Downtown Boise street plan altered

In addition to more two-way roads, there could be 'buffered' bike lanes.

sberg@idahostatesman.comMarch 27, 2014 


    You have until 5 p.m. Thursday to tell Ada County Highway District what you think about its Downtown Boise street plan. Drop off handwritten comments at the district's headquarters, 3775 Adams St. in Garden City.

The response to a revamped Downtown Boise street plan has been predictable.

People who ride bicycles in and through Downtown love the idea of bike lanes that have visual and physical barriers to separate cyclists from lanes of traffic.

People who drive through Downtown think Boise doesn't have enough cyclists to warrant new lanes. They certainly don't want vehicle lanes removed to make room for bikes, as the new plan proposes.

That's how the divide is shaping up in comments the public is submitting to the Ada County Highway District, which maintains Boise streets. The agency held a March 13 workshop on its new Downtown street plan attended by more than 200 people, spokeswoman Nicole Pineda said. Today is the final day for the public to comment on the plan.

The highway district's original proposal — which it developed in partnership with the city of Boise — called for stretches of 3rd, 4th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and Jefferson streets to be converted from one-way to two-way by 2019. The new plan would add 5th and 6th streets between Myrtle and Fort streets to the two-way list.

It also would replace one vehicle lane on both Main and Idaho streets between 5th and 16th streets with a "buffered" bike lane. These lanes are separated from car lanes by painted barriers, vertical markers known as "candles," a row of parked cars or other obstacles.

A short stretch of Capitol Boulevard — between the Boise River and Fulton Street — would narrow from four lanes to three in order to accommodate the bike lane.

The buffered bike lane on Capitol could run as far north as Jefferson Street, but it might stretch only to Main or Idaho, Pineda said. The idea is to build a bicycle network that connects the south side of Downtown to the city's core.

The highway district's new proposal offers a better parking picture than the original plan did. Under the new plan, the district would not put new bike lanes on Jefferson Street, as was originally proposed. That would save about 100 parking spaces.

The district also would remove fewer parking spaces on Idaho Street and add about 35 spaces to Capitol Boulevard.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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