No more free skier parking at Snowmass Rodeo Lot
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” This winter, skiers and boarders will pay $5 per vehicle to park in the Snowmass Village Rodeo Lot.
The Town Council voted 3-2 Monday to do away with free skier parking at the lot, approving a $5 fee to park there.
Supporters of the plan noted free parking is still available at the intercept lot at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, but critics warned the institution of paid parking at the Rodeo Lot comes with little warning and could negatively impact skiers.
“I just feel that it’s time to start charging something at the rodeo lot,” said Councilman Reed Lewis.
The strategy comes as the town is trying to get visitors out of their cars and onto buses to relieve pressure on the limited roadways into town. Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses from the intercept lot run only half as frequently as Snowmass Shuttle buses run from the Rodeo Lot, though ” every 30 minutes versus every 15 minutes.
Some said the decision was made without enough planning and preparation.
“I’m very concerned that if we start charging (at the rodeo lot), without having our ducks in a row, it will be a big problem,” said Steve Sewell, Snowmass mountain manager for the Aspen Skiing Co.
“I’m also concerned that this will have a negative impact on our guest’s experience
coming into Snowmass,” Sewell added.
One incentive, however, has been put in place to limit the number of vehicles coming into town. A private vehicle carrying four or more passengers may still park at the Rodeo Lot for free. Snowmass Village employees may also park there for free.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to start charging for parking at the Rodeo Lot,” said Councilman John Wilkinson, who supported the measure. “Five dollars is not going to make people stop skiing.”
Councilwoman Sally Sparhawk and Mayor Doug “Merc” Mercatoris voted against the parking fee.
“I think we should put the public on notice that we are moving toward paid parking everywhere in Snowmass Village,” Mercatoris said. “I think it’s a big mistake right now. We are too close to the season.”
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Changes are coming to Aspen’s downtown landscape when it comes to using public right-of-way space for private use.