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Cyclists and walkers: Have you tried the new way into this Boise park?

The new path for bikers and walkers opened recently in Julia Davis Park. It improves connectivity between the park and Downtown Boise.
The new path for bikers and walkers opened recently in Julia Davis Park. It improves connectivity between the park and Downtown Boise. City of Boise

Walkers and bicyclists now have a new way to enter one of Boise’s riverfront parks: a paved path that is part of a larger campaign to make Downtown more pedestrian friendly.

The city has opened a concrete pathway near Fifth and Myrtle Streets that makes a gentle curve into Julia Davis Park near the east side of the Idaho Black History Museum.

City officials see the pathway as a way to promote connectivity throughout the city for bicyclists, walkers and drivers, said Mike Journee, Boise city spokesman. The city, he said, has been looking for ways to improve “north-south connectivity” for bicyclists, from the Bench to Downtown and from Downtown to the Greenbelt.

The path also will benefit the Central Addition neighborhood north of the park where The Fowler, a mid-rise apartment building, and other projects are under construction.

Access to the north end of the pathway was improved, too: The Capital City Development Corporation, the city’s urban-renewal agency, developed a 52-foot radius turnaround for cars and installed sidewalks and streetlights near the Idaho Housing and Finance Association office at 565 Myrtle Street.

Meanwhile, the city is working with the Idaho Transportation Department to find better ways to connect Downtown with areas of town south of Front and Myrtle Streets, Journee said. Those streets are part of U.S. 20 and 26, which the state maintains.

Front and Myrtle each carry five lanes of traffic through synchronized stoplights with a 35 mph speed limit. That makes each street daunting to pedestrians.

“We’ve been trying to soften that, while still protecting the corridors for traffic and cars,” said Journee.

One softening effort could be a new crossing at Fifth and Myrtle streets. CCDC is in the early stages of making its case to ITD and the Ada County Highway District for one street level crosswalk, said Matt Edmond, project manager of capital improvements at CCDC.

Fifth Street is under the jurisdiction of of ACHD. The two agencies will ultimately decide whether and what kind of crossing might be installed in the future, said Edmond.

The Julia Davis path was completed and opened to the public at the end of May.

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