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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Ketchum To Close Downtown Street To Cars

ketchum_mayor_2.jpeg
Courtesy Lisa Enourato
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City of Ketchum
Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw stands in front of Fourth Street in March.

From New York City to Seattle, cities across the country are closing streets to cars to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists during the pandemic. Late last month, Boise voted to pilot blocking off part of 8th Street to cars and on Monday, Ketchum City Council approved closing part of a downtown street.

 

Fourth Street in Ketchum will soon be off limits to cars for two blocks. The city council unanimously voted to keep it closed through Thanksgiving.

“There’s a lot of other cities that have great examples of the benefits of a walking street — for the health of its people, for the vitality of its downtown and for the economy of its businesses," said Councilwoman Courtney Hamilton.

 

For now, the closed off section is small and a cross street between the blocks will remain open. It has a park and some businesses, but there aren’t many restaurants on the route.

 

“It’s kind of a big step to do it,” said Councilman Jim Slanetz. “But I think once it takes hold, then businesses will make it work and actually take advantage of the situation, and it’ll kind of evolve.”

 

The council said it will check in later to see how well the Fourth Street closure is working, and to see if additional and more long-term street closures are possible.

 

Restaurants citywide can apply to use on-street parking spaces as outdoor dining areas.

 

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen 

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