Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ketchum approves plan for transit hub

Construction expected to begin next summer


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

A project to build a Mountain Rides transportation hub in downtown Ketchum is expected to begin next summer, after the Ketchum City Council on Monday approved a contract awarding $19,620 for landscape services.
Landscape architect Kurt Eggers and Eggers Associates will be tasked with the design and construction of the project. The crew will be similar to the one that completed the Ketchum Town Square project.
“This will make the experience for riders more streamlined,” Councilman Michael David said. “It brings multiple stops to one centralized location, and from an operational standpoint, once the changes are made it will flow a lot better and more efficiently.”
David said he hopes the project will ultimately result in greater ridership. Ketchum Community Development and Economic Director Lisa Horowitz said transit hubs like the one proposed tend to increase ridership between 5 percent and 20 percent.
“Our guests have come to expect facilities like this because most of our competitors have them,” Horowitz said. “It will raise the profile of transit in general because it will become visibly more consolidated. It’ll be a project that is kind of an extension of Town Square in terms of design and aesthetics as a key project in downtown Ketchum.”


Our guests have come to expect facilities like this because most of our competitors have them.”
Lisa Horowitz
Ketchum community and economic development director




    The facility would be located on both sides of the intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue. A conceptual design provides for parking for up to five buses, sidewalk extensions at all four corners of the intersection to facilitate pedestrian traffic and islands in the middle of East Avenue on both sides of the intersection for bike parking or public art.
Horowitz said much of the motivation to build the hub arose from issues with the bus stop by the Visitors Center on Sun Valley Road.
“Some of the current issues include that it’s hard for tourists to know which bus stop or part of town they need to go to,” Horowitz said. “Different buses will pass through the same area and at different stops during different times. If you’re transferring routes, you often have to walk a long ways to your next stop. This project will make Mountain Rides a lot easier to use for a lot of people.”
A public meeting has been scheduled to have the community discuss the project on Jan. 13.
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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