More parking spaces or $50 tickets?
Consultant says more parking wont cure Ketchum congestion
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
People who drive into Ketchum may eventually have to pay to park.
The citys downtown parking availability is adequate, but seven years
down the road, something will have to be done to increase availability. Building more
parking spaces is not the answer.
That was the message from Ketchums highway, traffic and parking
consultant Darrell Wilburn to the City Council Monday night.
Better management of existing parking is probably the most appropriate
solution, he said.
Council members agreed.
"Sooner or later weve got to start dealing with the problem and
call it a problem," Councilman David Hutchinson said.
The number of people driving into town is the problem, council members
Wilburn presented to the council a report that recommends converting
Ketchums two-hour parking spaces to paid parking or increasing fines for those who
overstay their limits.
"Fifty-dollar tickets and one-hour parking will certainly get rid of
the long-term parkers," Wilburn told the council.
Wilburn said the average stay for someone parking in Ketchums
downtown is one hour. About 25 percent of those parking in the downtown stay longer than
an hour, he said.
Wilburn said those who park longer than one hour are taking up a lot of
the available parking spaces in town.
He studied an eight-block area of the downtown.
"Parking meters are very effective for enforcement," Wilburn
said. "Metering is a tool and you need to use it as your parking demand
Wilburn said that peak summer traffic, the busiest time in Ketchum,
creates 85 percent parking occupancy. He forecast two percent growth in parking demand per
year, if Ketchum continues to grow at its current pace.
The uncertainty with parking meters, Wilburn said, is that "parking
meters could discourage people from coming into the downtown area, but if there are no
parking spaces, they dont come anyway."
Council members agreed with Wilburns assessment, though they did not
make any decisions on the matter.
"To try to accommodate the cars is a losing battle,"
Councilwoman Chris Potters said.
She and Hutchinson advocated mass transit as the solution.
Hutchinson said increasing parking availability in Ketchum would provide
more incentive for people to drive to town, adding to the overcrowded highway as well.
"Well just be fighting a losing battle and ruining the
highway," he said.
Hutchinson said a park-and-ride lot in Hailey could be an answer.
Ketchum resident Mickey Garcia adamantly disagreed.
"Why dont we just tell Hailey theyre our parking
lot," Garcia said. "Youre trying to shift the responsibility down
Council members disagreed with Garcias interpretation of their
"We didnt say that," Councilman Randy Hall said.
The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council will continue
to address the parking issue in their consideration of the citys draft comprehensive
plan. A joint council and P&Z meeting is scheduled for April 6 at Ketchum City Hall at
The council also considered the following issues at Mondays meeting:
Codification is the means by which a municipality binds its laws in an
easy-to-use, comprehensive book or books.
The 496-page Ketchum code is current as of July 19, 1999.
It includes all of the citys ordinances and will be updated about
twice a year.
At the request of the city council, staff will look into the possibility
of creating electronic, CD-ROM versions of the code for the public to purchase.
The code books will be available for purchase next week.
Caldwell proposed that local bands could play music on Friday evenings, in
a fashion similar to the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerces Ketchem Alive
Tonight program last summer.
Wood River Middle School student and drum player Scott Bohrer, 13, told
the council he would love the opportunity for his band, Rocket Science, to play for a
"Id love to play for Sun Valley," he said.
Caldwell said he will return to the council to work out further details in
the coming weeks.
The city has proposed a 90 percent city, 10 percent resident split to pay
for the $200,000 to $300,000 bridge.
Not enough protests were filed with the city to stop the LID effort. City
staff will draft an ordinance to initiate the LID.
Galena Engineering will make potential bridge designs available to the
public at noon and 5 p.m. tomorrow at Ketchum City Hall.