Our View: Two-way streets make sense

October 30, 2013 

We applaud the plan to convert some of Boise’s one-way streets to two-ways on several counts.

First, it makes sense. Navigating one-way streets like 3rd and 13th in their present configuration could become a template for a new board game called “You Can’t Hardly Get There From Here.”

Thirteenth is a friendly street to turn on if you’re leaving the Connector and headed north. But getting back to the on-ramps to the Connector via 13th is not for novices who depend on logic.

The joint plan developed by the Ada County Highway District, the city of Boise and the Capital City Development Corp. converts some portions of these and other downtown streets back to two-ways and clears up confusion between State and Front streets.

Second, this yearlong collaboration of ACHD, the city and its urban renewal agency proves that the staffs of these critical organizations can play nice when they set their minds to it and focus on what needs to be done to make the city work better. It is almost a get-along metaphor: converting one-way thinking to two-way common sense.

Third, it appears to us that these and other changes on tap between next summer and 2019 will enhance commerce in the downtown area and make it more user-friendly to cyclists and pedestrians.

ACHD went to considerable effort to work with bicycle groups when considering the reconfigurations and we believe the results will produce more logical and safer routes for all through the downtown. Though ACHD and the city had been working on ways to slow down traffic and enhance a more relaxed tone, they found validation for their plans during the June visit to Boise by Jeff Speck, a well-respected city planner and author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At Time.”

The converted two ways will likely have slower speed limits and only one lane going in each direction — an atmosphere conducive to a more relaxed downtown that will be more attractive to cyclists and walkers.

If we have any issues with the plans it is only that it will take five years to get the work done.

That said, we hope time flies and walkability thrives.

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