Saddle Road Ketchum Fire Station

The new Ketchum fire station, shown here as it was presented to Ketchum P&Z earlier this year, is slated to go next to the YMCA on Saddle Road.

Ketchum City Council will consider two items on Friday afternoon necessary to give a green light for construction to begin on the city’s new fire station.

The council is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. to consider a contractor agreement for the city’s bond-funded fire station—expected to be built on Saddle Road just north of the YMCA—and to review a traffic study that was commissioned to analyze transportation and safety impacts of the proposed fire station at surrounding intersections, as well as at pedestrian and trail crossings in the surrounding area

The $10,600 traffic study, completed by Los Angeles-based AECOM, is available on the city’s website and consists of five pages, two of which are pictures. AECOM did not collect new traffic data for the study, relying instead on information provided by the city “and its partners,” according to a memo accompanying the study. The city did not provide pedestrian crossing data to AECOM, the memo said.

Traffic counts for the study were collected in May 2018, “and show a significant number of trips on Warm Springs Road (nearly 1,000 vehicles per hour during peak periods),” the memo states. Counts for Saddle Road were not provided, but “both of these streets would appear to be important routes to the transportation network for this part of Ketchum.”

The traffic study memo goes on to state that interactions between fire truck and non-motorized transportation like cyclists and pedestrians “may be less at the new location” than the current location on Fifth Street between Alpine Lane and East Avenue.

But the memo also argues that “additional study is warranted to solidify this assumption.”

The study does not provide final design recommendations. It does suggest two mitigation measures: One, that fire trucks respond to calls via Saddle Road; and two, that volunteers responding to the fire station shouldn’t do so “in an unsafe manner.”

The city council was originally scheduled to meet on Tuesday to finalize the project. Groundbreaking on the new station was tentatively planned for Wednesday, June 24.

Residents who wish to submit public comment on Friday’s agenda must do so before 10 a.m. Friday by emailing their comments to participate@ketchumidaho.org.

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