For the week of December 16 thru December 22, 1998  

Mountain access plan needed

When the River Run Lodge opened at the base of Baldy, skier patterns changed.

River Run drew skiers who previously accessed the mountain on the Warm Springs side. Before River Run, Warm Springs was the only lodge at the base of the mountain. It was the place everyone wanted to be.

Parking at Warm Springs was limited, but skier demand was great. Homeowners along Warm Springs Road were interested in controlling and limiting traffic.

Ketchum turned to KART buses and a park-and-ride lot as ways to provide easy access to the mountain while limiting traffic on Warm Springs Road.

Skiers today have parking and a base lodge, all in the same place. Warm Springs has little parking, although access by bus is still easy. As a result, Warm Springs merchants are suffering because of the shift in skier traffic.

Merchants are urging the city of Ketchum to allow development of parking lots at Warm Springs to bring skiers back. The city should allow more parking as a stopgap measure to keep the commercial area from drying up, or worse, becoming mountain access for private residents only.

However, new parking lots shouldn’t be the final word in city traffic patterns. Sun Valley Company has announced plans to develop property at River Run. No one knows how much parking will be included there, or if it will be adequate for the future.

Ketchum, KART and Sun Valley Company need to figure out how the bus system and private and public parking areas can be integrated to provide mountain access that is easy and keeps the town attractive at the same time.


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