Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Transit center open houses scheduled

Mountain Rides, city want comments from public

Express Staff Writer

Finding consensus on a proposed transit hub's location or even its necessity to be elusive, the city of Ketchum and Mountain Rides Transportation Authority are seeking to provide more information and gather additional feedback from the community before moving forward with the project.

Transit advocates hope that a transportation hub that consolidates multiple Ketchum bus stops would increase ridership, make riding the bus easier for locals and visitors and enhance safety for riders, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

But detractors of the plan took issue with the proposed location—East Avenue between Sun Valley Road and Second Street—the loss of parking spaces on that street and the need to spend money on such a project.

The city and Mountain Rides slowed the process and have scheduled four public meetings, for this summer and fall.

"Recent community feedback around the proposed Ketchum Transportation Center has prompted Mountain Rides to take a step back and initiate a more in-depth dialogue with the community about this important piece of transportation infrastructure," states a press release from Mountain Rides. "The goal of these gatherings is to share information with and gather feedback from the community in advance of any decisions about whether to pursue a Transportation Center, and if so, what are the important considerations in design and location."

The format of the open houses will be stations where representatives will share information, answer questions and solicit feedback. Different topics will be covered at each of the sessions, so the public is encouraged to attend more than one.

Each gathering will be held once during lunchtime and then repeated that evening. All open houses will be held at Ketchum City Hall. The events scheduled are as follows:

( "Why a transportation center?"

One session will be at noon and another at 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 19.

This open house will focus on the question of why Ketchum would want a transit center. It will include a series of stations where people can get information on topics related to transit center planning.

( "Transportation centers in other communities."

This session, to be scheduled for August, will focus on how transportation centers work in other communities, with a focus on resort communities. How close to downtown are these centers? How do they relate to retail uses, parking and other downtown amenities?

( "Criteria for transit centers."

This session, in September, will focus on site selection. People will be invited to provide input about criteria needed to find a site, such as costs, land use impacts proximity and ease of use.

( "Community presentation: alternative site analysis."

This presentation in October will focus on how the criteria developed at the September open house are applied to various sites in Ketchum. The presentation will cover the pros and cons of each site, narrowing the options to two sites for city and Mountain Rides consideration.

For more information, contact Mountain Rides at 788-7433.

Rebecca Meany:

Next meeting

The first of four public open houses is set for Tuesday, June 19. Sessions will be at noon as well as at 5 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall.

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