Friday, March 14, 2014

Sun Valley forms new transportation panel

Committee will advise city on plan for the future

Express Staff Writer

A new committee in Sun Valley will advise the city on drafting a new transportation plan that will outline future infrastructure needs. Express file photo

    The city of Sun Valley has formed a technical advisory committee to help update the city’s new transportation plan.
    After hiring consultant Keller Associates to update the 1997 Transportation Plan on Nov. 14, 2013, Community Development Director Mark Hofman worked to assemble a team of organizations that he said needed to participate.
    Hofman said the opportunity to update the city’s transportation plan arose after Brandon Keller of Keller Associates helped the city garner a $50,000 grant from the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. Keller was paid $500 on both occasions he helped the city apply for the grant, without the city guaranteeing him he would be contracted for the services if the city received it.
    “As part of the transportation plan, we’ve formed a technical advisory committee to work alongside the City Council and community to update this document,” Hofman said. “It’s not an appointed committee or steering committee. Their objective is to provide technical expertise so when the plan comes out, it fits the needs of everyone involved.”
    There are several organizations involved in the committee, including the Blaine County Recreation District, Mountain Rides, U.S. Forest Service, Sun Valley Fire Department and the Sun Valley Police Department. Hofman said that no one individual is required to attend each of the three to five committee meetings he will be scheduling, so each organization can rotate who attends.

The plan is an inventory of issues, possible mitigations and a wish list in a sense of what we want for our future.”
Mark Hofman
Sun Valley community development director

    The first meeting of the committee will take place on April 1, 2014, in the council chambers of Sun Valley City Hall. Hofman said interested members of the public are encouraged to attend, as well as all future meetings leading into a draft document for review.
    “We have hired a consultant that has local knowledge and local experience but they haven’t lived here,” Hofman said. “We want this document to be reflective of the desires of the people that live here and forecast it for the next 10-15 years. Accuracy is the key, and no consultant can do it on their own.”
    Hofman said Keller has a very high level of expertise, and believes he will deliver a useful update to the plan, which is expected to be ready for the City Council to consider in the fall.
    “Keller also worked on the Blaine County Transportation Plan, and he comes here with a lot of experience,” Hofman said. “If we can dovetail with the Blaine County plan and integrate it into ours as much as possible, that would be great as well.”
    Hofman said updating the plan is very important to the city because the current one is outdated, and a new one will play an important role in the city’s future.
    “The plan is an inventory of issues, possible mitigations and a wish list in a sense of what we want for our future,” Hofman said. “When we work on our grants, capital improvement plan and annual budget, we will prioritize what we want based on this document.”
    Hofman said the committee will work on addressing matters such as public parks, trailheads, public access into the county and forest and identify safety issues at street intersections, such as line of sight.
Eric Avissar:

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