Boise & Garden City

North End bikeway will give cyclists low-volume, low-speed route to downtown Boise

A mile-long “low-stress bikeway” from the southern end of Camel’s Back Park in the North End to State Street has been adopted by the Ada County Highway District Commission.

The original plan called for nearly doubling the bikeway’s length along 11th Street by extending it south to River Street to connect to the Boise River Greenbelt. But the southern section was removed after staff members determined that section of 11th already met ACHD guidelines.

Nearly a third of respondents in a second round of public feedback asked for that section to be reinserted into the plan and enhanced. While a portion of 11th Street south of State Street has bike lanes, there are none between Myrtle and River streets. Proponents of extending the bikeway want safety for cyclists enhanced.

Those sentiments were echoed by several people who testified before the commission Tuesday.

The commissioners declined, but in unanimously adopting the northern portion, the commission asked its staff to work with the city and the Idaho Transportation Department to create another low-stress bikeway between State Street and the Greenbelt.

“We ought to be able to do this,” Commissioner Jim Hansen said.

map of new bikeway
A map demonstrating changes to 11th Street as part of a new bikeway, which runs to Heron Street in the north. The changes would run through Boise High School. Ada County Highway District

Low-stress bikeways are designed to protect bicyclists sand encourage bike travel on streets with low volumes and speeds of 25 mph or less. They’re meant for riders of all abilities, but especially for those concerned about riding on streets with heavy traffic.

The bikeway will cut through the west side of the Boise High School campus, between the main building and the school track. Four-way stop signs will be erected along West Franklin Road and West Washington Street, near the front of the school and the Treasure Valley Family YMCA.

Traffic through the school grounds would be limited to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Wayfinding signs added along 11th Street from Heron Street at Camel’s Back Park to Fort Street would direct bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians to places such as Camel’s Back, Hyde Park, Longfellow Elementary, North Junior High and Boise High, the Greenbelt and downtown Boise.

multiuse pathway.png
An ACHD graphic demonstrating different types of bike lanes, including conventional lanes, low-stress lanes and multi-use pathways. Ada County Highway District

Pavement markings would denote shared space for bicycles and vehicles.

The need for a bikeway was identified in the 2016 North Boise Neighborhood Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and reaffirmed in a 2018 addendum to the Bike Master Plan.

The project is estimated to cost $562,000.

The commission also approved two neighborhood pedestrian and bicycle plans, for Veterans Memorial Park and Whitewater Park and for Eagle.

The Veterans Park and Whitewater plan identified three bicycle projects as a high priority:

Improve a low-stress bike route from Sycamaore Street to 36th Street.

Improve a low-stress bikeway on Bannock Street between 16th and 29th streets

Add improvements to the frontage road north of State Street between 23rd and 27th streets.

The Eagle plan lists 29 bicycle projects, with 10 listed as high priority. They involve projects along Highway 44, Eagle Road, Floating Feather Road, Ballantyne Lane, Hill Road and Horseshoe Bend Road.

In other business, a hearing for a proposed 30-unit multifamily project in the 6200 block of West State Street was postponed, because a meeting notice gave the wrong address. It will be heard at the commission’s Nov. 6 meeting.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.