Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Transit hub is an expensive boondoggle

   If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and don’t make it worse! But Mountain Rides is doing that at the East Avenue and Sun Valley Road four-way-stop intersection.
    The present intersection has been efficiently and safely accommodating cars, trucks, buses, pedestrians and cyclists for 50 years. But no more.
    Ill-conceived, the streets at the intersection will neck down from curb extensions and bulb-outs at all four corners. Eliminating right-turn lanes will greatly hinder and make unsafe turns by long-wheelbase vehicles and semi tractor-trailers. Semis serving Atkinsons’ and other businesses go down East Avenue and make safe right turns onto Sun Valley Road, heading west to Main Street. With bulb-outs, long trucks will have to make big sweeping turns crossing into facing lanes and traffic and hitting center-parked cars.
    For safety, the 3-foot and 14-foot traffic-impinging bulb-outs will have seven steel bollards curbside to keep passing vehicles from hitting pedestrians. New bicycle racks will be out in the streets. Pedestrians crossing Sun Valley Road will save six feet walking and two seconds.
    Mountain Rides variously and grandiosely calls necking down the intersection: Downtown Ketchum Intermodal Center, Ketchum Transportation Hub and Passenger Waiting Area Structure (glass placed on the overhead trellis at Starbucks). This all really is just the existing opposite bus stops, same as Main Street and Fourth Street and elsewhere. Plans show future curbside parking on Sun Valley Road for simultaneous two buses at the Elephant’s Perch and three buses at Starbucks. Present and future bus use is only one bus and three to nine stops and transfers spaced over an hour.
      Does bulb-outs at intersections have anything at all to do with Mountain Rides’ generic bus transportation?
    Reconstructing a perfectly good intersection, two simple bus stops on opposite sides of the street have been grotesquely converted into a $440,000 boondoggle.
Milton Adam
Sun Valley

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