Free parking for Vail winter may last 2 hours
VAIL – The Town of Vail is considering charging $3 after 3 p.m. and making parking free for the first
2 hours in each parking structure, rather than the current 1 1/2 hours – proposals that had mixed reactions at a recent Vail Economic Advisory Council meeting.
The Vail Town Council discussed the proposal last week and heard from a few people who supported the idea during the public comment portion of the meeting, said Councilwoman Kim Newbury.
Vail Economic Development director Kelli McDonald told the Economic Advisory Council she needed members’ feedback on the idea so she could bring their comments back to the Town Council next week.
Economic Advisory Council members favored the idea of free parking for the first 2 hours, but opposed the idea for $3 after 3 p.m.
“That feels like nickel-and-diming,” said Greg Moffet, a former Vail Town Council member and owner of Tiga Advertising. “That kind of stuff, I think, is a turnoff.”
Brian Nolan, a Vail and Beaver Creek restaurant owner, said the free parking in the Vail parking structures after 3 p.m. is part of the local culture. Taking it away would be like taking away the free cookies at Beaver Creek, he said.
“It’s almost an insult,” Nolan said. “I think it’s a big deal, I really do.”
The reason the Town of Vail’s public works director Greg Hall presented the $3 proposal to the town council is because it would offset the cost of extending the free parking from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
Vail’s finance director Judy Camp said the town would forfeit about $115,000 in revenue by extending free parking to 2 hours.
Economic Advisory Council members said the difference would be made up through more sales tax revenues, though, because people would stay in town longer and likely spend more money.
Members said increasing free parking to 2 hours would be a huge benefit. The current system barely allows enough time for people to come to Vail to have lunch, Moffet said.
“It can easily take 10 minutes-plus from when you enter the garage to when you find a parking spot,” Moffet said.
The difference in the half-hour could allow people a more leisurely lunch, and perhaps enough time to drop into a retail store and buy something.
“It’s going to take care of itself one way or another,” Moffet said, referring to revenue.
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