Friday, March 9, 2012

Transit plaza concept to be unveiled next week

Public can weigh in on transportation hub project


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

The public is invited to chime in on concepts for a new transit plaza in downtown Ketchum.

Mountain Rides and Ketchum leaders envision a transit hub that would facilitate transfers, increase ridership and consolidate the downtown bus stops.

The transit center design could involve curb, sidewalk and lighting improvements, and the addition of shelters and a small building.

East Avenue between Sun Valley Road and Second Street is the preferred location, said Lisa Horowitz, Ketchum's community and economic development director.

"This is not an end of the route," she said. "It's mid route. There are not going to be buses sitting there idling."

There will, however, be parking impacts, she said. Parking spaces will be lost to make way for the hub, but other spaces will be gained when bus stops are removed at other locations.

The public can get a look at the preliminary concept and contribute their ideas to the plan during a meeting Tuesday. LSC Transportation Consultants will run the town hall-style meeting.

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"We'll start with a big picture about why you create infrastructure like this, what's going on in competitor resort communities, what the locational criteria are, programmatic needs for bus systems and alternative design ideas," Horowitz said.

The Ketchum City Council in January approved a $6,185 contract for services between Mountain Rides Transportation Authority and LSC Transportation Consultants for transit center design services.

Mountain Rides also received a $200,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant for a transit hub. The grant will require a future 20 percent local match for construction.

The City Council has authority to approve the use of the street, Horowitz said. The Planning & Zoning Commission would have to approve the design of the building, and Mountain Rides would have to approve operational changes.

The city hopes to turn the design over to a local engineer and architect sometime this spring or summer. Once bids are returned, and if the city and Mountain Rides are able to meet the local match for the grant, construction could begin after Labor Day.

The public meeting will take place Tuesday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

Get information, give ideas

Hear a presentation from LSC Transportation Consultants, view conceptual designs for a downtown Ketchum transit hub and voice your ideas: 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 13, at Ketchum City Hall.




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