Where do other resorts park their people?
October 3, 2007
Surveying the parking situation in other ski towns shows that many drivers in other resorts still park for free.Ketchum, Idaho, Crested Butte, Colo., and Steamboat Springs, Colo., provide free parking in their downtown cores. They also have large parking lots near their ski mountains that are free. Telluride and Park City have paid-parking programs similar to Aspen, which charges people to park in the commercial core and in the town’s only parking garage, the Rio Grande Parking Plaza.Ketchum is the primary town where residents live in Blaine County, Idaho, and is located a few miles from the Sun Valley ski resort. With 6,000 residents in Ketchum and 20,000 in the Wood River valley, Ketchum still manages to offer free parking downtown with two-hour limits. The areas just outside of the commercial core offer free parking all day, said Rachel Martin, a Ketchum planning assistant.A proposal to institute paid parking recently surfaced, she said, but the city planner who introduced it has left her position. Ketchum has experienced difficulty in balancing workers’ parking needs with tourists, but the two-hour limits enacted more than two years ago seem to be helping, Martin said.Steamboat, which is currently facing the most development the resort has ever seen, still offers free parking downtown and on residential side streets. And there, too, tourists compete with locals for parking spaces in the two-hour zones. “We do have a problem with congestion,” said George Krawzoff, Steamboat’s transportation services director. He added that between one-third and one-half of downtown parking is taken by locals. Krawzoff said the parking facility west of town is underused.”As usual, you have competing interests,” he said. “It’s tough. How do you provide parking for employees and visitors?”Krawzoff, who used to work in the transportation department in Snowmass Village, said he’s charged with capping the current level of traffic at 30,000 cars coming into Steamboat.”That’s the capacity on Lincoln Avenue, which is our Main Street,” he said. Steamboat has contemplated a paid-parking program but the idea hasn’t gained much momentum. “Downtown businesses are still uncertain if it’s a benefit or a detriment,” Krawzoff said. Telluride City Manager Frank Bell said paid parking in the downtown core, which has a three-hour limit and is $1 an hour, may not be popular with locals or tourists but it works in reducing traffic congestion. And in order to park in neighborhoods, one must have a permit.”Not everyone likes it but it solves a lot of problems,” he said. “In order to make paid parking work you have to have permits, otherwise they just spill into the residential areas.”But free all-day parking is available to commuters and visitors at the Carhenge parking lot on West Pacific Street. The lot is serviced by the regular Galloping Goose shuttle bus. In Park City, more than 75 percent of public parking is free in the Main Street area with four-hour time limits. However, the most convenient customer parking is $1 an hour with a three-hour limit. Free all-day parking is located in three different parking lots.