Breckenridge developing master transit plan to ease traffic, parking woes
Vehicles circle the block like metal sharks.
Drivers wait, lurk, search for the perfect parking space.
When you live in one of the most popular tourists destinations in the country, traffic issues are expected. But in order to improve parking and traffic woes in busy downtown Breckenridge, town council is in the process of creating a five-year master transit plan.
“One reason we have a lot of traffic in town is because people are driving around and around looking for a space,” Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe said.
After spending almost a year collecting data by surveying guests and locals, the town is prepared to start setting goals for the master transit plan. During Tuesday afternoon’s work session, council began forming some of those proposed goals. Lots of ideas were suggested, from creating a smartphone app that would show users in real time which parking lots have spaces available to bringing back the trolley.
“I don’t think we are doing enough to get people out of their cars once they get to Breckenridge,” Councilman Ben Brewer said. “Not that I’m opposed to a parking structure, but we already have too many cars … I want to discourage use of cars in the core, starting with locals and employees.”
Mayor pro tem Mark Burke suggested a centralized employee parking area with regular shuttle service to help subtract some of the core traffic.
“I think that’s a good start,” Brewer said. “In one of our studies we found that our local employees are taking away spots from guests.”
“I’m one of the worst about parking right in front of the office,” Councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence said.
“I’m guilty of the same thing,” Brewer admitted.
But council was also quick to point out issues with giant parking structures.
“Our parking is eclectic in nature,” Wolfe said. “There’s a parking lot here and one over there. That’s what Breckenridge is. I’m not sure building a big parking structure is best for the character of the town.”
Council also showed interests in combining the transit efforts of the town and the resort.
“I’d like to see a unified transit system in town,” Brewer said.
Much of the discussion of goals centered on improving the guest experience. Burke suggested that a centralized parking structure could accomplish that goal and increase the number of people spending time and money downtown.
“If you’ve been skiing all day, then you get shuttled out to Lot 11, you unload all your gear and get back into your vehicle, why would you want to head back into downtown when you can just drive to Frisco to eat,” Burke said. “Our guests are expecting convenience.”
And there is no question the vast majority of winter visitors are there for skiing. The survey found that 89 percent of guests driving in town were there for skiing or boarding. But the visitors lucky enough to get a parking spot in the F Lot, located right behind town hall, were much more likely to head back to town to dine or shop after a day on the slopes.
At an upcoming retreat, council members are expected to finalize a precise set of goals to highlight the master transit plan. In the meantime, cars will keep circling round and round looking for the perfect space.
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