Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
Hemingway Memorial Trailhead Boasts More Parking
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Workers pound the dirt footpath leading to the old parking lot from the new.
   
Thursday, July 1, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Those hiking the trails around Proctor Mountain will find many more parking options today.

The City of Sun Valley put the final touches Wednesday on a new parking lot and crosswalk at the popular Hemingway Memorial trailhead that nearly triples the amount of parking spaces.

Workers painted crosswalk stripes across Trail Creek Road and took a miniature roller to a dirt path leading into the original parking lot as they prepared to open the new lot.

 
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Parking space lines were painted earlier this week.
 

The original lot has 14 parking spaces, including two spaces for those with handicap parking permits. A fifteenth space appears to have been lost to offer access to the footpath for those parking across the street.

The new parking lot across the street has 24 parking spaces, meaning hikers will now have 38 parking spaces.

The idea is to divert hikers away from parking at the end of Fairway Road, which became a zoo last summer as dozens of pandemic hikers took to the trails. Even this spring before summer visitors arrived it was often difficult to find a parking space there.

With the new parking lot at the Hemingway Memorial hikers will no longer be allowed to park at the end of Fairway Road although bikes and pedestrians will be welcome, said Mayor Peter Hendricks.

“This is a very popular trail that has grown in use over the last few years,” said City Administrator Walt Femling.  “The Fairway access has about six to eight parking places and, according to our traffic counts, it attracts more than 100 vehicle trips a day during peak use.  We have issued a record number of parking tickets, which ruins the experience of this great hike, and received a record number of complaints from residents.”
The City of Sun Valley now owns the right-of-way along Sun Valley Road, having taken the road over from the state in May. And that made it possible for the city to develop the new parking lot.

The next phase of the city’s plan will be to paint a bike lane down Fairway Road and create a bike-friendly parking area to access the trailhead. The city will then encourage residents and visitors to use bikes to access city trails as part of its expanding city bike path network.

Femling said the city is still working on a plan for the bike area at the end of Fairway Road.

“I submitted a strategic plan for the city in March and we have budgeted to fund some of our priorities, one of which is to put together a master plan on all of our trails and try to tie them together and enhance the biking experience in Sun Valley,” he said. “We are at the beginning stages of creating a bike-friendly city and trail network to enhance everyone's experience as we deal with the growth in our city. “

This is the fourth year of the Sun Valley Road and Path Bond program. This year’s work has included a newly paved bike path between Saddle Road and Spruce Avenue. But the bulk of the work has been concentrated at the intersection outside City Hall and Dollar Mountain Lodge. Parking for those accessing City Hall is at the Dollar Mountain Lodge parking lot.

Work is ceasing for the Fourth of July Holiday from the evening of July 2 through 11. Work will resume on July 12.

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