Council backs paid parking
"This is a really big deal, and I want to educate the public on
- Ketchum Councilwoman Chris Potters
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Paid parkingincluding metersin Ketchums downtown will
become a reality under preliminary plans endorsed by the Ketchum City Council on Monday
At the conclusion of a joint Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission and
city council discussion, Councilwoman Chris Potters said, "This is a really big deal,
and I want to educate the public on it."
Shes in favor of paid parking.
Though a vote was not taken, the council and P&Z were unanimous in
their support of the paid parking concept. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how
the draft Ketchum Comprehensive Plan will deal with parking.
"All parking in the [downtown] should be paid for in one way or
another," Commissioner Rod Sievers told the council.
In a nutshell, Sievers comment is what will be put in the draft
Ketchum planning administrator Lisa Horowitz said in an interview after
the meeting that the city will solicit public comment on that section of the comp plan
once its rewritten.
Until paid parking can be implementedwhich could be quite a long
time, P&Z officials indicatedincreased parking fines or decreased parking time
periods could help send the message that the city means business and also help get the
ball rolling, Councilman David Hutchinson said.
The P&Z and council didnt jump right into the decision.
Two months ago, the citys traffic consultant, Darrell Wilburn, told
the city council that better management of existing parking by implementing paid parking,
rather than creating new parking, is the answer to parking problems.
The citys downtown parking availability is adequate, but seven years
down the road something will have to be done to increase availability, Wilburn said.
Higher turnover of cars, dictated by meters, is a good option, he said.
In a report he offered for the city councils review, 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 reported.
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," he said.
"Metering is a tool and you need to use it as your parking demand rises."