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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 25 - July 31, 2001


Ketchum wages war on parking

Budget proposals could trigger metered parking program

Ketchum parking plans:

  • Ketchum’s 2001-2002 budget proposes hiring a planner to implement and manage a paid, metered parking program for the city.

  • The budget also proposes funding a city-wide traffic circulation and parking study in conjunction with funds from the Idaho Transportation Department.

  • During budget and parking discussions, council members have tossed around the idea of implementing one-hour parking in the city’s high-traffic downtown areas. Downtown parking limits are now all two hours.

  • The Ketchum Police Department has proposed in the preliminary budget hiring a third parking enforcement officer and purchasing a golf cart-style vehicle that would be used to more efficiently enforce parking regulations downtown.

  • To comment on the city’s parking-related budget proposals, attend either of the city’s two remaining noon budget hearings, today and Aug. 1, both at Ketchum City Hall. Or attend the city’s Aug. 6 meeting at 5:30 p.m. and speak during "comments from the public."

Express Staff Writer

If Ketchum’s plans aren’t derailed, the city could begin work toward implementing a paid parking program within a year.

The city’s 2001-2002 proposed budget lays the foundation for the program, and if funding is finalized, over a year’s worth of city council discussions will begin to be realized.

The budget proposes that an additional senior city planner be hired and an extensive city-wide parking and traffic circulation study be conducted, both in the fiscal year beginning in October. The planner’s job would be to implement a paid parking program, and eventually manage it.

"We need to manage the number of cars that come into Ketchum and hopefully not see a growth of the number of cars coming into Ketchum," City Administrator Jim Jaquet said. Paid parking, he added, could discourage single occupancy vehicles from entering the city.

The proposed budget slates over $30,000 for the planner’s six-month salary and the city’s share of the $82,078 circulation and parking study, most of which has been funded by the Idaho Transportation Department.

Additionally, the city’s police department has proposed hiring a third parking enforcement officer and a vehicle from which officers can more efficiently enforce parking regulations.

The Ketchum City Council reviewed parking-related bud-get proposals at two meetings in the past two weeks. Council members’ comments indicated general support for the plans.

"We can not build ourselves out of our parking problem," Councilwoman Chris Potters said.

An additional parking enforcement officer—whose time would be split between dispatch and parking duties—will "give us more enforceability," Ketchum Police Chief Cal Nevland said.

City Councilman Maurice Charlat told Nevland and his fellow council members he would support the additional police department position if the city considers instituting one-hour parking in high-traffic areas. The city’s new post office and the block around Giacobbi Square are two candidates for one-hour parking, he said.

Nevland said the additional position, if approved, could help enforce one-hour parking.

"We can’t do it with our present staff," he said. "It takes over an hour to walk the rounds for two-hour parking."

Nevland also said paid parking will eventually make enforcement downtown easier.

"It certainly wouldn’t take the man hours to do the enforcement, and it would make (the rules) clear."

The city’s proposed parking plans are consistent with a resolution council members passed early last winter to reduce the number of automobiles entering town. The resolution, which sets a goal of limiting the number of vehicles entering town 20 years from now to today’s levels, gives the city direction regarding parking and traffic issues.

It suggests the city investigate public transportation, paid parking, carpooling and a myriad of other ways to alleviate the burdens the city faces should increasing numbers of automobiles continue to cross the city’s borders. The city’s newly adopted comprehensive plan also says providing additional parking is not the city’s responsibility.

"The city recognizes that there is not enough land area in the community core to meet the parking demand," the plan states. "On-street parking is primarily for short-term use, the visiting public, and secondarily for employees. The private sector must address the true parking impacts and needs of new development in the downtown area."

The city’s resolution was based on a study Blaine County commissioned last winter from Aspen-based transportation planner Roger Millar. However, Blaine County commissioners, citing that funding is not yet available to spend on transportation-related projects, have declined to publicly support Millar’s study.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.