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Thursday, July 23, 2015
Breckenridge poll shows support for parking plan, lift-ticket tax
In a recent poll of likely Breckenridge voters, a majority of respondents supported the town’s parking and transit plan including an F-Lot parking garage.
The poll was conducted in June by the Denver-based opinion research specialists Vitale and Associates on behalf of the town of Breckenridge.
Todd Vitale, founder and principal, said 120 residents with Breckenridge voting history were randomly selected and asked questions on parking, traffic and transit issues.
The respondents represent about 2.5 percent of the town’s 2013 permanent resident population, as estimated by the Summit County planning department, and Vitale said they also accurately represent the town’s demographics in terms of gender, age and political party affiliation.
Most of those polled said parking and traffic congestion in Breckenridge is a serious problem and should be a top priority for town leaders.The respondents also showed strong support for what town officials have called an admissions tax — called a lift-ticket tax by Breckenridge Ski Resort representatives — to address those challenges.
“The results are confirming,” Vitale said. “The voters understand what a serious problem parking and traffic is, and they strongly favor a long-term comprehensive plan including the consideration of a parking structure. As part of this proposal, they also want town leaders to address ongoing transit and pedestrian flow issues as they develop these long-term solutions.”
On Wednesday, July 15, the town gave the resort a proposal for a 4 percent tax on lift tickets and season passes with a deadline of Friday to respond. Resort officials have said they want to contribute to a solution but adamantly oppose the tax. Town council members have said if the two parties can’t reach an agreement, the issue will go before voters in November.
To start the poll, 72 percent of respondents said they generally supported a plan that includes a parking structure at F-Lot. When those polled were given more details from the town’s comprehensive proposal, Vitale said, in some cases support increased to 87 percent.
Respondents were asked if they were more likely to support a proposal if:
• Parking lot fees stay the same, including free after 3 p.m., all summer and during off-season — 87 percent more likely
• Structure designed to mesh with town character — 83 percent
• Structure would offer up to 600 new spaces — 83 percent
• More than 90 percent of revenue will come from out-of-town visitors — 79 percent
• Structure would likely include designated employee parking — 77 percent
• Structure part of long-term comprehensive traffic, parking, transit plan — 76 percent
• Structure would include a new pedestrian bridge/roundabout — 76 percent
“These support levels are quite high,” Vitale said. “It’s clear that voters see the comprehensive F-Lot parking and transit plan as a very positive option to address these serious problems.”
Given the details, voters also supported funding the plan through an admissions tax on lift tickets and for-profit special events.
Breckenridge Town Council has been working on a long-term solution to parking, traffic and transit problems for a number of years. Most recently, the town organized community forums, a transit and parking task force and the aforementioned June poll.
“Frankly, this poll confirms what many of us already believed about the thoughts and concerns of our citizens,” said Mayor John Warner. “It also confirms what we on the town council believe the necessary solution is for the problems. We must have a reliable source of revenue to solve the long-term parking and traffic problems we face. I’m glad the citizens are engaged in the process to consider a parking structure as part of this plan.”
He said the council will continue to interact with residents in the next few weeks as members move forward with developing and proposing a concrete plan and funding mechanism.
“This is a comprehensive plan that addresses what our citizens have stated is the No. 1 problem in our town, and we are determined to design and implement a solution,” he said.
The town started a Coffee with the Council series of informal public meetings to answer questions and gather input on Thursday, July 16, at Yellow Arrow Coffee. The next meeting will be at Cabin Coffee Co. at 222 S. Main St. on Thursday, July 23, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.