Newkirk: Breckenridge Town Council on the right transit track (column) |

Newkirk: Breckenridge Town Council on the right transit track (column)

David Newkirk
Special to the Daily

I’ll readily concede The Village at Breckenridge HOA’s contention in a recent letter that most people probably thought that they were voting for a structure on F-lot. Though I loved the idea of forcing the ski area to acknowledge their financial responsibility to contribute to a solution to the parking issue, I actually voted against it because I thought a parking structure was not the answer. I also thought the dust up between the town and ski area was not really settled.

Unfortunately, I was right — the dust up continues with surrogate help from an HOA that will benefit most from a F-lot parking structure.

Unlike the Village HOA, I have no problem with the town council thinking outside the box and still looking under every dredge rock for potential solutions. Our last town election offered one of the best field of candidates in my 30+ years of Breckenridge elections, so I encourage the mayor and council to continue to bring their wide range of views and experience to bear on an issue with such long-term consequences. I even encourage Mayor Eric Mamula to continue discussions with the ski area about purchasing the Gondola lot. It may be worth the price to keep any more ski area tentacles out of the town.

The Village HOA’s comparison of Breckenridge to Vail is ridiculous. Breckenridge doesn’t have I-70 sitting next to it (thank goodness) to immediately channel traffic away, and Vail doesn’t have a heavily-traveled state highway running through it. Besides, anyone driving past Vail on a winter weekend should understand that their garages are not the final answer.

I’m also tired of the often repeated fallacy that local businesses suffer from satellite parking. Get a grip! Though it offers locals a nice perk, the Buddy pass was never designed to benefit the town or its merchants. It was designed to fill Vail’s coffers, which ironically, we can now tap to solve the problem they largely created.

No local merchant is ever going to get rich off of Front Range day skiers; they’re more likely to clog roads and diminish the destination skier’s experience. Let them leave as quickly and efficiently as possible to test their driving skills on the too-narrow toll lane.

I don’t offer Telluride as any type of “comparison,” but, years ago, I was simply astonished to be offered free parking and a free chair lift ride to the base of its mountain. Ever since, I’ve thought satellite parking with a unique and free transport to downtown was the answer for Breckenridge.

In one of my more out-of-the-box moments, I thought a narrow-gauge, steam-engine railroad through the middle of town would be the trick. Once the town council gets over laughing about that one, I hope they will seriously consider satellite parking, which may eventually need its own garage, connected with a high speed, nearly 24/7 gondola or tram terminating at F-lot with a stop at the Peak 8 gondola and maybe even City Market. It offers a more flexible, longer term solution and can’t be any more expensive than a parking structure on F-lot.

Locals might even be persuaded to use it if given a privileged parking area! Not as cool as a steam engine, but pretty close and a lot more efficient.

Dave Newkirk lives in Breckenridge.

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