Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Committee to explore River Run transportion options

Buses, trolley and gondola are possible alternatives

Express Staff Writer

Express file photo With Sun Valley Resortís planned development of 160 acres at the base of River Run, a new committee has been formed to explore alternative transportation methods that would connect the ski area to downtown Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort. Photo by Mountain Express

The newly formed Community Connector Committee announced that it will look into "innovative options" for transportation between Sun Valley Resort, Ketchum and the River Run ski area.

In a press release on Monday, Peter Everett, chairman of Mountain Rides Transportation Authority, said the committee is made up of representatives from his nonprofit organization, Sun Valley Co., Ketchum and Sun Valley.

This issue is relevant due to Sun Valley Co.'s imminent application to annex and develop its 160-acre River Run property into Ketchum. Ketchum City Planner Stefanie Leif said the applications would likely come to the city in the next two weeks.

Based on plans unveiled last November, the resort's project includes a hotel, condominiums, workforce housing, townhouses, a parking structure, community park and possible nature preserve.

"With current traffic congestion, and with impending resort and hotel development in the area, we must study and consider environmental and efficient solutions to connect our communities," Everett wrote. "We believe now is the time to address future increased traffic congestion in Ketchum's core, and to preserve its pedestrian character."


According to the committee, possible transportation options include an expanded bus system and a "fixed guideway alternative" such as a trolley or gondola.

Sun Valley Director of Resort Development Wally Huffman said a community transportation system would help keep Ketchum as the area's business hub.

"We are fully committed to supporting Ketchum as the retail and entertainment center of the valley," Huffman said in the release. "We have no interest in creating a second downtown with our planned River Run development. We need an innovative link to transport locals and guests to key points throughout the area."

Everett said the committee would begin public discussions of transportation alternatives this fall to help determine the best option.

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