Breckenridge’s Great Parking Debate of 2015 (letter)
The Great Parking Debate of 2015
It appears to me that the town of Breckenridge and Vail Resorts are on a collision course for a “shootout” to resolve the Great Parking Debate of 2015! Certainly, the propaganda campaigns appear to be in full swing. Is one of the parties wearing a black hat? It’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad without the proper attire. Perhaps we could have the “shootout” on Main Street sometime in October (between the Oktoberfest and Dew Tour) — publicizing and selling tickets to boost visitor nights … oh, but then we’d need more parking. Does this sound a bit silly?
It occurs that the issues and equities involved are more complex than might be revealed in a poll of 120 residents, coffees with the council, letters to season pass holders or “dualing” articles in the Summit Daily News. As a homeowner and Breckenridge resident, it’s not about parking for me, it’s about traffic density and getting around easily. Have you ever tried to make a turn off of Four O’Clock Road at the end of a ski day, on a busy summer weekend or after an NRO Performance? I really don’t like the idea of more congestion on Park Avenue!
But, to the local business owners and Vail Resorts, I’m sure it’s about attracting more guests, having them stay longer and, oh yes, profit margins. As a publicly-traded company, no kidding Vail Resorts is not in favor of an admissions fee/lift tax or whatever. However, one thing seems certain: The Breckenridge guest experience is in everyone’s interest. Without a positive guest experience, no one gains. Not even those of us who live here and value a thriving community with world-class infrastructure and year-round attractions and activities. And, it seems to me that the guest experience is proportionately linked to getting around, parking and enjoying their stay in our town — winter or summer. So there’s the dilemma.
I would guess that the Breckenridge/Vail Resorts partnership has worked pretty well for all involved up to now with skier days at an all time high and continued investment into our mountain. But, give me a break — traffic and parking stink, public transportation is inadequate given the lot situation and neither will get better without investment regardless of source. Sometimes confronting a multidimensional problem such as this — with varied stakeholder’s (residents, business owners, employees, guests) — it is useful to engage an objective third party to perform a stakeholder analysis and a dispassionate analysis of alternatives including long-term costs and revenues. Most reputable transportation consulting firms should have the necessary expertise.
Rather than the voters expressing a November opinion based on incomplete information, it might be beneficial for the town and Vail Resorts to co-fund a third party stakeholder analysis and an analysis of alternatives. Maybe F-Lot makes sense but just maybe South Lot (despite the current master plan for a Vail Resorts hotel and multi-story parking garage) at lower cost and with some sort of revenue share makes more sense. Gee, perhaps sometime in the next 10 years, there might be other more important and productive uses for the space currently occupied by F-Lot. Regardless of the answer, someone needs to step up and help create a win/win!
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