Bike lanes group gets marching orders

sberg@idahostatesman.comJune 25, 2014 

Cyclists use one of Boise's test bike lanes in early June. The lanes proved controversial and were later removed after a pilot project.

KATHERINE JONES — kjones@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

— About half the people Ada County Highway District invited showed up at Wednesday's meeting on Downtown Boise bike lanes. 

Those people left the meeting with requests from the district to report back on a variety of questions, including how bike lanes would affect parking, traffic congestion and commercial loading zones, as well as how much the lanes would cost to install and maintain. 

The group is expected to meet again July 15 and begin drafting three alternatives for improving bike travel in and through Downtown Boise.

David Wallace, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, will emcee the meetings, which include a public involvement session in August. The group hopes to present the alternatives to the highway district board of commissioners in late August.

The highway district began organizing the study group in early June, after commissioners voted to allow buffered bike lanes on Downtown stretches of Capitol Boulevard, Main Street and Idaho Street to expire. The district had installed the lanes, which were separated from car traffic by painted barriers, plastic markers and parked cars, about a month earlier on a trial basis.

The board's decision to take out the lanes bitterly disappointed Boise's city government. In late May, Mayor David Bieter had asked the district to spend more time informing people about what to expect and how to use the lanes, then install them on a permanent basis.

City Council President Maryanne Jordan wrote a letter to commissioners a few hours after their June vote, criticizing their decision and the process that led to it. This week, Jordan sent a second letter to the board, saying she's worried about the makeup of the study group and its apparent lack of specific goals.

The district had not responded to that letter as of Wednesday afternoon.

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