Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bike plan looks good

Ketchum is taking steps to move its downtown bike lane from Sun Valley Road to Fourth Street, and it's made a good win-win case for the move.

Coming from Sun Valley, the new route would travel from the separated bike path adjacent to Sun Valley Road, along Spruce Street, then onto Fourth. There, it would cross to the west to link up with the north-south bike path that runs the length of the valley and through Ketchum.

On paper, businesses, cyclists and motorists will benefit from the new route, which was generated as a result of Ketchum's new downtown plan.

The bike path on Sun Valley Road, the main thoroughfare between Ketchum and Sun Valley, forces closure of parking along the street all summer and removes about 94 spaces from use. That troubles street-facing businesses and their customers.

Moving the bike path and keeping the parking spaces open would give the city a net gain of 11 parking spaces. Angle parking on Fourth Street would change to parallel parking.

Ketchum police say the proposed new path will be safer. They point out that the existing path on Sun Valley Road disappears one block before the intersection with Main Street, forcing cyclists into heavy summer traffic—child trailers and all.

On the new path, cyclists would mix with traffic, but on a street where traffic is slow. At Main Street, cyclists would have to dismount and walk their bikes through a crosswalk.

If the plan doesn't work, the city can go back to the drawing board.

It's worth a try. Downtown Ketchum is a difficult place for cyclists to navigate. The simpler and safer, the better.

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