In the Mountain Express article “P&Z mulls Mountain Rides bus hub” (Jan. 29, 2014), Jason Miller of Mountain Rides and the lead designer for the project painted a pretty picture of collaboration with Ketchum’s business community, reporting to the P&Z there was “strong support for the transit hub from the surrounding businesses”.
I disagree with the remark. Many businesses don’t favor the idea of a transit hub for a myriad of reasons, and too many to discuss in this letter. The bus project/four-corner street decoration/bus stop, or whatever it’s being called, might have support from a few businesses, but the overall consensus is not favorable. The strong support comes from the Ketchum City Council and URA, who are offering our property taxes to fund it. And I wonder, does this support have anything to do with the Ketchum city councilman who is a URA board member and a Mountain Rides board member, too? Why isn’t this a conflict of interest? Parking in Ketchum is a huge problem and Ketchum leaders aren’t getting it. In that same P&Z meeting, Commissioner Lamoureaux commented “he had no problem with the loss of six parking spaces” and the former Ketchum mayor made a similar remark last year (Express, Nov. 20, 2013).
It’s imperative our community understand the economic value of a parking space to businesses in the downtown areas. This bus project says it will take six prime spaces. But realistically, it’s much more than six. Each of the six spaces has two-hour time limits from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. This calculates to a loss of 30 parking spaces per day (if each car parked the limit two hours), 210 parking spaces per week and 10,920 parking spaces per year.
If Mr. Lamoureaux valued downtown parking on an economic level, I’m sure he’d agree, and might even rally for, the long overdue parking structure/lot. Yes, Ketchum businesses have a huge problem with the loss of six parking spaces. How many more businesses have to close their doors before the city of Ketchum realizes this?