Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ketchum delays ‘walkability’ plan

Council approves contract for streetlights, not signs

Express Staff Writer

These signs show one of the proposed designs put before the Ketchum City Council. Courtesy graphic

    The Ketchum City Council has delayed approval of the lion’s share of a $111,500 contract that would allow the Ketchum Community Development Corp. to break ground on its “Walkable Ketchum” project. However, representatives of the project remain hopeful that the council will soon approve the contract in full and that the project will still be completed on schedule, by July 4.
    The council has allocated about $170,000 for the project’s development, which aims to make the city more pedestrian-friendly by installing several wayfinding signs and nine solar-powered streetlights around the city’s downtown core, among other proposed improvements. KCDC representatives first presented the idea to the Ketchum City Council in March 2012. The council approved the project in August, appropriating $100,000 from the city’s General Fund for the signs and earmarking $70,000 from the city’s Underground Fund for the streetlights.
    However, comments voiced by Ketchum developer Jack Bariteau at a special council meeting on Wednesday, April 24, caused the council to take a step back and reconsider how the project should be developed. Bariteau said some of the project’s proposed designs for signs and intersection markings were “chaotic” and might not accomplish the intended wayfinding effect.
“I’m not opposed to what Dale and his committee are doing,” he said, referring to Dale Bates, the project’s manager. “This walkability thing is very important. I hate to see us make this investment and not have it serve the purpose you want it to serve.”
    Instead of approving the KCDC’s request to hire Ketchum-based Conrad Construction to begin work on the project, the council voted 3-0 to request that Bates discuss the project with Jeff Speck, a nationally recognized authority on walkability and author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time,” before the council would approve the contract. Councilwoman Nina Jonas was not present at the meeting.
    “For this kind of money, we want to make sure we get it right,” Mayor Randy Hall said.
    The idea to reach out to Speck for advice on the project was proposed at the meeting by Ketchum resident Aimée Christensen, founder and CEO of Ketchum-based Christensen Global Strategies, in response to a suggestion by Bariteau to get input on the project from an expert. Christensen said that she’d recently heard Speck speak and suggested having him review the plan. She even offered to “set it up.”
    Bates agreed to discuss the project with Speck. In an interview after the meeting, he said that he would talk with Speck this week and that he expects the council will approve the contract soon after, still in time to complete the project by July 4.
    The council did approve the streetlight part of the project, including—to install them—an about $16,800 portion of the Conrad Construction contract. The streetlights—which are slated to be installed at various intersections downtown—cost about $51,100 to buy.

Brennan Rego:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.