Numbers show plenty of parking in Breck | SummitDaily.com
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Numbers show plenty of parking in Breck

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge has plenty of parking – even during the busiest days of Christmas, Presidents Day Weekend – and now the town has the numbers to back it up.

According to town transit and parking director Jim Benkelman, free town parking lots held, on average, 55 percent of their capacity from Nov. 1, 2001, to April 1, 2002.

The town’s pay lots – Tiger Dredge and F-Lot, at the southwest corner of town – had an occupancy rate of 51 percent. Ski area lots were at 48 percent of capacity

Benkelman said the numbers are significant, not only because it’s the first quantifiable compilation the town ever has done, but because so many people drove up from the Front Range this ski season. Additionally, “black-out” days at Vail Mountain diverted skiers to Summit County, further boosting those numbers.

“We’re at a point where we can quantitatively discuss parking with people,” said Councilmember Larry Crispell. “Now we have the data to back it up. Parking counts will confirm we still have excess parking on a daily basis.”

Parking is among the biggest topics of concern among residents, ski area and town officials and visitors to town. And as land continues to be developed – notably, the Watson and Sawmill parking lots along South Park Avenue – the pressure to maintain the number of existing parking spots in and around town increases, as well.

The town has 11 free parking lots that can hold 44,032 vehicles, Benkelman said. There were 23 days during the past ski season when at least one lot was full. The ski area, which has nine parking lots, recorded 210 days in which one or more lots were full.

The lots that get filled the most often include Beaver Run, Miner’s lot and Peak 8.

According to data submitted to the town by ski resort officials, 11,044 cars were parked in the last two weeks of November, 27,319 were parked in December, 24,183 in January, 25,480 in February and 24,752 in March.

The town fared well in collecting money on its two pay parking lots, as well, Benkelman said. Revenue was up 5 percent over last ski season, but off from what was projected last summer.

He said the town could probably “park a little smarter,” – like the ski area does, guiding vehicles to spots – but was unsure if the extra cost involved would be collected in revenue.

Revenue for the ski season in the pay parking lots totalled $185,746, a 3 percent increase over 2001. But Benkelman, who crafts his winter budget in May, June and July, said town officials had originally anticipated a revenue increase of 9 percent.

The biggest change was noted in the Tiger Dredge parking lots, which used to be day-parking, and has since been changed to accommodate short-term parking, as well.

“People are starting to realize Tiger Dredge is more convenient,” Benkelman said. “After a day of skiing, they don’t have to repark closer to downtown.”

F-Lot, at South Park Avenue and Village Road, fills with skiers in the day, and employees and shoppers in the evening, once it becomes free parking. The courthouse lot behind Towne Square, is primarily used by courthouse and Main Street employees.

Locals also use the Lower Exchange lot (in the east alley in the 100 block of South Main Street) and the Barney Ford (at Washington and Ridge streets), Benkelman said.

“They are consistently full,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to see the same car parked there day after day during the week.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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