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For the week of Jan. 12 through Jan. 18, 2000

Ketchum’s nose


Ketchum’s mayor and City Council have gotten a lot of flack for injecting the city into the debate over how to improve state Highway 75.

Those who accept the common wisdom that a bigger highway is the only answer to traffic congestion have alleged that the city is poking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

On the contrary, the city’s nose is exactly where it belongs.

If a wider, faster highway makes it easier and easier to live long distances from the city and commute to work, the city alone will have to face the problem of what to do with all the commuter cars—often two per family—once they arrive in Ketchum.

The city alone will have to foot the bill for building and operating parking areas or parking structures.

The city alone will have to deal with downtown congestion once all the cars arrive and drivers use business lunch hours to drive around and do errands.

The city alone will have to decide whether to spend the money to install a paid parking system to prevent all-day downtown gridlock and to increase the ease of access to local businesses.

The city, which operates the Ketchum Area Rapid Transit System along with the city of Sun Valley, will have to decide whether it will be smart to fund expansion of the bus system.

Ketchum was wise to hire its own consultant. Highway 75 decisions ultimately will have more consequences for Ketchum than for any city in the valley. Any money it spends to ensure that transportation options are studied from every angle, will be money well spent.

 

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