Parking in Ketchum is being planned by fiat by an unelected board that has consistently failed to provide public notice of its meetings or proposed actions

This needs to change or residents and commuters will wake up one day to find that day-long parking is available only on private land or pricey paid lots.

In 2006, Ketchum’s mayor and council offloaded sometimes contentious parking debates by creating the Ketchum Traffic Authority, a five-member board with just one elected official.

Residents may be forgiven for not knowing the KTA exists. Even though required to conform to state open meeting law, official notice of its meetings and decisions has been absent or shoddy at best.

Businesses on First Avenue North, which includes this newspaper, found out about the KTA’s power in September when it suddenly erected two-hour parking signs in the previously unrestricted area. Enforcement began immediately—in the middle of the workday.

The authority’s action came at the behest of a single person in a single meeting and turned its wait-and-see decision the previous month on its head— with no notice to anyone.

The resulting hubbub eventually resulted in a compromise.

It also made it painfully clear that Ketchum has no parking plan and has left the KTA to fly by the seat of its pants.

It’s one thing for an unelected board to make sure streets are striped and safe to walk and drive. It’s another to plan parking secretly and arbitrarily.

Ketchum’s mayor and council shouldn’t hide from parking issues. They should move them out of the shadows and put a well-designed plan in place.

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