Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Against bus hub on East Avenue


It's ironic that Ketchum's Community Development Corp. has launched a "walkability" initiative just when the City Council in considering funding a Mountain Rides "Intermodal Transit Hub" in the heart of Ketchum.

Mountain Rides wants to meet passenger requests for bus stops closer to their destination. It has chosen the full length of East Street, home of the Elephant's Perch, UPS, Dashi and F-Stop, to be a bus depot that would allow three to five buses to turn in from Sun Valley Road to discharge/pick up passengers every half-hour. Two north-south traffic lanes would also run down the block.

East Street is one of the few Ketchum streets that is pretty and fun to stroll on with its small stores and wide, sunny aspect. It offers easy parking.

But we would kiss all that goodbye in favor of parked buses belching black pollution, awaiting passengers fortunate enough to have to walk less than ever before! Although Mountain Rides promises new business for East Street stores, it seems that buses are mostly used by students and people going to work—not discretionary spenders.

The walkability project calls for sidewalks, lighting, and signage. Great! These have long been needed. But better to use $20,000 of Urban Renewal Agency funds for a walkability project than a bus terminal, as is currently planned.

URAs are charged with removing blight, not creating it. Further, a bus terminal would contravene every intent of Ketchum's Comprehensive Plan: to maintain the small, friendly, mountain town aesthetic that attracts visitors and others who often become full-time residents.

JIMA RICE

Blaine County




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