Boise & Garden City

ACHD to meet Friday to reconsider scrapping Downtown Boise bike lanes

Hope Hampton said Tuesday night that she was "super sad" at news the bike lanes might disappear. She said the buffered lanes helped lessen her daily commute by five minutes.
Hope Hampton said Tuesday night that she was "super sad" at news the bike lanes might disappear. She said the buffered lanes helped lessen her daily commute by five minutes. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Prompted by a request from Boise City Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan, the Ada County Highway District will meet at 3 p.m. Friday to reconsider Wednesday's decision to end an experimental bike lane project after five weeks as originally planned.

Unlike Wednesday's meeting, all five commissioners will participate. Commissioner Sara Baker — a former Boise city councilwoman and chairwoman of the Capital City Development Corporation — will join by telephone.

The decision to remove the lanes on Capitol Boulevard and Main and Idaho streets came on a 2-2 vote. Commissioners Jim Hansen and Jon Franden voted for Hansen's motion to keep the lanes until August; Commissioners Rebecca Arnold and Mitchell Jaurena voted no, effectively killing the project.

ACHD is ready to begin a week's worth of evening work to remove the lanes, beginning Sunday. Spokesman Craig Quintana said a device to ease removal is leaving the Boise area soon, prompting the special meeting so soon after Wednesday's vote.

The machine would remove the redrawn lane lines "without leaving big divots in the asphalt," Quintana said. "That equipment will soon be out of the area, which means we'd have to grind the lanes, which would make the three roads messy."

The meeting will be at ACHD's offices, 3775 Adams St. in Garden City.

A news release follows:

ACHD Commission to hold special Friday meeting to hear request from Boise City to reconsider bike lane project cancellation

The appeal came from Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan following Wednesday’s Commission meeting, where the vote ended the five-week demonstration project of buffered bike lanes on Capitol Boulevard and Main and Idaho streets.

A special meeting was scheduled to give President Jordan an opportunity to present her reasons for reconsideration. The meeting will occur in the ACHD Auditorium, 3775 Adams St., Garden City at 3 p.m. on June 6, 2014.

The end result of Wednesday’s Commission meeting was a 2-to-2 deadlock, which meant that the project would not be extended and end as originally scheduled. The lanes were created with a combination of new painted lane lines and vertical markers, commonly known as “candles,” to delineate the bike lanes. One motorized vehicle lane was removed from each road.

ACHD crews are ready to begin removal of the lanes on Sunday evening and work for five or six evenings, minimizing traffic conflicts.

A time constraint exists because a contractor’s paint removal equipment is due to leave the Boise area in mid-June. The water-blasting equipment is preferred to grinding off the temporary lane lines because it will leave less of an imprint on the pavement, easing potential confusion for road users.

The bike lane pilot drew an unprecedented amount of public feedback, including more than 11,200 people taking an online survey about the project and 1,200 e-mails being sent to ACHD. The survey finished with 55 percent of the respondents wanting the lanes to be removed and 45 percent asking for them to become permanent. The e-mails ran more than two-to-one against the bike lanes.

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