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Friday, March 02, 2012

Show common sense with parking enforcement


Twelve years ago, I was helping at a bustling Ketchum furniture store where the owner had a delivery truck. As winter approached, he asked the City authorities if he could park his truck in front of the store at night, because his space (as well as the adjoining ones) had radiant heat piped beneath; thus there was no need for the city to plow that area. Sadly, the city said no, and the owner, although he was already paying $16,000 a month rent, still had to go to great lengths to procure a less convenient overnight parking spot.

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More recently, I met a friend who has a fine store in the same Ketchum complex, and due to the nature of her business, it’s imperative that she keeps her vehicle parked within eyeshot. This usually works out well for her; however a glitch she keeps experiencing is the need to dash out every two hours to re-park her car, while in the middle of work projects. This daily unsettlement sometimes irks her, especially during months of ‘slack’ when empty spots around her business are almost always abundant.

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The worst of it is, that this constant need for her to start up her car in the two-hour zone and then re-park around the corner, spews pollution into our clean air; as the first minutes of running the engine coincides with the worst spreading of exhaust emissions. This goes totally against the grain of Ketchum’s enlightened idling ordinance and several of her business neighbors agree that in this vein, the perpetual strict enforcement of the two-hour zone law is unreasonable.

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So far, she and I have both been impressed with the diplomatic approach that the Ketchum Police Department has used to educate motorists about our idling ordinance. And while it’s already challenging enough to keep a good business running in this town, it would be refreshing to see our dedicated parking enforcement officers apply some of this same common sense to their general ordinances. We feel that if our vigilant on-the-street ambassadors offered a little leeway, while using some self-empowerment in these situations, then this would go a long way toward illuminating the welcoming nature and fine character of our hardy town.

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