Actions, not talk reduce traffic
Albeit far smaller, Ketchum in the future could be in the
same fix as Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and just about
every big city in America.
Too many cars, not enough room for them.
But Ketchum has the advantage of looking to other cities
for solutions—before it’s too late.
Some might contend that the city has put the cart before
the horse by setting an arbitrary goal of limiting 17,600 cars in the city
But this city hall strategy in fact may be the best
With a clear goal in writing, the task now is to find ways
of achieving the limit.
Ketchum can’t erect gates at the city limits to deny
access to drivers.
The obvious alternative: Providing incentives and
disincentives for commuting workers to abandon their cars and thus sharply
reduce the daily influx of vehicles into Ketchum.
Thus far, stiffer parking fines and on-street time
restrictions have been instituted as disincentives.
Now, along with other public bodies and agencies as well
as businesses, the city of Ketchum must move boldly to create incentives
to lure drivers out of their cars.
Sweet talk won’t do it. Americans are addicted to cars.
But if drivers can be shown that other transportation to
their jobs is just as convenient and reliable, and especially less costly,
then they’re apt to act.
Absolutely necessary is some form of free or low-cost
public transit capable of moving commuters quickly and on schedules that
are frequent during peak travel times.
Car pooling, too, has a place in this scenario. Many
workers have the same destination and same starting times. Owners of cars
and vans that make room for other riders should be considered for fuel or
And merchants who benefit from having downtown parking
spaces freed up by reduced commuter traffic should consider banding
together and offering transit and car pool riders script for merchandise
Not to be overlooked is the value of persistent education
and information: For example, simply itemizing in a public ad campaign the
average annual costs of driving a car to and from a workplace might well
rattle some drivers into alternate transportation. Employers could include
this information in employees’ paycheck envelopes.
Limiting or reducing traffic volume on Ketchum streets is
a prodigious undertaking, not easily or quickly achieved.
Success rests almost solely on the willingness of the city
of Ketchum to back up its high hopes with bold, down-to-earth funding and
resources that have real meaning to commuters whom the city wants to
encourage to leave their cars at home.