Ten years from now
night Ketchum looked at a proposal to turn its congested streets into
in the background we thought we heard the legendary Joni Mitchell singing,
"They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot."
crazy? Maybe, but the man who crafted the parking idea is sincere about
helping the city to find a way to deal with the growing numbers of cars
that come to town and park each day.
not the only one with problems, and it’s easy to see why.
Census Bureau estimates that between 700 and 800 new neighbors are
arriving in Blaine County every year.
rate, the population will increase by another 50 percent or 9,400 people
by the year 2012. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,615
households, and probably 7,200 more cars.
of growth are everywhere:
officials acknowledged last week that the city probably doesn’t have
enough water to go around for all of the building sites it has approved.
rancher has put forth a proposal that could be the beginning of Picabo’s
transformation from a wide spot in the road surrounded by pasture to the
county’s newest upscale suburb.
want to tear down the complex that includes the Elkhorn Hotel and replace
it with high-end condominiums.
property owners seem intent on erecting a "No Kids Allowed" sign
at the city limits. They object to development of a private elementary
school in a valley between two toney neighborhoods.
County School District can’t find a home for its buses. Neighbors are
raising a fuss over the second site proposed in less than a year.
Knob Hill neighborhood wants to close its street to block the increasing
numbers of cars that dodge congestion on Main Street by using the
neighborhood street to get to town.
to imagine the county with 50 percent more people, but local leaders need
to let their imaginations run wild.
apply the same old answers to the same old questions, they will get us
just what the rest of the country has gotten: ugly, unlivable cities and
suburbs where the quality of life is poor.
the same old outcomes, the valley’s elected officials need to think
outside the box. That will require more than reaction; it will require
vision and courage.
more parking and bigger highways to accommodate more cars—that’s
reaction. To reduce the number of cars with mass transit and walkable
To wait for
the inevitable and watch options dwindle—that’s reaction. To imagine
wonderful communities and create them—that’s vision.
stingy neighbors in the eye and defend wise spending on a better future—that’s
from now, everyone will know whether we paved Paradise and put up a
parking lot. Ten years from now, it will be clear what today’s leaders
were made of.
hoping for the best.