In a recent article about impending work at the Grove Plaza related to Gardner Company's planned multi-modal center (BW, Citydesk, "Location... Location...," April 16, 2014), Boise Weekly News Editor George Prentice closed with the line: "Take a quick picture Boise. Things are changing... fast."
He wasn't kidding.
Before this week's paper could even go to press, one of the changes reported on Page 7 had already transpired. Driving to work on Capitol Boulevard April 29, I couldn't help but notice the far right lane of the street had been cordoned off for a bike lane running as far down as the intersection of Capitol and Myrtle Street. As near as I can tell, this work happened within a 24-hour period.
It's only the beginning of a pilot project to expand bike lanes throughout the city, including replacing a lane of traffic on Main and Idaho streets with bike lanes sometime between now and the end of June, at the latest. Beyond that, the city and ACHD are inching ever nearer to a conversion of downtown streets from one- to two-way.
Added bike lanes would be significant enough--especially in light of continued cyclist-motorist collisions, of which there were three in April alone (boiseweekly.com, Citydesk, "Third Bike vs. Car Accident in Two Weeks," April 28, 2014)--but this most recent wave of street improvements comes as the result of collaboration between the city of Boise and the Ada County Highway District.
BW readers--and anyone who watches Boise politics--will know that the city, and Mayor Dave Bieter in particular, has not always gotten along with ACHD, which controls Boise's city streets. That's putting it mildly, but just goes to show how unique this round of projects really is.
Collaboration seems to be in the air, with another wide-ranging slate of city initiatives in the offing, this time centered on sustainability. Read on Page 8 about the city's bold new 11-point sustainability campaign, which was pushed in large part by a consortium of local conservation groups, including Conservation Voters for Idaho and the Idaho Conservation League.
Finally, if reading about all this civic go-getterism has you inspired, find our feature package on Idaho Gives (Page 10) and a sampling of local volunteer opportunities starting on Page 11.