Ketchum is one step closer to approving a new master transportation plan, after City Council members on Monday reviewed the visionary document and suggested minor changes.
The lengthy, detailed document—which will replace a 2004 transportation plan—updates transit conditions in the city and proposes recommendations to meet short- and long-term transportation needs, through the next 10-15 years. It is written to “assist Ketchum policymakers and staff in making sound decisions for the city transportation system to promote a greater quality of life and provide a guide for future development,” the document states.
The plan—which was developed by Boise-based engineering consultant HDR through a $50,000 Idaho Transportation Department grant—proposes projects to improve vehicular traffic, pedestrian facilities and bicycle travel in the city. The plan recommends street and intersection projects estimated to cost $2,275,000, pedestrian projects estimated at $4,780,000 and $448,000 worth of bicycle/multi-use projects. The projects could be funded in the future through a capital improvement plan.
Recommendations for vehicular travel include:
- Analyzing alternatives for the intersections of Warm Springs Road with 10th Street and Lewis Street, including a roundabout at 10th Street, a “dog-bone” double roundabout at both intersections, or other options. (The analysis would cost about $75,000, with construction estimated at $2 million.)
- Studying alternative designs for—and continuing to evaluate a seasonal or permanent closure of—Fourth Street between Main Street and East Avenue ($100,000).
- Conducting a study on changing the four-lane Main Street configuration into a three-lane design with one travel lane in each direction and a center median that allows left-turn lanes at intersections ($100,000).
- Implementing paid parking downtown (cost to be determined).
Other recommendations include:
- Installing a separated, 12-foot-wide paved bike path next to state Highway 75 from Ninth Street to Saddle Road ($296,000).
- Installing painted “sharrow” bike markings and signs on Second Avenue from Serenade Lane to First Street and protected bike lanes from First Street to Sixth Street ($86,000).
- Constructing sidewalks to fill in missing segments in the downtown core ($2 million).
- Upgrading pedestrian signals on Main Street ($500,000).
- Making various pedestrian-focused infrastructure improvements on Main Street, First Avenue and East Avenue, with projects varying in cost.
The city received numerous written comments on the plan during a community-outreach phase after staff presented the draft plan to the City Council in December. Several residents and business owners expressed opposition to a partial closure of Fourth Street—east of Main Street—to vehicular traffic.
In a public hearing, Ketchum resident Perry Boyle questioned some of the data in the plan, particularly population estimates, which he deemed to be low.
“I really urge you to think about how the population will change in the future,” he said.
Council members suggested a list of small changes and additions to the plan, including stressing the need to develop a pedestrian connection from the Gem Streets neighborhood—south of town—to downtown.
Councilman Michael David said he wants to ensure the plan gets “put to use” and is not ignored.
Councilwoman Amanda Breen—a member of the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency board—said the URA might be able to assist in funding some of the projects.
The City Council will likely consider approving a revised, final draft of the plan on March 15.