Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Transit hub bad for business

Christy Giglio had an excellent suggestion in the Mountain Express: Why not ask the taxpaying people who live here what they think about the East Avenue transit hub? We are part-time residents and pay property taxes and sales taxes to Ketchum, so we'd like to speak up.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Ketchum. Show me a study that states that most tourists choose the bus system over private vehicles. Most tourists use private vehicles so they can run on their own schedules and haul all the gear they want. Ketchum should cater to these visitors.

The parking situation in Ketchum was made worse by Ketchum Town Center and the Fourth Street sidewalk expansion. While these facilities are nice for special events, on most days they are lightly used. Everyday parking for tourists was sacrificed for special events. Tourists who cannot park in Ketchum do not spend money in Ketchum.

Our family has no problem parking on one side of town and walking around town when we shop. However, many would-be shoppers have less time or are out with small children or elderly relatives. The city cannot ask them to make the same trek through town. Be prepared to see customers head south and to find abandoned Atkinsons' carts throughout Ketchum.

The transit idea seems to be another of those top-down ideas that ignores the realities of business. The businesses in Ketchum pay property taxes and create sales tax revenue for Ketchum; has the Council actively sought their advice? If the Council believes that the loss of tourist-friendly parking spaces and a concentration of buses in the shopping and dining district are good for business, the Council must be indifferent to Ketchum's future fiscal health and out of ideas.

Susan Buckley


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