between the covered bridge and Siebert Circle
Submitted by: Paul Westhelle
Pedestrian mall acts as the main thoroughfare through this European-style mountain village.
Bridge Street is a pedestrian mall that connects downtown Vail's parking structure to the mountain's ski lifts. It starts at a covered bridge (spanning Gore Creek) at its north end. The Covered Bridge is a short walk from the town's subterranean parking structure and lies along the free in-town bus route. South of the bridge, the pedestrian streetscape rises and bends slightly to the left and south towards the bottom of the mountain. The street ends at Siebert Circle, which is near the mountain's ski lifts.
Bridge Street is two blocks in length, with a width varying from 20 to 40 feet. The pedestrian streetscape is defined by 2- to 4-story neo-Tyrolean Chalet style buildings, replete with outdoor patio cafes, a variety of upscale shops, sculptures, and a water feature. The look is reminiscent of a European mountain village. This architectural form is as much a matter of function as it is of aesthetics, however: The extended roof lines and relatively narrow streets are helpful when it comes to managing the snow and wind of a Rocky Mountain winter.
What Makes Bridge Street a Great Place?
Prominent views of the Gore range and other surrounding mountain features have been preserved. The area is connected to other parts of downtown Vail by streets and alleys that are safe and conducive to walking. Bridge Street has people going to and fro throughout the day and in different patterns of use and flow throughout each of the different tourist seasons. As it is a pedestrian mall, public vehicular access is limited and closely guarded. Free, in-town busses can be accessed from a plaza just north of the Covered Bridge. Gore Creek Drive intersects Bridge street midway, providing other directions to explore downtown Vail.
As a place, Bridge Street offers a very strong first impression, and is very comfortable (as any thriving pedestrian-oriented place in America feels). It is fun, safe, and immaculately clean. It is patrolled by friendly local police throughout the day, and accomodates all types of people.
Bridge Street is prone to use fluctuations that come with the varied recreational seasons (ski season, summer, mud season, and fall) and the quantity of visitors and locals in town during these particular seasons.
Absolutely one the best places I can think of for socializing and people-watching in the U.S.
History & Background
Vail is one of the U.S.'s oldest ski areas, having opened for business in 1962; the Town of Vail was founded in 1966.
Town of Vail - 970-479-2100