compiling almost a year’s worth of survey data, Breckenridge is creeping closer towards improving parking and traffic flow in and around the bustling town core.
The data will ultimately help the town develop a parking and transit master plan. Survey responses, from both visitors and residents, was collected during the months of December, March, April and July.
Not surprisingly, a vast majority of respondents, both local and visitors alike, vehemently opposed parking meters in the downtown core.
Seventy-one percent of local residents opposed meters, but 18 percent were open to the idea if certain provisions were met. Those include free parking after a certain time, more convenient parking for access to work, frequent public transportation and reasonable cost and time limits.
While opposition remained strong to parking meters, the idea of a municipal parking deck, referred to as the “F Parking Structure,” received much more support. Forty-five percent of locals supported a parking deck while 22 percent opposed. But only the day visitor respondents were most likely to ever use such a structure, especially for ski trips (76 percent), while only 33 percent of local respondents were likely to ever use it for work.
“We’re trying to figure out behavior patterns and what me might need in the coming years,” said Kim Dykstra-DiLallo, spokeswoman for town of Breckenridge. “We’re looking at surveys and parking now and building a complete study around it.”
The surveys did unveil some interesting visitor behavior patterns.
People travel to Breckenridge for a lot more reasons in the summer than they do in winter. A staggering 95 percent of all respondents said the main reason they visit in the winter is for winter sports. However, in the summer, wining and dining was the primary purpose to visit Breckenridge, followed by various outdoor activities, business and shopping.
Although shopping was low on the list for summer travelers, they are much more likely to shop than their winter counterparts. Twenty-four percent of summer travelers came to Breckenridge intending to shop while only 8 percent did so in the winter. Also, 89 percent of summer visitors planned to visit Main Street at some time during their stay, while less than half said they planned to do so in March or December.
Summer travelers were a little bit more environmentally friendly in some ways, but not in others. For example, visitors carpooled at higher rates in the summer. The average vehicle carried three passengers in the summer compared to 2.6 per vehicle in the winter. However, summer visitors were one-third as likely to use public transportation with only 8 percent of summer respondents ever using a bus or shuttle at least once during their visit.
“With summer data included, the information provided in the current ... surveys provides for a clearer picture of the demographic patterns, and behaviors of our users, as well as information on what they are looking for from a parking and transit management plan,” reported Shannon Haynes, Breckenridge chief of police.
RRC Associates, a research firm out of Boulder, has helped the town gather much of the data in the sparking and transit study. All the information will be used to ultimately create a parking and transit master plan.
Seventy-one percent of local residents opposed meters, but 18 percent were open to the idea if certain provisions were met.