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For the week of March 7 through 13, 2001

Council ponders car cap

No more cars to enter Ketchum in 2021 than now


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum officials are proposing to declare war on the automobile.

City Council members said Monday they generally support adoption of a proposed resolution that would attempt to limit the number of cars entering the city to what it is now.

The draft states, "City staff is hereby directed to prepare policies for the Ketchum comprehensive plan which state that the cityís transportation improvement goal is to limit the number of vehicles in the year 2021 to that number of vehicles present in 2001 and to include action plans to specifically implement this goal."

On average, 17,600 vehicle trips are logged on Highway 75 between Ketchum and Hailey each day. Unchecked, the Idaho Transportation Department projects, that number could climb to 28,900 in 20 years.

Ketchumís proposal is largely based on a transportation study that was finished in February by consultant Roger Millar, who was hired by Blaine County.

One of the most important steps to improving transportation in general, Millarís "Blaine County Public Transportation Feasibility Study" recommends, is halting the proliferation of cars here, "because we want the people, we just donít want the impact the cars would cause."

The concept might sound like a tall order, but itís what Aspen did in 1994, limiting daily car trips to 23,800. Now, 20 years later, Aspen proved that limiting cars can work if alternative modes of transportation and creative thinking are embraced.

Ketchumís draft resolution hangs its hat on Millarís study and includes many of its recommendations.

The cityís goals, some of which would require cooperation with other municipalities, are as follows:

Enhance KART service, commit additional funds to the Wood River Rideshare program, promote high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on Highway 75, develop a city-wide transportation management plan, participate in the formation of a regional transit authority (RTA), and implement paid parking in Ketchum.

Itís a package of "carrots and sticks," in Millarís words. There must be disincentives for those who wish to driveópaid parkingóand incentives for those who wish to help reduce cars on the roadsóHOV lanes for car-poolers, for example.

The council scheduled another public hearing on the matter for its March 19 meeting, but a handful of comments were offered Monday.

Ketchum planning and zoning commissioner Susan Scovell called the plan "important," "long-overdue" and "wonderfully written."

Ketchum resident Mickey Garcia was outraged and ticked off a series of short objections.

"Youíre not like Aspen," he said. "Government transportation, what youíre calling public transportation, is a failure.

"You canít make an HOV lane out of something thatís a mile or less long. Itís fear and loathing."

Aspen assistant city manager Randy Ready said Ketchumís draft list of transportation goals "sounds like a pretty good combination of both incentives and disincentives."

He said Aspen conducted three years worth of public meetings and education efforts on the issue of limiting cars entering the city before implementing any one part of its plan, which included increasing public transportation and implementing paid parking.

Another cornerstone to the Roaring Fork Valleyís success, Ready said, is the cooperation between the valleyís cities.

"We canít solve this problem one jurisdiction at a time. We need to plan together so weíre not just pushing our problems from one place to another."

 

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