study eyes major changes
house meeting pending
Express Staff Writer
into Ketchum’s crystal ball could reveal dramatic traffic and
circulation changes, including a potential physical separation of Warm
Springs Road from Main Street.
second update to the Ketchum City Council Monday night, a transportation
planner proposed several dramatic city-wide transportation changes,
including east and west running one-way streets and separation of Warm
Springs Road from Main Street.
council was told the separation would alleviate congestion on Main
Street by channeling Warm Springs and industrial area traffic on a
designated spur: Serenade Lane, Second Avenue and Seventh Street. Tenth
Street would continue to function as a connector to the east side of
is kind of like a first draft, subject to considerable change,"
said Michael Birdsall, senior transportation planner for Earth Tech.
from some of their comments, city council members will ask for
actually can’t believe we’re really thinking about it,"
Councilman Baird Gourlay said in regard to the Warm Springs-Main Street
hired Earth Tech last spring to draft a city transportation plan that
could ultimately be added as part of the city’s comprehensive plan.
The study cost $65,000, but $50,000 was supplied by a federal grant.
September meeting, Birdsall told the Ketchum City Council to expect 40
percent to 80 percent overall traffic growth by the year 2025. That
growth estimate figures in a 1.3 percent to 2.1 percent annual boost in
Ketchum’s population and a 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent rate of annual
between 5,300 and 7,200 employees will work in Ketchum, compared to the
3,600 people who worked here in 2000, Birdsall said.
forecasted traffic growth cannot be accommodated on the existing
configuration of Main Street," Birdsall wrote in a preliminary
report presented in September. "Either congestion will get much
worse on several existing streets, or economic growth will stagnate, or
meeting was a mid-study update during which Birdsall sought feedback on
Earth Tech’s progress. A final version of the study, which is
anticipated to be much more comprehensive, will not be completed for
another several months. Also, Birdsall will host a yet-to-be-scheduled
open house meeting in December on the proposals discussed so far.
Birdsall has concluded already that "some sort of capacity increase
is needed, just to keep things even."
proposed three general mitigation options for the city’s
Increase the capacity of existing Main Street by removing parking
on one or both sides and adding through lanes and/or turn lanes.
Develop a bypass route parallel to Main Street to handle the
Implement high-quality transit services and effective travel
demand management programs to significantly reduce existing and future
automobile travel demand.
combination of the proposed solutions will probably be needed to keep
traffic growth in check, the consultant said.
night, Birdsall stressed expansion of transit services and alterations
to city circulation patterns.
bus frequency and coverage areas are increased, use will also increase,
but "I don’t know by how much," Birdsall said.
that if or when Ketchum implements paid parking, the Peak Bus, which
connects Ketchum and Sun Valley to Hailey and Bellevue every morning and
evening, will experience immediate increases in demand.
city circulation patterns, Birdsall proposed designating Second Street
and Sun Valley Road as a "one-way couplet," meaning they would
work together to move traffic in both directions.
Ketchum’s congestion challenges results because the city’s
businesses stretch east and west, across Main Street, between the post
office and the Community Library. Such a configuration could increase
Main Street capacity by 20 percent, Birdsall said.
is worth doing all by itself," he said.
asked how business owners generally respond to one-way streets,
Birsdsall was clear.
bothers people," he said. "The issue is the same, whether you’re
putting in one-way or taking out one-way. Sometimes you’ll only get
support after you’ve made the changes, so you’ll have to be bold and
options Birdsall examined included building a connector street from
Second Avenue to Warm Springs Road via the historic railroad
right-of-way, developing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on Highway
75 and connecting Lewis Street to Saddle Road via a new right-of-way
that would bisect the city-owned park and ride lot.
included developing the north-south bicycle path to accommodate HOV
lanes or a light rail system, adding lanes to Highway 75 in order to
make HOV lanes and public transit attractive and linking KART and Peak