Health & Fitness

From bike share to bike lanes: Here’s a look at some new projects and developments for Boise-area bikers

Bike share

Tax Day was a good day for the Treasure Valley’s public transportation authority and bike enthusiasts who frequent Downtown Boise.

After years of working through details, Valley Regional Transit launched a bike share program in Downtown Boise and the Boise State University campus on April 15.

Boise GreenBike, as the program is known, has a total of 15 bike stations for 114 public, for-rent bikes. Annual memberships cost $70 and allow for an hour of riding per day. Without memberships, customers pay $4 per hour. Students get membership discounts.

Valley Regional Transit had hoped to launch the bike-share program a year earlier, but complications with federal funding and contract details delayed it. A grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation covered the lion’s share of the bike-share program’s startup costs. The transit authority hopes to cover its ongoing costs through memberships and corporate sponsorships.

St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth, an insurance provider, are the first two sponsors.

Check this website for more information: boisebikeshare.org.

Bike lanes

After a long, hot back-and-forth battle last summer, Ada County Highway District installed bike lanes on Capitol Boulevard from River Street to Jefferson Street.

This year, additional bike lanes in Downtown Boise are possible. The district tasked a 22-member committee with developing ideas for extending Capitol Boulevard’s northbound lanes south of the river, putting new lanes on Main and Idaho streets and establishing a track to move southbound cyclists through Downtown.

It’ll be a while before the dozens of ideas are distilled into firm proposals and, potentially, projects. While committee members generally support the idea of more bike lanes Downtown, there’s not a strong consensus on exactly what they should look like.

Members were lukewarm on the idea of a two-way bike path on Capitol, according to the committee’s summary of its findings. “The group showed strong support for a one-way northbound bike lane if a southbound bike facility could be developed on a parallel route.” The preferred potential routes for southbound lanes are 8th and 9th streets.

A slight majority of committee members favored protected or buffered bike lanes on Idaho and Main.

To learn more, click here: www.idahostatesman.com/2015/04/28/3774607/boise-bike-lanes-achd-eases-back.html.

Greenbelt construction

If you’re a regular Greenbelt user, try to focus on delayed gratification this year.

Yes, a big, popular section of the Greenbelt — the north side of the river between Veterans Memorial Park and the 36th Street footbridge — is closed and will stay that way until next spring. But the reason it’s closed is cause for celebration: the construction of Esther Simplot Park, the latest big new park in Boise.

Getting around the closure is pretty easy. Instead of going to the access point at Pleasanton Avenue — also closed — hop on the Greenbelt at Main Street on the north side of the river. From there, you can head west and then cross the river on the footbridge.

If you’re coming from Veterans Memorial Parkway, access the Greenbelt on the south side of the river, then cross the footbridge when you come to it.

Boise Parks and Recreation is considering a renovation of a section of Greenbelt near Surprise Valley in Southeast Boise, but there’s no schedule for that project.

Elsewhere, be on the lookout for miscellaneous patching and other maintenance work on the Greenbelt.

Check this website for more information: parks.cityofboise.org/parks-locations/parks/greenbelt.

Foothills Trails

It is going to be a busy season for Ridge to Rivers trail crews.

This spring, workers are focusing on routine maintenance in the Lower Foothills and will then move up to the forested areas near Stack Rock. Work includes repairs to “cupped” pathways, drainage dip maintenance, installing fill material in low-lying swampy areas and other projects.

Several large projects are planned in the Daniels Creek drainage and Hillside to Hollow. Thanks to a recreational easement finalized in July 2014, about 14 miles of trails are planned in the Daniel’s Creek drainage west of Bogus Basin Road. The easement provides for three trails on private property in the drainage.

Daniel’s Creek projects include tread repair, reconstruction and erosion control on the Sweet Connie trail, which drops down from a saddle on the ridge near Stack Rack south to Bogus Basin Road; construction of Chukar Butte Trail, which extends from the Sweet Connie trail west to Hidden Springs; and construction of Peggy’s Trail, which will connect Sweet Connie to Polecat Gulch.

Existing trails will be signed and maintained, and new trail opportunities will be built in the Hillside to Hollow Reserve, a 306-acre site north of Hill Road between 36th Street and Bogus Basin Road. Also, unsustainable routes in the reserve will be closed and re-planted.

Check this website for more information: www.ridgetorivers.org.

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